Yesterday was (hopefully) the last page in the book of having a broken jaw. I got all of the metal removed from my mouth and finally look back to normal. It is strange that having a metal-free mouth feels normal, after getting used to so many days of being uncomfortable. I want to share some things I have learned from this terrible experience that I wish upon nobody. However, if you find yourself with a jaw wired shut, here are some valuable things that I learned:
– Strawberry seeds are a product of the devil. Anything that is strawberry flavored or has strawberry in it will be guaranteed to have strawberry seeds in it. Even if you are sure there will be no seeds, you will most likely be mistaken. Strawberry seeds are unavoidable unless you are personally cutting the strawberries. Strawberry seeds are the worst because they are just tiny enough though unable to go through your teeth. They will instead congregate in the pockets of your cheeks/gums and you will have to dig them out. I didn’t try it, but I would imagine this is the same with chia seeds (which are suggested for many smoothie recipes) or any seeds for that matter.
– Surprisingly, it is most difficult to suck whipped cream through a straw.
– Not all milkshakes and smoothies are created equal. Lumps and bumps can not be sucked through a straw nor can go through your teeth. Make sure these drinks are extra blended.
– Being able to use your tongue is underrated. You can’t with your jaw wired shut. That means no [licking] ice cream, no licking the spoon of leftovers from making smoothies, soups, yogurt, etc.
– It is beyond frustrating when you are trying to say something but nobody can understand you. It’s super easy to get mad about this. Patience is a virtue. As a quiet person, this was especially difficult for me to grasp because when I do speak, I reserve those times for things of importance or especially funny comments. But I had to learn that it was just easier to keep many more of my thoughts to myself. Another option is to text/write down everything you want to say, but that requires more effort.
– Keep dental wax on you at all times. I rarely used it but when I did it was a life saver. It cushions your cheeks/lips from getting constantly poked by metal, which became more painful than anything else I had to deal with.
– On the topic of sneezing: it is possible to go a month without sneezing. And I say that about ANY month of the year, any season. I was restrained from sneezing during the most pollen-heavy month and I have the worst hay fever. And I managed. I only half-sneezed twice and it felt more just like a cough with a tight pulling or pinch on my throat. I have now become really good at holding in sneezes. I once read that looking at a bright light when you need to sneeze, will help suppress it, and whether or not this is true, it did help. Also, in most situations I just focused really hard on not sneezing and although it may have looked like I was having a mini convulsion, it was a great alternative.
– Regarding yawning: I needed to yawn all the time. This is possible to do with your jaw shut. Every once in a while though, my jaw moved a little bit open when I yawned which was caused a twinge of pain. Try your best to keep your jaw closed, though it is ok if it is unavoidable.
– You CAN lose weight and still have a milkshake every day. When I was on a liquid diet my appetite decreased. So having a milkshake really filled me up. Plus, exercising helps too- I took a lot of long walks because it wasn’t too strenuous or shook my face.
– I got really upset when I was around people who were eating normal foods. It is really nice if friends and family are able to eat their own normal foods not around you. This is asking a lot but it makes it much easier to deal with the diet restrictions.
– Your diet doesn’t have to be all sweet. Many people think of a liquid diet as only consisting of fruit smoothies and milkshakes and sodas and juices. Don’t forget soup (broths) and vegetable juices/smoothies!
– Take this opportunity to get really creative and adventurous with your homemade smoothie/milkshake recipes. As much as I may have really enjoyed some that I made, I rarely wrote down successful recipes so I could change it up and have something new every time. (I did however write down some of my favorite recipes which I will be sharing forthcoming.)
– If you make your own smoothies/shakes you are now an expert. You might as well open your own business.
– Even when the wires are cut, and even with all the metal is removed, you will still need to practice opening and closing your jaw. Think of it as jaw exercises. It will feel stiff and thus be a little painful, but if you ever want to regain your muscles and return to normal, this is necessary.
– When your wires are cut, nothing feels better or more relieving than a good, hearty sneeze. Or a yawn. Yawn till the cows come home. It will feel so good.