November 13, 2010

That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 6

This is the final post in a six post series. Here are the first posts:

That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 1
That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 2
That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 3
That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 4
That Day I Fainted and Broke My Jaw: Part 5

Arch Bar Removal

Yesterday was a big day for me.... I got my arch bars off!!! I'm going to post photos below, but PROMISE me that you'll read the story too--because I look super goofy in the pictures, and for good reason :)

My doctor told me to take Vicodin and Xanax before coming in, because the removal would be very painful. That alone made me a nervous wreck for weeks! But when I got to the hospital, I popped two 5-500 Vicodins and 1 mg of Xanax.

Then I went into the office, and the doctor (whom I absolutely LOVE--he's sooo cool!) talked to me for a few minutes about how I've been doing as far as eating and all that. Then he numbed me--he sprayed this horrible tasting stuff up my nose and around my mouth.

Then he gave me a bunch of injections in my gums (that hurt like a bitch!) and my mouth was SO NUMB. My lips felt like they were the size of a grapefruit. I couldn't even talk very well, and I was drooling pretty badly because I couldn't close my mouth.

I was still a nervous wreck. He left the room to get some supplies, and that's when the Vicodin kicked in. Jerry made fun of the way my mouth looked, and I started laughing like crazy. I tried to stop laughing, but I couldn't. Then the doc came in, saw the tears streaming down my face and asked if I was okay, if I needed more Xanax, etc. He thought I was crying from anxiety, rather than from laughing so hard.

I had the giggles really bad, and I explained that I was fine, the meds kicked in. This doctor has seen me at my very worst moments (he was the one who did my surgery and checked on me daily in the hospital when I hadn't showered or brushed my teeth in 6 days, and when I was totally drugged up on Dilaudid), so I'm sure he wasn't phased by my weird attitude.

Jerry took a few pics when my mouth was numb, but I was pissed that he didn't take pictures or video of the actual arch bar removal! From what he said, it was HORRIBLE. Let me explain the arch bars first... here is a picture of what they look like:

This pic is NOT of me (thank goodness!)--but unfortunately, I didn't get a good pic of my arch bars before removal. This is what they look like.

The way they are held in place is with wires that thread between your teeth like this:

The wires actually thread between your teeth like dental floss--OUCH. It looks nice and neat in the diagram, but MY teeth aren't that far apart with gaps! So imagine wires that size shoved between teeth WITHOUT gaps, and you can imagine how painful it's been for 7 weeks.

By the way, where you see rubberbands in the first picture--that is where they wire your mouth shut. Instead of rubberbands, they use wires to hold the top and bottom together, preventing you from opening your mouth. I had the wires on for 2 weeks, and it was awful. I HATED not being able to brush the backside of my teeth, and you don't even want to KNOW what it did to my tongue!

So anyway, the removal of these arch bars involves untwisting the wires, and then pulling the (now crimped) wires between your teeth like dental floss. WIRE dental floss! WIRE dental floss with CRIMPS and BENDS in it! I'm just trying to convey the kind of pain this causes! lol

So as I was saying, I had the giggles just before he got started. Jerry took a couple of pics then:

My mouth was SO numb and I couldn't smile straight...

And like I said, Jerry didn't take any pics of the actual removal, which I was mad about. But he did say that he almost passed out watching it, because it was terrible. I could feel EVERYTHING that was happening--all the tugging and scraping of metal against my teeth, and I could feel the metal being pulled out.

The numbing worked okay for pain, but there were about 4 or 5 wires that hurt REALLY badly because they were "stuck". The doc basically had to do a 1-2-3... rip it out! kind of thing, like ripping off a band-aid. Only much worse, of course!

Oh, and I was surprised when the doctor said, "You have the cleanest teeth I've ever seen on someone with arch bars!"  For the past 7 weeks, I've HATED cleaning my teeth because 1) it's super painful to brush, and 2) I've had to brush all the time because EVERYTHING gets stuck in the wires and bars. Apparently I did a good job in the doc's eyes :)  I still need some serious dental work though, because I chipped 5 teeth when I fell, and now my teeth are getting stained in the spots that are chipped. Ugh.

When it was finally over, I was sooo relieved. I rinsed all the blood out of my mouth, but it was really hard to do that because my mouth was still so numb I couldn't hold it closed. Jerry assured me that I looked "normal" when I didn't try to smile or close my mouth, so I walked (wobbled) out of the hospital with a paper towel to wipe away drool, lol.

A couple of "after" shots, while I was still numb. Jerry thought I looked really funny, so he kept taking pictures...

This is me trying to look "normal" enough to walk out of the hospital...  pft!

In the car after the procedure. I was very sore, but SO GLAD to have those damn things off!

The X-rays

I got to see the plates on my jaw when I went to my first post-op dentist appointment. Pretty cool, huh?! You can see the plates and screws holding my jaw together:

1 comment:

  1. OMG Katie. I wondered how you broke your jaw! I can't imagine what you went through!


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