Thursday, August 30, 2012

0 Day 6. State of Ray: One Week Recovery Analysis

Tomorrow is my 7-day appointment. I am going to give a full break down of how far I have come in the past week, and will try to organize this into useful, searchable segments:

Facial Swelling

My swelling was at its worst Monday, Day 3. Since then, swelling has substantially subsided, though, still is overwhelming. The photo below was taken this afternoon and shows my most recent swelling situation. I was trying to smile, but lips are still swollen, and not very responsive.

There is significant improvement from the previous photo I posted  on Monday.   However, as mentioned a couple of entries ago, I had noticed that my right side was "deflating" faster thanmy left, as can be visibly observed. My left cheek still appears to be fuller, and rounder than my right. The same can be observed for the upper lip -- the left upper lip is fatter than the right, though this was actually more prominent yesterday than it is shown here. I am not sure what is the cause of this inconsistent rate of healing, but as long as both sides ARE healing, I don't see any potential problems, though I will bring this up with the surgeon tomorrow morning.

 The facial swelling still fluctuates, but the area of effect is shrinking. My worst swelling of the day happens in the evenings, and today, it's only affecting the lower lip and area directly below it, compared to much larger areas and cheeks just some days ago.

  Facial Numbness

Using the photo below, I've color coded the areas based on sensation:

Red: Numb
Blue: Partially numb/dulled sensation
Green/uncolored: Full Sensation

As expected, everything from my lower lip and below is numb. The surgery causes trauma that lines the mandibles (lower jaw bones on the left and right), and so they kind of "shut down" temporarily. My surgeon was pleased to share that none of the nerves were severed in my case; in some cases, the nerves cannot be avoided and are reconnected in hopes of self recovery. This increases my chance of regaining full feeling over the next 6 months, which according to my surgeon is over 90% of his cases.

The other red and blue spots lack sensation probably due to the swelling. I expect feeling to regain over the next few weeks as the swelling dissipates further.

It is interesting to note that my lip sensation is NOT symmetrical. As can be related to the previous diagram, the more swollen left side of the lip is also more numb. This is also reflected on the inside of the mouth, where I have feeling throughout except the inner upper left lip.

The hope here is as the weeks continue, the area of red diminishes and the areas of green grows.

Jaw Position

This is the ONE most exciting part of my recovery so far. as of today, enough swelling has dissipated around my mandibles (lower jaw bones) where my teeth now fit together, and my jaw joints now rest squarely in the sockets. This was something I could NOT do prior to the surgery with my rotated jaw. As a recap, I had a longer left mandible, and a shorter right. The comfort of this new resting position makes this entire surgery worth it despite the other ongoing factors, pain, and challenges.

It is no wonder that Dr. Hoghooghi had been so excited about the success of procedure on Day 1. He was more than enthusiastic to share that everything during the operation went very, Very smoothly.


Am still on a full liquid diet. Tomorrow is the verdict on whether I will graduate into the blended diet phase. The prune juice addition to my diet seems to have paid off. I am now experiencing easy bowell movements, and what is hoped to be regular as I will be observing in the next few days instead of once every 5 days.. In retrospect, I should have started having a glass a day since Day 1.


Pain medication is still a must. I am taking it every 5 - 6 hours. Usually by the end of the 6 hours, my facial and jaw muscles start throbbing with overwhelming soreness and pain. Therefore, it is particularly bad in the mornings when I wake up after 7 - 8 hours. However, so long as I keep up the regular doses, I am functional throughout the day, and am feeling the effects of drowsiness less and less.

 I still have about 6 days left of regular antibiotics intake.

Am still required to do a chlorhexidine gluconate mouth rinse at least 4x a day and after every meal. As with the diet, I have not progressed into teeth brushing phase yet.

Other Notables

My airway have finally cleared -- the regular saline inhalants and sprays are no longer dripping dark brown but running more clear, signifying that most of the dried blood from the overflow of days 1 - 3 have been washed away. Two hot showers a day have also helped in this process.

While Syringing some tea this afternoon, I think I may have snapped one of the bands that's holding my teeth closed together on the left side. While I think it's a redundant band, I will also bring this up with the surgeon tomorrow. It currently feels to be hanging on to one of the braces.


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