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Diary by an Orthognathic Surgical Patient.

Dec 19

I was a little nervous before the surgery, but felt well taken care of at Lake Norman Regional Hospital. The surgery took three hours and there were no surprises or complications. Once I was wheeled into my hospital room after the operation, I was lucid and able to answer questions. I drifted in and out of sleep through the next morning and I did not feel pain. I had two ice packs strapped to my face that were uncomfortable, but helped with keeping my face from swelling up too much.

Dec 20

I slept all day due to pain medication, took a walk around the hospital floor, and was released from the hospital at 5:00 pm. I had splits in my lips from the equipment that held my mouth open during the surgery. I was very happy to be home and drank a lot of water. I took my pain medication and went to bed.

Dec 21

I pretty much slept all day and had to periodically change out the gauze in my mouth, which was really gross. I was able to drink Ensure and eat applesauce and pudding with special syringes I was given at the hospital. It was hard to swallow anything for the first few days after the operation.

Dec 22

This was one of the worst days. I was exceptionally hungry and grumpy. I felt really bad in general and all I wanted to do was sleep and be left alone. There was pain and I had to make sure I stayed on the medication schedule. The splits in my lips from the operation started to hurt and they became very dry and cracked.  I had to use a lot of Vaseline on my mouth.

Dec 23

Today was the second of my two worst days. I was able to sleep through the entire night without waking up, but when I did wake, I was in a lot of pain and I was really hungry. I was extremely unsatisfied with the limited diet I could eat. By this point I was a little more used to eating and drinking despite the numbness in my lips.  I was still eating through the syringes given to me at the hospital. The oral care was painful and difficult. Changing the rubber bands on the hooks in my mouth was very frustrating. I had to be careful to avoid the sensitive spots in my mouth and it took between forty minutes to an hour to change them.

Dec 24

I was STARVING! I ate a lot of pudding and drank a gallon of Ensure. By now I was tired of taking my medications because of the side effects. I started taking more time between doses. Today was also a big turnaround day for pain. I was told that I did not have the typical swelling of the average patient, so I no longer used ice packs.

Dec 25: Christmas Day!

I was able to eat soft foods with a spoon for the first time: eggs, soup, and small pieces of French toast. For dinner, my mother put turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy in the blender. I had two helpings. Yum, yum, good! I was full for the first time and felt much better. After eating real food I was no longer grumpy. In the evening, I switched from my prescription medication to acetaminophen and ibuprofen to manage pain.

Dec 28 & 29

I was able to chew soft foods and had visits from friends; I was no longer using prescription medications. The pain had diminished greatly and the oral care had become a lot easier. I was able to change out the rubber bands and in my mouth with ease.

Dec 30: Surgeon Follow up Visit

Everything was healing correctly and I could visibly see the difference in how my face looked because the swelling had gone way down.

Dec 31

I hated dealing with the rubber bands that held my teeth together. However, I was able to go to Raleigh for New Year’s Eve (I did not drive).

In summary, the surgery was a success and I am glad I went through with it.  Days three and four are the worst days after surgery. I still have a slight numbness in a small area on the right side of my face.  My braces are scheduled to be removed in October of 2014 by Dr. Allen. Dr. Allen and his entire staff were supportive and helpful throughout this process. They showed me how to care for my mouth properly after the surgery and always answered my questions in terms I could understand. 

Good luck!

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