Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Closing Day 11: Exhausted and Stressed about Appearances

Pain Level: 1 - No hook problems today, just numb.
Swelling: Not much changes I think...though I'm getting really worried that this "double chin" is still here.
Other weirdness: Left side of my chin and bottom lip still feels weird. I had a little gastric and acid reflux episode last night.
Mood: A little freaked out cause I think a little morsel of food is stuck in one my stitches where I can't brush. And a lot of anxiety over appearances.

It was a really full day yesterday and I was totally exhausted by the end of the day.

The day started with a visit to see Surgeonman early in the morning about the fear in my changed bite. He took a look and said it looked fine, but he put in some extra bands at the back of my mouth just to stabilize everything. He looked a bit unbelieving at my report that something had changed and thought I was being overly anxious, but I was certain something had changed in my bite after the stupid cry the night before - the most telling being that suddenly I could feel that one of my pre-molars on my left was resting on my inner left gum. Surgeonman says the teeth does sometimes move, and all that will be corrected by work with Orthoman - apparently as early as later next week (~Day 20) if I was courageous enough. We didn't take any x-rays because he thought there wasn't a need.

I woke up today and everything seems kinda back to normal. No more premolar resting on my gum. I guess the bands worked.

I don't know what it was though, but something in me hurt a little when I went to see Surgeonman. Maybe it's an insecurity, but it felt as if something was deadly wrong with how the surgery had affected the way I looked. Specifically, that it had an adverse impact on my appearance. As I met some of the nurses from the clinic, it felt like when I said "hi", and they knew who I was, they had some sympathetic expression on their faces. Maybe they were sympathetic to the healing process, but it felt a lot more like "I'm so sorry you did it and you look like crap now". :( I left the clinic a little sad in my heart.

As I reflected on why I felt so unsure, it came down to two things

  1. The fact that I actually don't know 100% of what was done to me for the surgery - and have been just picking up little bits and pieces here and there. For example, it was only at my second appointment post-surgery last week that I discovered that they had moved my upper jaw upwards by almost half a centimeter. POST-surgery
  2. My terrible appointment at Alexandra Hospital with Mucky and BitchyOrtho. She took my measurements! I remember being so worried that I set up an appointment with Surgeonman and asked him if they were very different from the ones his partner took from before my surgery was postponed. And hoped to retake them just to be sure... but he just reassured me and he didn't take new ones. Now that I think back on it, his answers were mainly
    • "That it's okay, sometimes the face changes over time", which he said pretty confidently. And because I trust he is the best Surgeon in Singapore, I just went with it. 
    • BUT he also mentioned something about having some of my "rights" traded off because it was a government subsidized hospital - so the service would be a bit different. :( But maybe he was just referring to the professionalism in terms of interacting with the patients.
I guess in all fairness, I have to qualify that he did say that the end result of the surgery shouldn't differ because he was on the team and he wouldn't let anything bad happen to me because his reputation was on the line too. After all, I do think he's one of the best oral maxillofacial surgeons in Singapore. But did I foolishly place too much confidence in my Surgeon?

I remember that I was so anxious about those silly facial measurements, that even at the anesthetic clinic just before the operation, when I met with Surgeonman, I was still asking him "So you're sure that the readings are all correct right?" and now that I think back on it... I really don't remember him responding in a very confident or reassuring way. But then again, this might all just be me being really anxious and having selective recall.

In fact, I ended the day last night typing a VERY long email draft to Surgeonman about how unsure I was, and about wanting to know how they ensured that the measurements were alright, and how ugly I felt like something was messed up, and how I can't see my prominent cheekbones anymore, and how I look like I have an overbite/double chin now, and how I feel like an imp now that my face is so much shorter... But yeah, I didn't send it. I didn't send it because I still want to give it all the benefit of the doubt - that this is just all my mind messing with me and that I'm barely at the one month mark and swelling is still there. But feeling ugly is VERY real at this stage.

Not to mention that I'm really sensitive to what people say... especially things like...
"You look like a little girl now"
"I think you'll be prettier when the swelling goes down"
"You did this operation for functional and not aesthetic reasons anyway"
"When the swelling goes down, you will look like your normal self again"

Well, it's already Day 12, and I think a lot of the swelling has gone since Day 3, and when I look in the mirror, I still feel really ugly. I came home yesterday and looked at some family photos today and started getting worried about my face again. I miss my old face. I really don't care right now if I had a risk of arthritis or whatever. If I could have gone back, I wouldn't have done the surgery now. I would have waited the 10, maybe 20 years for when the pain would come, then fix it. Well, that's my honest feelings now. :( But apparently this super anxiety is really normal. I posted my fears on a Jaw Surgery FB group that I joined (that I am SO thankful for), and everyone said to be patient and wait and that this anxiety was normal.

Tasted like fever medicine
and made me really nauseous.
DO NOT buy this.
Anyway, being me, I needed to find a solution to how I felt, so what I did first, was to sleep on it so I'd be a little less emotional and more rational. And this morning I instead sent an email to them asking if I could return an unopened bottle of mouthwash to them (I bought two bottles) because the taste makes me nauseous, as well as for them to give me a full understanding of exactly what was performed on me for the operation as well as my x-rays. I think I need to brace myself for a pretty big shock, because all this is going to be new information for me. But I think it'd calm me down and stop this irritating anxiety.

Anyway, back to yesterday, the bulk of the day was filled with important work meetings and I came home to more work. The one other thing that shocked me though, was how little I had eaten the whole day with all the rushing around. So I tried to add little bits of real food and a half cup of prune juice as so:

My sister's breakfast at Starbucks
VS mine. That burger and coffee
looked SO good.
Food Report

1 bottle of Yakult

Half a bowl of clear lotus and pork rib soup

Half a cup of fresh lychee juice 
Half a bowl of clear corn and carrot soup
A tiny morsel of tofu 
One little vegetable puff (it is literally the size of a cheerio)
Half a cup of prune juice (because I looked back at the day and was so appalled how little I ate)

And when I say "bowl", I mean a small bowl... I don't know how else to describe it except as those small side-bowls at Chinese restaurants they usually have in their table setting. It's pathetic, I know.

I couldn't help but try to eat the tiny morsel of tofu because it was a family dinner and the food looked so good, but having it go down my swollen throat and numb mouth just made it taste and feel like I was swallowing a pill. :( No more tiny morsels for me for now.

Vegetable Puffs are now my nemesis!
Please go away morsel!
I don't want an infection!
Having the vegetable puff was a second attempt of getting some solids in me because I thought it would taste better as it disintegrates on contact with saliva. Thing is, it did disintegrate, BUT it seemed like one little chunk of it migrated to the right side of my cheek and into the space behind my right molar. I was SO freaked out, I tried to use my tongue to do something about it but all I felt was "sweetness" which confirmed it was there, and "threads" which meant it was in my stitches!!!! NooooOoooooo....

After that episode was pretty much something like three or four rounds of mouthwashes and a lot of prayer that it had gone away. Vegetable puffs are now banned from entering my mouth.

Later in the night, my stomach felt a little funny. I wasn't sure if it was gastric due to my lack of nutrition over the past two weeks, or just a reaction to my vegetable puff panic. But I later had a acidic taste in my mouth...which I think might have been an "acid reflux" which I've heard of. I freaked out a little bit, and despite having already brushed and rinsed my teeth with mouthwash, I forced myself to consume a half cup of prune juice just to try to settle it if it were gastric developing.

So yeah, it was a pretty stressful day.

High point of the day
Finding out that the shift in my jaw wasn't serious and that I didn't need corrective jaw surgery. Also just sitting down in Starbucks with my sister and just enjoying time with her.
Low point of the day
Onset of anxiousness of physical appearances and the stupid vegetable puff saga.

But hey, it's a new day.
Time to focus on other things... like eating more. And work.

"Plan for the day"
  1. Clear emails, get back on track with work
  2. Clear laptop desktop. It's SO cluttered now.
  3. Drink milk and prune juice somewhere in the day (this is becoming a standard)
  4. Relook at graduate school essay submissions
  5. <maybe> Clear personal finance stuff
  6. <maybe> Finally finish the Day 1-2 post that is 70% done
  7. Do some stretching at the end of the day

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