Firstly, I apologise for the lack of updates, but I thought it’d be easier if I broke down the post into issues instead of days so you can see a progression over the first week.
I thought I wouldn’t have much of a problem with this since my nose didn’t bleed post-surgery, but it was really quite difficult to breathe on Day 3 & 4 for some reason. The Breathe Right Strips and Q-tips were utterly indispensable. I would not have been able to have a good night’s sleep without them, but even then they really didn’t help much when the problem peaked. Sometimes I was really close to panicking because I wheezed so loudly and my nose felt like it was slowly but surely clogging up, but then I remembered that I can still breathe through my mouth, even when it’s wired shut! Of course it’s a bit uncomfortable, but that dispelled much of the worry of like… dying of suffocation or something. Hot showers were also very useful, but my humidifier stopped helping much after a while.
By the 5th day, my nose cleared up considerably and now (the 7th day), breathing is pretty much normal.
I have no problems at all sleeping – I’m able to sleep throughout the entire night, and I usually have a 1.5 hour nap in the middle of the day after lunch because I get so tired. It’s important to remember that your body is still recovering from a very major surgery, so rest is still very much needed and you shouldn’t exert yourself too much! Having said that…
Walking Around/Going Out
Don’t keep yourself cooped up at home all day long, if you can manage it! I’ve been going out for short walks to the nearby malls. The doctors said that walking will help with the swelling, and I find that I can muster the energy and strength, although I often need to pause for soup or drinks (because liquid diet = CONSTANT HUNGER PANGS). I definitely recommend taking walks during recovery, even when you are all puffed up, because it just helps in keeping you optimistic just a little (especially if you are the sort who doesn’t like to stay indoors for long periods of time)
My swelling is really really really really really really really bad. IDK why it hasn’t really gone down at all in days 3-6. I don’t know if it’s something to do with my blood clotting thingy, because the surgeon mentioned that it does affect swelling? I dunno. All I know is that I used to have a really slim face that tapered to my chin, but now it’s like… oblong. There’s definitely a lot of swelling that hasn’t gone down. It’s rather frustrating because I’ve been reading blogs and most people don’t seem to face much swelling/their swelling goes down really fast, but I still can’t envision what my face will look like after all the swelling goes down.
Trying to be optimistic on this point, but my mind has been riddled with worries to be quite honest. I know I am still swollen but I don’t know how much of the extra volume on my face is because of swelling. I’m actually sort of scared my face will be stuck like this, and I’ll be a chubby chipmunk. I’m trying to remind myself that it’s only been a week, and my swelling will slowly go down. I’ve found that not facing a mirror 24/7 kind of helps keep me sane. My laptop is usually placed right next to the mirror so for the first few days home I couldn’t help but obsess about how SLOW swelling is going down, but now I have forced myself to move my laptop so I am facing away from the mirror. At this point, however, I definitely don’t feel up to meeting with friends while there is still this much swelling on my face.
I am still eating mostly liquids, even though on Day 6 my surgeon removed some of the elastic bands. I still can’t really open my mouth much though, because the existing elastic bands are still really tight. Haven’t really tried blended food, actually, and I’m a bit apprehensive because I have no way of brushing the insides of my teeth. I haven’t had much of a problem with the liquid diet, except yesterday I watched my family have dinner and I REALLY WANTED SOME FRIED CHICKEN. I can’t imagine having to wait 5 more weeks before I can finally have some fried chicken. One day I’ll be desperate enough to try and blend it, and I’ll tell you how blended fried chicken tastes like. I’m guessing that the taste will be satisfying enough to make up for the disgusting texture.
On a side note, I recommend Soup Master 老火汤 to the Singaporeans!!!! They have a few branches around the island and their soups are pretty ok. Most of all you get to refill the soup for free. 🙂 You won’t be able to eat the meat and all, so I recommend you share it with someone because you are only going to drink the soup (which have I mentioned is refillable???)
I am able to talk (sort of… or at least be vaguely understood) now that a few elastic bands have been removed. Enough to not be dependent on a whiteboard any longer! However some words still come out sounding like utter gibberish so I often have to repeat. It’s also weird having to learn how to ‘re-pronounce’ words, especially because I am still more or less banded shut. Since I had an underbite previously, I pronounced many sounds differently than what would be the ‘normal’ way. For instance, sibilants were difficult since your teeth NEED to meet to create the ‘ssss’ sound. Now I am sort of able to produce that sound, though it still feels unnatural. Baby steps, I guess!
My neck and face are so yellow right now I am positively a Simpson. It has been like this since Day 3/4, and it’d only gotten worse! Doesn’t really bother me, since I know for sure that this is going away, but I thought I’d just let you know that this may and probably will happen to you post-op!
A little note on the emotional and psychological aspect of recovery: you neeeeeeeeed to make sure that you have things during the recovery period that will make you a little happier and let you take your mind off the fact that you are a swollen mess of a person! Be it food, friends, or any form of entertainment. For me so far, my comfort objects are fruit juice and Sherlock (BBC). I had also prepared a few books, but frequent hunger pangs make it a less than ideal period for reading… So yes, a word of advice – prepare some comfort items!
The first week – hell week – is finally over and I am so glad that it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Currently I am quite comfortable and my recovery appears to be on track except for swelling (where I appear to be lagging very very very very very far behind – SUCKS!). No pain since the first night and morning after surgery. Trying to be optimistic and soldier on! And of course, patience is important (and unfortunately lacking in me, oh well).