Heidi's Journal

of Orthognathic Surgery


Pre & Post Op guide for Orthognathic Surgery

Day before surgery

Tuesday Night July, 10 2001:

Okay, tomorrow is the big day. I'm anxious to get it over with but also scared silly. I know I won't be eating anything good for awhile but I'm also a little worried about getting sick so I donít want to eat/drink too much. I'll have to get up early since my check in time at the hospital is at 6:30 am. UGH!



Day 1

Wednesday July, 11 2001:

Well, it's early and I'm packing. I'm trying to figure out what I want to wear into the hospital that I'd want to wear out. I can't be too comfy looking (pajamas) because I have to go into the doctor's office on my way home. I finally decide on my favorite FILA dance pants, a cozy sweatshirt and some nice sandals. 

We arrive at the hospital and don't have to wait long until I'm taken into a waiting room. Luckily, JD came in and hung out with me. Though I was nauseous, I couldn't get anything to come up since I hadn't eaten or had anything to drink for so long. Pretty soon the doctors/nurses were sticking cocaine up my nose. I looked like a porcupine as I had about 6 long cotton-swabbed toothpicks coming out of each nostril. By then all the drugs had kicked in and I started saying some pretty crazy things. One medicine from the IV stung my headÖit was really bazaar. 

Surgery lasted about 3 1/2 hours. When I woke up my head was large and I was very groggy. Everybody said they thought I'd look worse. I agreed then but when I look back on day 1and 2 pictures I can't believe it could get any worse. The nurses were very annoying as they woke me up every couple of hours for my vitals. Once I was alert enough to ask for what I wanted/needed I found myself having to be a bit forceful (hey, I'm paying for all this stuff and should be able to get the kind of ice pack that works best!) However, the doctor's were great! There must be a nurse shortage is all I can think of.



Day 2

Thursday July, 12 2001:

I woke up (if you can call it that) and the nurse told me I couldn't go home until I ate and peed. This was different than what my doctor had told me so I was a bit confused. In front of me sat some orange juice so I asked if I drank that if that would count for eating something. She said I didn't want to drink orange juice because it was too acidicÖWHATEVER!!! I suggested apple juice so I had a little of that. Now the problem with going to the bathroom is for some reason instead of having me walk to the toilet she had me sit in a chair. It was way too big and my feet didnít touch the ground. She also sat there staring at me so I just stared back and looked at her like she was crazy. Needless to say, it was not a conducive environment to help me go. Finally she let me go in the bathroom and SUCCESS! Next I was off to the surgeon's for a check. His nurse told me I looked better the day before (isn't that  a vote of confidence when you have the head the size of a pumpkin). The doctor felt all went well but couldn't help mention the fact that maybe he should have reconstructed my chin. Fear not, he's a cosmetic surgeon and he just can't help himself. My upper lip should look a little poutier when all is said and done. Finally I arrived home and definitely needed the pain pills (fortunately I had already had my prescriptions filled) but wasn't sure how to swallow them. We ground them up and I drank them. DISGUSTING! Never again will I do that. I hurt, got into bed, was exhausted, threw up all over the comforter and covers and looked at my husband like "now what?" Poor guy, welcome to your hell for the next week or so.



Day 3

Friday July, 13 2001:

I was actually feeling pretty good. My mom and dad brought my 22 month old daughter over to see me and I got a little over ambitious. Too tired. Talking made my jaw hurt and I felt like responding to Cass whose vocabulary was just starting to explode. I decided that next time she came over I was going to stay in bed.



Day 4

Saturday July,14 2001:

I tried to be a good patient and drank lots of diluted apple juice and ate chicken broth. That night I got very sick again. I think it's the apple juice but my husband thinks I'm just crazy. Needless to say, no more apple juice for me. Puking with a one centimeter opening in your mouth is not a whole lot of fun!



Day 5

Sunday July, 15 2001:

I stayed in bed all day. I did not want a repeat performance of yesterday. Thank god for seasons 1 and seasons 2 of Sex and the City.



Day 6

Monday July, 16 2001:

My first day home alone. JD went back to work so this meant having to microwave my own soup (quite a different accomplishment than a triathlon). The less I do and talk, the better I feel but showers, as tiring as they are, sure feel good. Later my mom and Cassidy came over and we had an afternoon slumber party. It was so much fun!



Day 7

Tuesday July, 17 2001:

Today I had to go to both the orthodontist and the surgeon. So far, so good. Hopefully the swelling will continue to decrease. However, just doing that was exhausting.



Day 8

Wednesday July, 18 2001:

Here we are! It has been one week! I am still tired and find myself doing more and more but it's quite minimal. I'm starting to get bored and feel like talking more. Good thing I have a good long distance plan (FOX Communications). My poor mom and husband probably cringed every time the phone rang as I didnít ever really have any new news except for the latest Sex and the City synopsis.



Day 12

Thursday July, 19 2001:



Day 13

Friday July, 20 2001:



Day 14

Saturday July, 21 2001:

At the ten day mark, I figured I could go to a birthday party. I looked okay (not good) and was able to wear makeup. People did double takes to try to figure out what didnít look right. Unfortunately, I didnít take my pain pills with me and about 15 minutes before arriving at the party, the pain was unbearable. I sucked it up and went to the party but I truly just wanted to be home. I even cried just because I was so overwhelmed. The first big adventure is interesting. I wished I had a sign on me that read "orthognathic surgery: 10 days out".

Pretty soon I got to the point where I was making dinner, going to the store, etc. However, I still got very tired and even called my mom to help me clean my house. It wasn't that it was so messy, it was just overwhelming. I take the pain pills in the morning and then again around 5. I find that 2:00 is really hard for me (my teeth ache) and think this is just from all the activity and I am probably clenching. I still constantly rinse and am anxious to get this plastic thing out of my mouth.

Eating is still difficult. I prefer soups and soft pastas work okay. Oh yeah, we mustn't forget ICE CREAM! The thing is, you get tired from chewing very quickly and it's quite an effort to figure out what you want to eat. Truly, I'd love to have a handful of wheat thins but that won't happen for awhile. 

I'm anxious for people to start telling me I look good without a pause and then adding the word "considering". I imagine this will take a few months. Hmmmm. I hope I can run and bike again soon but for now the walks with Cassidy will have to suffice.



Day 15

Sunday July, 22 2001:



1 month later

August 2002:



Follow-up chin procedure


Day before

November 5, 2002:







Day 1

November 6, 2002:




January 20, 2003


Pre & Post Op guide for Orthognathic Surgery