Thursday, July 06, 2017

Big Words

So, what are we doing this summer? We're learning some big words. Like Maxillofacial Surgery and Maxillary Osteotomy.  Jon undertook this adventure to fix his bite and his teeth once and for all! After many months of braces, x-rays, impressions and models, and many classes and consultations...
(It looks like we robbed the pharmacy, but I promise, all of those were prescribed!)
...operation day arrived! The surgery was at the Richmond hospital (not super close to our house, so many thanks to my Beccas and my in-laws for taking turns watching all my kids for a full 24+ hours).

Friday, June 16
Chillin' in pre-op. Jon looks super cool in his temperature controlling surgical gown, I.V. tube, and ... hair net? I'm not totally sure what the purpose of the cap is since he was totally shaved bald anyway...

This is where I said goodbye and headed out to wait. The surgery itself was about two and a half hours.  I saw many nervous families in the O.R. waiting room and didn't want to hang around there too long, so I went out for a walk, grabbed some food, etc... so by the time I got back into the waiting room, I was only there for about 15 min. before Dr. Fallah came out to report that everything had gone as planned, and Jon was slowly coming around from the anesthesia (and yes, I did have to look up how to spell that...). 

And what was the surgical plan exactly? Well, skip ahead if you're squeamish... but here's one surgeon's description:

"The operation is all carried out from the inside of your mouth so that there are no visible scars on the skin of your face. A cut is made through the gum above your upper teeth to gain access to the jawbone. The upper jaw is then cut with a small saw to allow it to be broken in a controlled manner. It is then moved into its new position and held in place with small metal plates and screws. The gum is stitched back into place with dissolvable stitches that can take a fortnight or even longer to fall out."

Sounds fun, right? Needless to say, it was quite a relief to hear that everything had gone well. 

So once all that was done, Jon was moved to a recovery room upstairs. I caught up with him just as the nurses were finishing up getting him settled with ice packs, oxygen and humidifier mask, IV with antibiotics, saline, and morphine, sequential compression devices on his legs, heart rate monitor and blood pressure cuff. Yeah, he was pretty attached to that bed for a while. 
He also had these cool snap thing stuck all over his chest and ribs... I'm not really sure what they were for... some kind of monitoring, I'm sure, but I'd never seen the like... they reminded me of Larry's Snap Circuits Electronics set.  
I felt a little emotional coming into the recovery room, seeing Jon, who is always so capable and strong, in so much pain and hardly able to stay conscious, hardly able to talk with his teeth wired shut. With his eyes barely open, he reached for my hand and squeezed it three times-- our little code for "I Love You."  I pulled up a chair and we settled in for a long night.  
Of course, it felt like every time Jon was just getting to sleep, it would be time for more meds or vitals or vomit or something, so really there wasn't a lot of rest happening. But I did get very creative about sleeping in a folding chair.

Saturday, June 17
Early in the morning, Jon finally felt like getting up and going for a walk (a requirement for dispatch from the hospital), so he got untethered as much as he could and used the IV stand as a sort of walker. After one short lap, he was ready to lie down again and drink some broth, which he said tasted like liquid steak! ...  I guess after eating nothing for over 24 hours, vegetable broth could taste like steak...

Look at that smile! :)
By 11am Saturday, Jon met all the criteria for release from the hospital, so one at a time, all the monitors came off and we were ready to head home.  

Sunday, June 18: Happy Father's Day!
Our reclining couches have been put to good use since the surgery.  Jon was supposed to sleep with his head elevated for two weeks following the operation, so we've had slumber parties in the living room every night! 

Also, for ten days with his teeth wired shut, Jon was on a liquids only diet. My BlenTec was used many times each day, to add some variety to the steady intake of Ensure shakes. Some blended recipes were quite delicious, like Reese's peanut butter milkshakes, apple pie milkshakes, and yogurt smoothies. Some things were good, like seven-layer dip puree, broccoli cheddar soup, and mashed potato soup.  Other things were a little strange, like potato salad soup and BBQ chicken puree (SO NOT RECOMMENDED!) And still other things were downright bizzare--like the gelatinous blob that was created after putting a whole cup of noodles in the BlenTec... Also not recommended... unless you're entering a science fair. 

As an added bit of bonus fun, since all his "food" had to be slurped through his teeth, nothing could be too hot or too cold. So milkshake and soup alike were served at a sort of tepid room temperature. Try drinking something with your teeth clenched shut sometime... it's interesting. And then be grateful that you don't have to do that for ten days straight. 

Tuesday, June 20
As rest improved, so did Jon. By four days post-op, he felt well enough to sit up and strum... and hum a little through clenched teeth. 

Wednesday, June 21
First day out and about! Not even a week after surgery, Jon and I got out walking in the wetlands. 
The smile is getting better :) 

Friday, June 23: One week after surgery
Feeling good enough to play Legos with the kids... and then clean up the Legos with the kids ;)

Sunday, June 25
No pictures, but Jon was brave enough to stand and "sing" with my ward choir (remember his teeth are still wired shut) so Bro. Ross wasn't the only one in the men's section... Everyone in the ward was super impressed! 

Monday, June 26
Best. Day. Ever! The wires holding his jaw shut came off and were replaced with orthodontic rubber bands. The bands are strong and still hold the jaw still, but at least he gets to take them off to eat! 
 Ironically, at Dawna's ortho appointment the same week, she got to start wearing rubber bands too! So nice to share these experiences with daddy! And now he has an even better open-mouth smile!

Jon had a lot of interesting observations about his teeth and jaw once they were unwired. His whole eating structure had changed.  In the past, his front teeth met end to end (this is not ideal) so a lot of chewing happened in the front of his mouth instead of the back. And suddenly, he had to re-learn how to chew--because his incisors were cutting like scissors, as they should, and his back molars were grinding, as they should, but this was a new feeling for him. I got questions such as "Do you chew on both sides of your mouth or just one at a time?" and "What does your tongue do while you're chewing in the back?" Honestly, these were things I'd never thought about and I had an opportunity for introspection on my eating methods... I tend to chew on one side of my mouth at a time, and my tongue acts as a sort of blockade for either side while I chew. Take a moment to consider how you eat. It will be revealing :)

Friday, June 30
A mere fourteen days after surgery, we got out to enjoy the beach! No swimming of course, but a nice dip of the toes and jaunt up and down the shore put him in good spirits! The swelling has improved a lot, the stitches are still hanging around, but overall, this tough guy has made quick work of recovery! He's eating more and getting up and around more each day. Next week it's back to work :( I'm going to miss having my hubby around all the time, but I guess it's time to move on to our next great adventure...
 ...with a great smile! 

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At July 06, 2017 7:02 PM , Blogger Jonathan said...

Some of those pictures are hilarious. Man I looked about like I felt. 🤣

At July 07, 2017 11:08 PM , Blogger Aaron and Emily said...

Whoa. This was one serious surgery-recovery! Jon's non-smile smiles remind me of Samuel’s when he had stitches on his lip. Aaron and i are having a discussion about what side of the mouth we chew on. Glad Jon is doing better, and i thought it was cute u guys have an i love u squeeze!

At July 08, 2017 9:56 PM , Blogger Brooke Evans said...

Go, Jon!


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