The only good thing about my jaw surgery was my husband saying those magic words: buy anything you need.
Here is a list of items I found most helpful in my recoevery from jaw surgery/immobilization both for hospital and home:
* Mini magnetic white board with magnetic pen/eraser – since I’ve had the surgery, every doctor I’ve seen has said: you CAN talk you know. Annoying. I’ve tried to talk and no discernable words have come out. The only person who can understand me, strangely, is my two-year old. Perhaps we have the same limited vocabulary. Note that people will get impatient with you scribbling down what you need to say. Or worse, they’ll read as you write and sometimes guess what you are trying to say. I’ve learned to write quickly and hold the board so people can’t see what I’m writing until I’m done.
* Chapstick/vaseline/aquaphor – your lips are constantly dry and cracked. This really irritates me. I bought several so I always have one with me.
* Earphones – if you are unlucky like me, you may have to share a room in the hospital. Earphones work wonders at drowning out annoying roommates. My roommate joined me around 8:30 p.m. – I had just been resting comfortably in the dark after a session with a “spiritual healer” who had me meditate while she put her hands in various places – head, arm, knee, foot (weird, but how could I object with my mouth shut?). The next thing I know I hear this god awful Boston accent say: what, I don’t have to sit around in the dahk all night, do I? They flipped her lights on and I was then subjected to listen to her on her cellphone for several hours. Apparently, she was mad because her mother made a comment to someone that she had the body of a 40-year old smoker. While I wasn’t sure if this was a compliment in reality, she certainly had the voice to match.
* Your own clothes – underwear and pajamas. Some sites may say not to bring this because of “drainage” but I didn’t have a problem. There is nothing more heavenly than taking off that gross johnny and wearing underwear. Just remember to bring really loose clothes – the wires on my doohickey came out of the top of my shirt, and my lounge pants could easily be rolled up to accommodate the post-surgery required “calve massagers”.
* Blender – I didn’t have one before now. I will need to blend most things. I’ve realized now why so many people lose weight when their jaws are wired shut – it’s a pain in the ass to eat, so it’s easy to just not eat. My treat at the end of the night is a chocolate banana milkshake. My nutrionist gave me the tip to eat several small meals instead of trying to eat three big ones – less exhausting.
* Large syringe with tube tip – you will likely get a syringe from the hospital, but some super smart person equipped mine with a rubber tip that helps position the food into the back of my mouth. When we were leaving we discovered that this had been custom made from (new) catheter tubing. Genius! I’ve experimented trying to eat without the syringe, but have discovered the syringe is key because (a) it allows you to eat reasonable amounts of an ounce or two at a time rather than miniscule sips and (b) it prevents food from staining/getting caught in the front of your wires/bands. My three and a half year old was really grossed out by this.
* Benefiber – the powder kind that dissolves completely. I add this to just about everything. Not because I have a problem, but because I’m trying to create a liquid version of the South Beach diet. Perhaps I can sell Dr. Agaston a South Beach Liquid diet book?
* Food – give some real thought to what you can/want to eat. Again, it’s important to me that I not be the first person to gain weight with her jaws wired. I tried to find my usual low sugar foods, in a smooth, high fiber version. One good find for me was Boost Glucose Control – compared to all the liquid diet supplements, this was the lowest in sugar, highest in protein I could find. It’s not lowfat though. I just couldn’t believe how much sugar was in the other kinds!
* Computer/Nook – since I can’t talk, I’ve been DYING to communicate with people. Facebook and email have provided a great basis for that, and I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me. I just worry that people are going to start thinking I’m stalking them on Facebook or something.
* Breathe Right Nasal Strips – these are a LIFESAVER if you are claustrophobic like me. When my nose is the slightest bit congested, I start to feel panicky like I cannot breathe. These nose strips hold your nostrils open and give me the sense that I can breathe, at least a little. The only problem is that they tend not to stick to one side of my nose (must be my deviated septum, something perhaps to be corrected another time!).
* Liquid tylenol/acetomeniphin – one neat equation I learned is that Rx painkiller + Tylenol = Percocet. Neat, huh? You’d think that the former can take away all the pain, but no. I think Rx painkillers just relax you or something. The problem I’ve discovered is that children’s tylenol is extremely thick – I have to mix it with water to keep from choking. The first time I tried it, I did almost choke.
Ok, typing this has been exhausting, so I’m off to a nap!