Saturday, August 29, 2009

back to the real world [day 60]

Life is slowly becoming normal around here. I still have a very narrow opening - I can stretch it up to 12 popsicle sticks now, but it hurts. A lot. I don't like it. My goal is to hit 13 tomorrow, as I've been able to get 12 in last night and today. I dread the popsicle sticks. DREAD. My jaw hurts all the time again now, and I get headaches - NOT migraines, just headaches - after I do my physical therapy stuff. Still no migraines.

I can chew soft things now, and am starting to chew things like bread - chewing is complicated by the lack of height in my bite right now - it's hard to maneuver food in there. Things are going slow and frustrating - I keep overdoing it with the hip without thinking about it - went clamming last weekend and the long walks on the beach REALLY strained it, and then I went to a swing dance last week and danced just a few songs. The swing dance wasn't fun at ALL - too many elbows and swinging arms. I kept picturing one flying into my face (and it's happened before!).

It was a really weird week, as I went back to school for staff days. With the drastic changes in my hair and losing the glasses AND the face, most people said they didn't recognize me at first and had to do a double take. One teacher I walked in with (talking to the whole way) didn't have a CLUE who I was until I took off my sunglasses in the building. It's really awkward, as after I tell them I had jaw surgery they don't really know what to say - I mean, I don't exactly know what I'D say in that position. I don't like the attention, though.

Feeling is coming back slowly but surely all over. Except for the point of my chin, I have no areas with COMPLETE numbness anymore. The newest weird thing is when I drink cold liquids I don't get the cold sensation on the inside of my lower lip, instead I feel it on the outside all down my chin - so I think I'm dripping down my face. I can't feel if food is stuck on my chin at all except in small places, which gets pretty embarrassing around people I'm not close with - I become paranoid with the napkins.

My swelling continues to hang around, and I don't feel like taking a picture today (I feel really swollen). Maybe if tomorrow's a better day I'll post one for you guys.

I know I'm in this for the long haul now and changes will be slow coming, but I'm starting to feel quite discouraged with progress lately. It's so annoying not to be able to open my mouth. It's annoying to not feel my face. It's annoying to have my jaw hurt. My speech is still a little unclear - and I start teaching on Wednesday of this week. Speaking for short bits in front of my staff this week was SO terrible - I feel like the louder I speak, the more slurred it becomes. And I've got big classes. I called the disability office (HAH!) in my school district and am working on getting some sort of wireless microphone system for the first few months, but they never sent me the paperwork - I'm calling again Monday morning because I'm really concerned.

I think I may have worked my last shift at Starbucks today, also - I am taking the first three weeks off of school already to prepare and heal and get some more energy back, but I need to come back that 4th week otherwise I'm separated from the company. And even though my energy levels are getting better and better still - I'm not even CLOSE to having EXTRA energy, and working Starbucks and teaching at the same time last year wore me out anyway. I love Starbucks, and it breaks my heart that I might have to leave. I know I can always come back, but I'll really miss my store family and I'm sad to miss the holiday season - it's by far my favorite during the year.

Whew, that was a long one. I'll see about posting more pictures soon.

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