Well then! We've made it to the actual eve of my double jaw and genioplasty surgery day. Tomorrow, July 20th, sees my admission to The Harley Street Clinic, London, for the biggest surgical reshuffle of my life, and I want to take everyone with me.
If you're not completely aware of what's going on with my face, you can catch up HERE in my previous posts.
My surgery in short is a Bimaxillary Osteotomy which involves the movement and re-positioning of both jaws to fix my open, crossed bite and mild "long face deformity", with added Genioplasty to create a new balanced chin, post jaw re-positioning, to add better symmetry and help toward correcting a narrowing of my airways.
Sure! I have them! No doubt about that one at all! I've made a few mistakes in my choice of articles to read online which cover the procedure, so naturally the gore and horror parts stick in my mind a little.
The thing is though, those scary chunks of straight talk fall quite far to the back of my head regardless, because aside from the gloom of the reported TERROR OF RECOVERY: WEEK 1(!!!), no matter what you read, everyone says how worthwhile and life changing it is when the results are in.
A Pre-Operation Guide To How To Prepare (From Someone Preparing).
Packing And Preparation.
Rules To Note [Medication & More]
For anyone undergoing major surgery whereby a night or more is required in hospital, you need to abide by some rather strict rules before the procedure takes place.
- No food from midnight onward before the surgery time. My surgery is scheduled for 6:30pm, haha, so my tummy is going to be full on grouchy! The main reason for this fasting is to eliminate the risk of any "mid surgery vomiting" during surgery (a potential risk of general anaesthesia vs a full stomach). Grim.
- Clear fluids ONLY in the 24 hours before surgery for the same reasons as above. Avoid any milk for example, as well as any fizzy drinks. Also do your best not to drink even water from 2 hours before the surgery time.
- NO Asprin OR Ibuprofen based medication before surgery. These drugs (particularly asprin) can thin the blood, and cause an increase in bleeding. Asprin should be avoided as far as 3 WEEKS before the surgery date, however Ibuprofen should just be avoided 24 hours before. Neither of these drugs should be taken following surgery, without the say so of your surgeon.
- Make sure you have your transport booked!! You do NOT want to be using public transport like trains and buses after double jaw surgery. You will need personal transport in the form of a friend or family member at LEAST for going home. It's always nice to have someone take you to hospital too, if you can. Just to help you through any last minute quivers.
What To Take [Staying The Night In Hospital].
My surgery requires a 2 night stay in hospital. The trick is to travel light. You're not going to be wanting to enjoy watercolour painting, a gym sesh, or anything like that, so go for everything self care related. Keep it simple!
- A change of pants (if you're American - underwear)! Just go by the number of day's you're staying.
- A two pack of comfy nighties. You could go pyjamas, but for me I am only truly comfy when I'm feeling "loose". With being sensitive in the face, I want to be as easily "changable" as possible, so a nice wide necked, oversized nightie or 2 will be super.
- Mobile phone and charger. Most hospitals are fine with phones these days, but don't go overboard on taking laptops, tablets, and other expensive electronics. How about a nice book instead, or a small notepad for your thoughts?
- A toothbrush won't be much use for me, seeing as my jaws will be wired shut, but if your operation is elsewhere, don't forget your dental bits!
- Jaw Surgery Patients! I hear taking a vitamin A based moisture oil or cream is a lifesaver for dry lips and patches on your face from all of the rejigging that goes on as part of the op. Don't use Vaseline as it's a moisture BARRIER! The more moisture going in, the better.
- Deodorant. No explanation needed, right? No stinky stink.
- A list of next of kin contacts, and the name and contact details of your GP. You never know who you might want to contact, but in the whirlwind moment you might just not remember who's best. Get their names down first. Your GPs details may be requested by the hospital admin staff or your surgeon.
- "Home Clothes"! Don't pack your LouBous, you need to go home comfy. Treat yourself to some fresh new loose trousers, oversized tops, jogging bottoms, anything which makes you feel snug as a bug. You're not going to care who sees you or gives a darn on your way home at this point, so just focus on you!
Surviving Comfortably At Home.
As you'll read all over the place in any 'double jaw surgery blog', the first week is going to be quite a challenge for a few reasons.
- Your jaws may be wired together, so speaking will be difficult. I intend to find fun ways to communicate, like 'word cards', pen an paper, I don't know, just different ways to switch it up and keep spirits high as possible.
- Liquid foods! It can be a MINIMUM of SEVEN WEEKS before jaw surgery patients can begin to learn to chew again with their new faces. It's super important to prepare for this and get stocked up on favourite soups, nutrient shakes (like Complan. These have your RDA in calories for a light meal, as well as vitamins and essential minerals). I'm also going to see if I can grab myself a nutribullet before the big day too, so perhaps Lloyd might be able to whip me up some nice homemade soups too. Don't forget homemade milkshakes and ice cream by the bucket too ;).
- A good box set or twenty! Keep your mind active and entertained with a new series to follow on Netflix, or in my case, NOWTV (Got to catch up to season 7 of GOT!!). Go on a little pre-op trip to your favourite book store too, perhaps, to treat yourself to a new read!
- Keep lots of industrial rolls of tissue on hand, as well as gauze and cotton wool. The hospital ought to supply quite a bundle to start you off to support all of the drooling and potential nose bleeds, but you don't want to have to then go out so soon after surgery once you've run out!
- SOLUBLE painkillers. Again, I'm sure I can expect some of these to be coming home with me from hospital, however make sure that there are plenty in the cupboards ready at home!
You've Got This!
Above all, stay strong! OBVIOUSLY I'm writing this as someone who hasn't yet had the operation until Thursday ticks over, BUT you must remember how important it is to action "mind over matter" mentality. A stable mind sets stable foundations for physical challenges, and can work wonders in both action and in getting back to wellness.