Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Onto a Matter of Health, Rather than Mentality

Since you learn to live with the functional issues of a malocclusion, you tend also to forget about them (well I do!) and focus more on what is inescapable- aesthetics.
But lately I've noticed my upper jaw is straining a little bit, and doesn't really feel 'stable' when I'm chewing something particularly dense or just something larger generally. Because only 2 teeth touch, and on my left side, I do most of my chewing on that side. But I'm noticing that when I do chew something on my left side, it feels almost as if my upper jaw is being forced even more slanty. Obviously I don't mean my jaw is actually moving, but it just feels 'wrong' and uncomfortable like it's causing undue pressure on the right side. I can't really explain it properly, but it's just because of the discrepancy between the left and right side of my jaw, like a balance scale type scenario. I'll re-post a pic of me biting down just for the sake of clarity:

So I've been having to relieve the uncomfortable feeling by chewing on my right side instead. But this isn't good for me generally since it means I'm chewing less well than normally because the teeth don't touch at all (which isn't really saying a lot anyway since I can't chew well to start with!)

I think it will take me a while to get used to how to chew with a normal jaw relationship, but I'll be glad when I can eat a sandwich or an apple without any drama! lol (oooh, I long to bite into some fruit!)

Also, my countdown says 13 days to go! I'm weary of a phone call to tell me it's been cancelled any time in the next fews day, so it will be tense. I haven't bought anything yet either (other than a pair of slippers to walk to theatre in! lol), mainly because it's not definite enough yet for me to get really prepared. I have some revision and essays to write, so that will take my mind off it. And what's more- on the 11th I will be at uni to hand in said essays, and take an exam. What fun the eve of my operation will be!

I feel ambivalent about the surgery too. I don't feel anxious or nervous. Even though 13 days isn't really a long time left to go, it feels like it. I think again this is all due to the fact that it could be cancelled. It feels less 'real'

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Good Christmas day, not so much night....

Last night (which technically was today) I went to my room in tears. Why? Because my drunk brother embarrassed me in front of my family, and played to all my insecurities about my jaw (unbeknownst to him, to be fair). In a matter of a joke in front of everyone, he basically said that since I've never brought a boy to the house, I must be a lesbian. It was an in-your-face joke where the attention in on you to deflect it, and he kept saying it and asking me to reply. I was immediately upset not because of the accusation of being a lesbian, but, firstly, more of the fact that in the crudest terms the implication is of a butch or masculine woman (no offense meant to anyone out there, but that is a real stereotype), and secondly, that it was prying into my personal relations, and the fact that I have no self-esteem to even consider anyone finding me attractive.
Basically what he did was bring to the surface my lack of esteem and my feelings that my jaw makes me look -and feel- masculine.

Well, he came to me an apologised for the joke (which in itself wasn't why I was upset), so when I told him it was because I thought my jaw made me feel un-feminine he immediately realised why his lesbian comment struck a chord, he apologised again more profoudly. I accepted his apology, but I'm still upset.

I'm not upset for what he said in terms of blaming him, because nobody really knew how bad I feel about my jaw. I just get upset when something or someone reminds me of how I feel about myself. I can't help the lack of self-esteem because it has grown with me as I've grown up waiting for this treatment, even though people won't understand it. This is how I feel and why I simply cannot wait until my operation.
The good thing to come from this? Well, I suppose in a way it's good that my family realise the extent of my feelings about my jaw now. Also, it happened after midnight so it didn't offically ruin my Christmas!

I don't think this is too personal to share, and the fact is that however I feel about my jaw cannot be resolved or comforted because my opinion won't change until my appearance does. Not in a shallow way of course, but in the sense that once my underbite is corrected, so my appearance will be, and hopefully so will my esteem

I always say in my posts sorry for being melodramatic. Maybe if I hadn't gone through most of my teenage life with the knowledge of my underbite and that is was serious enough to need correcting, I might not have focused so much on it. But, that's life.

So, sorry for sounding melodramatic!

Bring on the 12th........

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Some sound advice, courtesy of Theatre Admissions Unit

So yesterday I was given a little information booklet from the TAU, which is just about what will happen when I'm there, etc. Anyway, there is a section called: 'What should I do to look after myself once I get home?' (it's more for patients who leave the same day of their operation, which of course I won't be doing) In it it reads:
Please make sure that for at least 24 hours after your operation you do not do the following:
  • Drive a car or ride a bike
  • Operate any machinery including domestic equipment
  • Sign any legal documents
  • Smoke or drink alcohol
  • Take sleeping tablets
So ok, quite elementary stuff....but sign any legal documents? I burst out laughing when I read that. I can just imagine people coming round the wards trying to sell patients life insurance or a mortgage, or lawyers trying to get you a no win no fee claim. Like when you're abroad and you get pestered on the beach or at a restaurant to buy a CD or some flowers (or whatever). Or door-to-door salesmen camping outside hospitals waiting for some 'prey' who look like they're had an operation so are vulnerable and suggestible, to go home and then to go and try and sell them something....

But, I'm sure it's good advice. I will make sure not to sign anything :P


Anyway, hope everyone reading had a good Christmas. I'm planning to buy a blender, etc, in the sales! That's one benefit of a surgery at the start of the year, lol

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Pre-op was a breeze

so was the weather!
But yeah, my pre-op was uneventful really; we managed to find the place straight away because it was right at the front of the hospital (so why the need for the convoluted instructions I don't know), and I went in twith the nurse straight away too. I had my weight and height measured to calculate my BMI (I'm slightly overweight. Boo hoo society! lol), then we went through my medical history questions (which was a series of me answering 'no' 'no' 'no' - allergic to penicillin 'no' 'no'...etc, etc!), blood pressure (perfect), pulse (slightly fast because I was nervous, as most people are in this type of setting), breathing, etc.

Then I had to do some swabs to check for MRSA (and let's hope I haven't got that!)- of my nose, and my....'leg crease'. I thought the nurse meant like me knee or something, but he meant my groin. So I was like 'okaaaaay', and went in a little area by myself and got the sample. It was quite odd, but I was perfectly mature about it :D

Then I had to go into the main hospital and get some blood tests done. It's an odd bingo-type system where you get a ticket with a number on, and they call you down. I was waiting quite a while- from number 30 to 66- but the actual blood test was fine. Whilst we were waiting though, we suddenly heard this loud cry of 'OOOOW!' which was quite funny. It's like when you go to the dentist and you hear the drilling in the other room. Luckily I have no fear of needles, or dentists (or orthodontists or maxillofacial surgeons....)

I will go to the same place when I have my surgery too. It's bascially theatre admissions for most of the hospital, and then you're taken to whatever ward you need after. I'll be in the Head and Neck ward this time, which is a bump up from the general Ear, Nose and Throat for when I had SARME (I feel all important and special).

I also asked the nurse about the cancellation policy too, since I've been told numerous times the surgery is likely to be cancelled, and he looked quite surprised and said my surgeon doesn't usually have many cancer patients anyway. So the situation clouds...*shrugs*

A nutritionist and dental hygienist will come and see me after the surgery too, which is good. Here's hoping I get some freebies

Well, I think that's it. So here's hoping -again- that my surgery won't, in fact, be cancelled. I have no idea what will happen at this point! : /

Monday, 21 December 2009


I absolutely adore snow; it's so serene and pastoral. I love the winter generally, which is great since I live in the UK and we don't really get a good summer. I rather moan about the heat rather than the cold or the rain :D
Anyway, even though we're used to bad weather here, we're not used to snow. So, it was snowing pretty heavily yesterday here in Yorkshire- but did the council come and grit or plow the main roads? Did people take note of the weather and decide not to go for a Sunday drive? No on both points- and that equals a bit of a mess! There's loads of abandoned cars outside my house because it sits on a hill, and obviously people aren't used to driving in snow and they got stuck.
The Eurostar even got cancelled because 5 trains got stuck in the Channel tunnel, lol. Madness. You'd think a tunnel that goes under the bloody English Channel could handle some snow. But obviously not!
So yes, it's a bit mad here for the transport side of things. So I'm hoping it won't snow anymore now so on Tuesday I can get to the hospital for my pre-op tests.
Ok, maybe it can snow a little bit this afternoon, but then we can't have anymore fun and we have to be serious. It's stopped snowing up in the north anyway, but I don't know about elsewhere...

Anyway, I'll see how it goes tomorrow. I imagine I'll be doing more waiting than aything else, but we're going early because we still don't quite know how to get to the right bit of the hospital. I think we're just going to go into the main building and ask for directions, lol

Friday, 18 December 2009

Now I'm Paranoid...

First off, I can't take a decent photo of the hooks, but this is the best I could manage (trying to distort my mouth and pulling my lower lip down....honestly):

I have 4 on the top and 8 on the bottom. But none between the middle teeth or either uppers or lowers, which is good. The front 2 on the top keep catching my lip when I smile though, because they aren't rounded towards my face, but rather just stick upwards, so I need time to unattach myself from them occasionally!

Anyway, when I was at my appointment I asked what would happen if I did get a cancellation, and she said they would ring me up around 10 days before. But still, whenever the phone rings I think it's the masked villains from the hospital. I'm like just don't answer the phone and it'll be alright. I can't help it!

It's very disconcerting, but also I still don't really understand why it has to be me that gets cancelled. You know what I mean? Do the important surgery first, bump off a tonsillectomy or something, and just do my surgery later in the day after you've had a cuppa and KitKat

My knowledge of how things work is skewed, obviously....

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I'm hooked

So today I had my sugical hooks placed, final molds and measurements taken, and also one more photograph for good measure

The hooks went on quite easily- my wire didn't have to be removed, and the hooks were just 'clamped' on, as it were. I have 8 on the bottom, and 4 on the top. The pressure on my lower teeth was quite painful, though. But then we're used to pain, aren't we?

Speaking of pain, when I saw the face bow for the first time today I thought 'oh, so orthodontists do use torture devices after all!'. It's a rather odd looking contraption that needs to be screwed tight on your head. Seeing someone holding a screwdriver over you isn't the most welcoming sight in the world. But the good thing is, it just looks scary, but it's actually quite tame! All you have to do is bite onto the mold, and the frame is just there to measure your bite correctly

The face bow for those who haven't experienced it:

So after that I had a lot more molds taken- I had 2 'normal' ones where you have all the vile goo in your mouth. I don't really have a problem with these except that the goo is vile, and they don't take long.

Anyway she then need to take some different molds to just get my bite indentation. Basically they were sheets of wax or whatever, that were warmed in water to make pliable, and then you bite down on them, etc. It was 9.40 and her next appointment wasn't until 10, so my ortho thought she would 'experiment' if I didn't mind. So she used quite a lot of new stuff that she hasn't used much...and wasted quite a lot of it too. It's difficult taking a mold of a bad bite though really, because the whole thing is that your teeth don't meet well, if at all (like in my case they don't meet on the right side at all when I bite down). She got it right in the end, though

And then finally, she took another photo of my bite to add to the collection.

And that was that.

I'll get a photo of my hooks up soon too.

Also, my ortho said her last 2 patients did not get their first surgery date cancelled. Is that a good sign, or a sign that 3 times in a row is unlikely to happen? : (

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Pre-op Nerves?

I keep feeling slightly anxious lately. I don't know if it's exam/assignment worry (although I'm usually quite laid back about that), general surgery worry, or surgery-cancellation worry. Or maybe it's a bit of everything.

The only thing really in terms of adademics is that I need to fit things around my appointments and surgery. For instance next week I need to hand in an assignment early because I need to come back home for my ortho appointment (more molds for my splint, X-Rays, measurements, etc). I have an exam the day before my surgery (not a huge, scary one, though thankfully), and also have to hand in assignments then, because the hand-in date is my surgery date (well, assuming it's not cancelled). I'm a procrastinator though, so I tend not to get overly-anxious about work anyway. I work better under pressure, I find! lol

I have been thinking about breathing after surgery though. I seriously can't breathe through my nose well, and at night if I try I just feel suffocated, so the idea of wearing a splint does worry me just a bit. Of course, if the whole point of my not being able to breathe through my nose is because of my malocclusion, then I suppose after surgery I should be fine anyway! I just think a splint seems too 'claustrophobic', if that makes sense. Heres hoping I don't need it in the end!

Then there's general worry my surgery will end up being cancelled. It doesn't feel right to have my appointments and my pre-op assessment when my surgery could be cancelled at any time. I just have a general feeling of unrest, and that's probably where my anxiety is coming from actually

Oh, and a question- how annoying are surgical hooks? I think I might be getting those next week too, so I'm going to have them on during Christmas, etc. I have to pick enough crap out of my braces without having to pull turkey out of these as well! lol

Friday, 4 December 2009

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

...a pre-op assessment for my sur-ge-ry.

Umm, anyway! :D I finally got my confirmation letter today, and my pre-op assessment is on the 22nd December at 10.30 (I wonder if I should come in an elf costume, or wear a red nose or something, it's so close to Christmas day). The letter said I may be there 2 or 3 hours (um, how long?). I suppose it's the usual humiliation of being weighed (well, I am a teenage girl, my weight is a sensitive issue!) and poked. I think it said I would also meet the staff who will be looking after me too.
For the actual surgery I need to be there for 7:00 (the hospital is about an hour's drive, so it's not too bad).

Now, I still have some confusion though. When I had SARME I was in the main hospital in the Ear, Nose and Throat ward. My letter is from the office of the 'Dental Hospital', which is god knows where, and all it says is to go to the Theatre Admins Unit.

So I get that I'm having the surgery in the Dental Hosptial, whereas I suppose SARME is minor and so was carried out in the general hospital. What I don't get is if my pre-op assessment is in the Dental Hospital or the main Hospital, because the directions are slightly different in the letter, so I don't know whether it's a typo or not. One part says Road A (for the assessment), and one part says Floor A (for the surgery). On the map included there is a Road A, which is nowhere near the Dental Hospital, so therein lies my confusion!

I know it will be something obvious, but I'm going to check it out just in case!
And let's hope my surgery date won't change in the meantime!

PS- the hospital is called the Charles Clifford Dental first thought was he's a PR man for Z-listers in the UK, isn't he? Or maybe that's Max Clifford...

Off to get a google map, now!