I am now on day 6 since the removal of the wisdom teeth and all I want to do is be able to eat normally again! The lack of decent meals is driving me insane! Here’s an update on my condition:
Yesterday, I was actually pretty pain free until about 4:30 pm. I even managed a raspberry yoghurt drink thing for lunch. I finish work at 5, so I decided tojust endure it for the last half hour. Once I got to the train station, I bought a cold bottle of water and used that to cool my cheek for a while, and the pain was almost gone by the time the train arrived. I think all the talking I’d had to do had worn me out and my mouth just needed to rest. I took a painkiller for bed, but one of the less strong ones and it actually worked until morning.
Today, the pain was bearable enough that, if it had been a weekend, I would have dealt with it using ice and sleep. But because I had to go to work, I took a painkiller. In terms of pain, things are definitely getting better.
Swallowing is still incredibly uncomfortable – it’s this that’s preventing me from eating. Last night, I managed an entire bowl of mashed potatoes/carrots with gravy. With everything else I’ve eaten, I’ve given up after a while, but I was starving and mashed potatoes with gravy is one of my favourite things in the whole world, so I persevered. I kept trying different ways to swallow and eventually discovered that if I moved the food as far back in my mouth as possible then swallowed with my mouth open I could get it down without moving my cheeks. Luckily Jan had text to say he’d be late and to go ahead and eat so nobody had to witness the disgustingness of me swallowing with my mouth open! Sadly, this trick doesn’t seem to be working today. Swallowing is no longer painful, but it’s very, very uncomfortable/weird. With every swallow, it feels like either the stitches on the right are being pulled out or the wound is being pulled open, which makes me terrified to eat at all. It’s bad enough that I keep having to swallow saliva! My colleague told me she had the same thing and it stopped after the stitches came out, so hopefully this part will be over by Friday (stitches come out on Thursday evening).
What I’m looking forward to
– Regaining the ability to chew
– Being able to swallow without panicking about reopening a wound
– A proper meal, with different food groups
– Being able to brush my teeth properly
– Biting into something… anything. I don’t care if it’s a sandwich or a bar of chocolate, I just wanted to take an actual bite out of something
– No more pain killers!
It is now lunch time, and I should really eat the cup a soup I brought to work with me, but having taken nearly two hours to drink a mango lassi I’m not sure I can bring myself to start on the soup yet. When I’m not trying to swallow, I actually feel almost normal now. If only I could insert food directly into my stomach…
The wisdom tooth pain was much better by yesterday afternoon, so I went to watch Jan’s choir perform. It was part of a festival that was taking place in Karlsruhe’s Weststadt (literally West Town – such creative naming!) and they were singing three times. The first, and best, performance was in a bar where I managed to drink a whole orange juice without wincing too much.
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The second performance was outdoors and the members of the choir couldn’t hear one another properly. They also sang some harder songs this time, and not all of them sounded as good as they could have. I don’t think the audience noticed though. After the performance, the choir members were offered food and drinks. There was bread with soft cheese on top (the same texture as cheese triangles, but actual cheese) so Jan give me a piece of his, which I was able to let melt in my mouth. The first time in four days that I’d eaten something other than soup or ice cream! It was delicious, let me tell you! Later, I had an ice cream and even managed to eat most of the cone (by nibbling off the bits that had been softened by ice cream then letting them dissolve in my mouth… yes, nibbling! I literally was a hamster!)
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Performance three was outdoors again, at a massage practice. The program consisted of a mixture of songs from the first two performances and was a mixture of good and not-so-good. Some people had never sung outdoors before, which explains a lot. The indoor performance at the start was definitely the best of the three… even non-musical me noticed that!
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By the time we got home, I was starting to feel pain again but nowhere near as bad as previously! It was annoying, but bearable. I still took a painkiller before tea though. Jan made me some Heinz Mulligatawny soup with a slice of bread in (minus the crusts) and I ate all the bread plus about two thirds of the soup. Last night, I slept all the way from 11 pm to 4:30 am – my longest sleep in about two weeks! I woke up in some pain at 4:30, but rinsing my mouth with cold water was enough to make it die down enough to get back to sleep.
*Warning: Squeamish people, skip to the next paragraph!* As yesterday went on, I found I was able to open my mouth more and more. The last few days I’ve been convinced I could feel the end of my stitches scraping on my tongue (at one point I was worrying that the stitches were coming loose!). Last night, I was able to open my mouth wide enough to actually see the stitches. The ends were indeed quite long, so they probably really are scratching my tongue! The stitches on the right are nice and neat – just one or two visible and neatly tied off. On the left, where I originally had toothache and where my tooth was almost sideways, the stitches look like a spide sitting inside my gum! No wonder the swelling on that side hasn’t completely gone down yet… The wounds looked pretty healthy though (as far as I can tell anyway, not being a dentist or anything…). they’re not red or diseased looking and there were no bits of food hanging around. No bleeding any more either, so obviously the feeling that my wound was coming open every time I swallowed was just paranoia…
This morning both the pain and the swelling were almost gone, so I decided to come to work. I took a painkiller just to get rid of the nagging pain, and so far I haven’t felt a thing. Swallowing is still uncomfortable and weird, but no longer horribly painful, and this morning I managed to eat a Milch-Schnitte.* I still can’t chew, but I was able to mush it up enough to swallow using my tongue and top front teeth. Tonight, I shall try some carrots and potatoes mashed together… if I can be bothered to peel, chop and mash them!
**Warning: If you have a problem with reading about blood and pain, now would be a good time to stop! You can come back another day when I write about less gory topics. Also, this is going to be a summary of 3.5 days, so it may get rather long. Now no saying I didn’t warn you!**
Day 1 (surgery day)
I got up bright and early to eat a bowl of Fruit & Nut Weetabix… who knew when I would feel like eating again? I wasn’t sure whether I would actually be able to finish the bowl, but at this point I wasn’t too nervous (surprisingly) and I actually managed to eat them all. I also drank two glasses of water – I was thirsty! Jan had taken the morning off so I wouldn’t have to come home from my appointment alone, so we set off together. The waiting room was much less full than it had been when I went for the consultation (probably because it was so early!) and my turn came fairly soon.
Jan came in with me for the initial “do you have any questions?” to make sure I understood everything, then left while they did the actual surgery. I had taken my earphones along so I could listen to music while the teeth were being removed, but I totally forgot to get my BlackBerry out of my bag. However, to be honest I don’t think I’d even have been able to hear the music over the sound of the implements. One tooth was almost completely sideways ad the other was slightly angled so this was not a case of simple pulling. There was cutting and loud, loud drilling. Not pleasant! It was over fairly quickly though.
Once the operation was done, the dentist shoved a piece of gauze on each wound and told me to bite down on them… except I couldn’t because my mouth was completely numb and I had no idea whether I was biting down or not! My bottom lip felt like it was huge and possibly made of rubber! Totally bizarre. I was given two cold gel packs and taken for an x-ray, then sent to wait for a bit while my prescription and things were prepared. After a few minutes, my name was called and I was given a sick note for two days (after that was the weekend), a prescription for Ibuprofen and a follow-up appointment so the surgeon could check the wounds. Then we were on our way. Even though I’d only had a local anaesthetic and no sedatives or anything, I felt kind of out of it (I guess not being able to feel half your face will do that?) so I was very glad Jan was with me. I also couldn’t talk at all… partly because my mouth was full of gauze, but also because I had no control over my numb tongue.
I had been told I could take the gauze out when I got home, so I did. It turned out I was still bleeding though (my top became a victim of the great wisdom tooth removal of 2012 when I drooled blood all over it without realizing), so Jan went to the chemist and bought me more gauze. I spent the next few hours biting down on that without the bleeding stopping then half an hour without any gauze to see if the bleeding would stop by itself. I then tried more gauze, leaving it in for about 2 hours then finally gave up and decided to let it bleed. The sheet I was given told me to contact the surgery if the bleeding didn’t stop or was very strong (which it wasn’t) but didn’t say at which point it would be considered “not stopping”, so I turned to Dr. Google, which seemed to think I should contact my dentist if I was still bleeding after 24 hours. Since I had my follow-up appointment the next day, I decidednot to worry too much. The bleeding seemed to have pretty much stopped by 10 p.m.
I was told not to eat or drink anything until the anaesthetic had worn off, but the sides of my mouth started to hurt a lot before the feeling was totally back in my lips, so I decided to ignore that and have a painkiller – which involved drinking water. Swallowing hurt!! Between that and the yukky taste of blood, I really didn’t feel like eating or drinking that day. I tried to take the occasionally mouthful of water (accompanied by cries of ow, ow, ow!) and basically spent the entire day wrapped in a blanket in front of the TV with either a cool gel pad or an ice pack wrapped in a t-shirt shoved on the side of my face. After Jan came home, I wanted to take another pain killer but decided I’d better at least try to get something in my stomach first. I sipped a smoothie and managed to drink the equivalent of about a mouthful… in 20 minutes! Then I took my painkiller. The instructions from the surgery said to resume oral hygiene as soon as possible, so before bed I tried to brush my teeth… very difficult considering I could barely open my mouth! I also wasn’t supposed to spit, so I had to kind of let stuff trickle out into the sink. Rinsing the extraction sites was off the cards for 24 hours too, so I made sure my rinsing water only hit the teeth. Not easy! Between my painkiller and an icepack, I was able to sleep for about half an hour, then Jan came in with two gel pads and a teatowel, which he proceeded to use to strap the gel pads to my face. I then fell alseep for 2 hours, until a mixture of pain and the teatowel falling off woke me at 5 a.m. I went and fetched a cold ice pack and after a while drifted off again.
If I hadn’t had my follow-up appointment, I probably wouldn’t have bothered getting dressed at all on Friday. But I did have the appointment, so I was up, showered and dressed bright and early (8 am appointment). By this stage, I looked like a hamster and it seemed something had started bleeding again overnight. Needless to say, I did not feel like eating! My appointment was at 8 and I was out of the surgery by 10 past! I told the doctor about the bleeding, and he said it was normally for some blood to seep through for the first few days. He then had a look in my mouth and said he could see it really was just seeping and not proper bleeding, so all was good. Also the wounds looked to be healing well. I was told to keep cooling, make an appointment for next Thursday to get the stitches out and sent on my way.
Back home I changed back into my pyjamas and went to lie down for a bit. I hadn’t picked up my prescription the day before because we had non-prescription Ibuprofen at home and had decided I should try with that first (Jan didn’t want even more medicines lying around), but now I decided I wanted the stronger one so I hopefully wouldn’t have to take pills as often (swallowing still hurt!). Once the chemist’s opened, Jan went and picked up my new painkillers for me then went to work. I managed to sleep for about half an hour then, during a roughly ten minute period where swallowing was merely uncomfortable, I ate two or three spoonfuls of icecream… my first food in over 4 hours! After the icecream, I took the advice of the Internet and my mother and did a warm salt water rinse. I wasn’t sure whether I was allowed to rinse properly yet, so I did it very gently, tilting my head to the sides to get water into the corners where it was needed. I’m still not sure how much salt water actually made it to the wounds, but I tried! Later, after lots more TV watching, I tried some more ice cream and when Jan came home he made pumpkin soup (from a packet). I had to request a teaspoon in place of the normal one he had given me and the wound on the left still killed with every swallow, but I managed half the bowl before given up. Shortly after, I went and brushed my teeth and went to bed – eating was exhausting!
I was woken up by pain at around 8, so I took a painkiller and pressed an ice pack to my face while I waited for it to work. Jan had an extra choir practice in preparation for today’s concert, so he went out fairly early, after bringing me a fresh ice pack and a glass of water. I didn’t manage to fall back to sleep, but stayed in bed for a while reading. Eventually I found the energy to go to the kitchen and fecth some ice cream – the one bright side of this whole ordeal is that nobody can judge me for having ice cream for breakfast! By now the bleeding had stopped completely and I was able to enjoy my food without the taste of blood. Well, as much as one can enjoy food while swallowing still hurts! Today, it was the wound on the right that hurt when I swallowed. I was also convinced that every swallow pulled the wound apart again, which made me even more terrified to try. But I discovered that by holding either a gel pad or flannel to that cheek, I was able to ease the pain somewhat. I watched two episodes of How I Met Your Mother then read some of my book. Jan came home at around 12 and made more soup. This time I maanged to finish the bowl! Woo hoo! The afternoon was spent watching TV, following the live text for the Newcastle match (we won!) and reading – all while holding cold things to my cheeks. At 6 the pain was bad again, so I took another Ibuprofen. Later, Jan made more soup, this time cream of tomato from a tin. He put a few small pieces of bread in it, and I managed to eat both them and half the soup before giving up and letting Jan have the rest. It was just too painful! When it came to brushing my teeth, I realised the swelling must have gone down because getting the toothbrush in was much easier! I also had a bright idea… on the sheet from the dentist, it said I could brush with a soft toothbrush or use a “Q-Tip” (they actually wrote that… in a German sentence?!) with disifectant to clean my teeth. So I decided to soak a cotton bud (“Q-Tip”) in mouth wash and use that to rub those teeth I could reach. The bud came back with dried blood on it, so it must have worked at least somewhat. It hadn’t been enough hours since my last Ibuprofen to take another strong one, so before bed Jan gave me one of the 400 mg (non-prescription) ones that I had bought from the chemist when I originally had toothache. I managed four hours of sleep in a row for the first time since this whole ordeal started (including the toothache days before the op)!
Day 4 – today
I woke up at 8 am in pain and ended up getting up at 8:30 because it would not go away! Tried a saltwater rinse, which helped a little, but at 9 I resorted to painkillers. The good news is that today I’m back to toothache levels of pain instead of the post-op, death by wisdom teeth pain. Swallowing still hutst on the left and I still feel like the wound is going to reopen, but I’m probably just being paranoid. Three spoonfuls is still the most I can manage before I think “I need to stop eating right now before the entire left-hand side of my face splits open!), but it’s better than nothing. I’m still swollen, but nowhere near as much and I can open my mouth wider than I could last night. So now my plan is to have a shower and actually get out of my PJs while the painkillers are still doing their job! Officially, I’m back at work tomorrow. We’ll see how today goes.
And if you’ve actually read this far, you deserve a reward! So here are some photos of me looking like a hamster(/squirrel/chipmunk… feel free to insert your favourite big-cheeked animal). Please excuse the quality of the pictures – they were taken with my BlackBerry!
Forgive me if most of today’s letters refer to the evil that is wisdom teeth. It’s kind of difficult to think of anything else when the pain is all you feel…
Dear wisdom teeth. According to every single source on the planet, you are supposed to come in between the ages of 14 and 24. This fact led me to believe I had escaped the horror… so why are you coming in now that I am thirty?!
Dear soup. Please forgive me if I go off you completely once this whole wisdom tooth saga is over. I imagine there’s going to be a lot of you in my future! (And my present come to think of it. It’s difficult to chew when your mouth won’t open fully!)
Dear sleep. I hope we get to meet again for more than two hours at a time soon!
Dear wine festival. I am still coming to visit you tomorrow! I don’t want to be stuck at home continuously until evil tooth is gone, and besides, if I can go to work I’m sure I can go to a wine festival!
I can’t think of any more (I told you I basically have a one-track mind right now!), so I’m going to stop now before I bore you all to tears 😉 Have a good weekend everyone!
Yesterday, I woke up with a slight dull ache in the bottom corner of my mouth. It didn’t feel like it was on a tooth, so I figured I had managed to bite the bottom of cheek somehow (I bite the inside of my mouth a lot!) and thought nothing of it, at least until yesterday evening when the pain got worse… and worse. It started getting really painful on the train, and by the time I got home I wanted to cry. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option, so I tried rinsing my mouth out with warm salt water (tastes disgusting but works amazingly well on mouth ulcers!). It felt slightly better while I was rinsing, but as soon as a spat out the water, the pain came back as bad as ever. Woe, woe, woe, etc. By now the pain was spread, and I was no longer certain whether it was actually the corner of my gum, or a tooth after all. So I called Jan and told him I wouldn’t be able to do any cooking because a) I had at least an hour of extra work to do if things were going to be finished in time and b) my mouth was in PAIN! Jan asked if I would want to eat at all if my mouth was sore, and I replied maybe some soup. Then he suggested driking some of the cold water he had put in the fridge to see if that would numb it a bit and volunteered to grab some tins of soup on the way home. Miraculously, the cold water did help a bit (if only for a few minutes at a time) and I was able to do my work without being distracted by pain too much. Shortly before Jan came home, I decided to take an Ibuprofen in the hope that it would kick in before bedtime and allow me to get to sleep…
The Ibuprofen started working shortly before we ate, and I was able to consume a bowl of soup and two slices of bread (bread soaked in soup for aaages so it wouldn’t require chewing), then I went to bed. I managed to sleep off and on, with some discomfort, until about 1 a.m. when I woke up in pain again. After tossing and turning for an hour, I went and took another Ibuprofen then lay awake for what seemed like forever waiting for it to kick in. It must have eventually though, because the next thing I knew my alarm was going off.
I had hoped to feel better this morning, but the pain was still there (although not as bad as the night before) and I also noticed I couldn’t open my mouth as wide as usual, so I heaved the greatest of sighs and decided I would have to go to the dentist. Not a good time for it because my colleague is ill and there are only two of us (hence the overtime last night), but there was nothing I could do. Nobody was at work yet, so I logged on and sent an e-mail saying I would work from home and go see a dentist as soon as I (hopefully) got an appointment. Knowing my utter terror of the phone, Jan called his dentist for me and got me an appointment for 10:15. He had to travel elsewhere for work today, so I had to go to the appointment alone…
Luckily, the dentist was nice and (the part I was more worried about than the dentist itself), I was able to explain what was wrong and understand what he told me. Apparantly, the wisdom tooth is coming through (so basically I’m teething at thirty!), and there isn’t really enough room for it plus it seems to be coming in at an angle… which is a bad thing. So he said he was going to give me a referral to a “Kieferchirurgen” (literally a “jaw surgeon!” – orthodontist, I presume…) so I could get my jaw x-rayed and figure out what to do next. He also said the fact that my mouth wouldn’t open properly was not right, but that could also be caused by the wisdom tooth. Later, when I got my referral, I saw that he had written on it that I need a consultation due to “restricted opening of mouth” (terrible attempt to translate from the German that, but I’m sure you know what I mean). He also gave me a recommendation for a Kiefer-thingy practice. So now I need to make an appointment with said jaw doctor… I actually tried calling a couple of times today, hetting myself all psyched up each time only for the phone to be engaged! SO eventually I decided to give the contact form on their website a go instead. So now, I wait… and take more Ibuprofen, I guess.
One thing is certain… I am going to this wine festival on Saturday even if I have to drink grape juice all day!
**Update: The “Kiefer” practice called me back! I have an appointment for consultation on Tuesday morning, first one available… to get one after work I would have had to wait til the week after next! The woman on the phone seemed nice, so hopefully it won’t be too bad**
I was in bed at 10:30 last night – early for me but still technically later than I would have to go to get a full 8 hours sleep! For once I managed to drift off quite quickly, at least once the room and warmed up a bit. Then at midnight I was woken up by a pain in my foot. At first all I knew was it hurt, but after a minute or so the pain died down enough to be able to localise it. It was at the top of my foot, towards the left hand side roughly where foot starts to become ankle. If I tried to move my toes or ankle, the pain shot down the side of my foot towards my toes. Shooting pains in my foot at midnight… lovely!
I decided to get up, to see what happened if I tried to stand. It hurt, but I was able to hobble into the living room (where Jan was still up, working) and wail “I’ve hurt my foooot”. He proceeded to press on various parts of it to find out which bits hurt and bend each of my toes in turn to find out which ones it hurt to bend – cue lots of ows from me! Then he took an empty (and cold) pint glass that was lying on the table and started rolling it on my foot. I don’t know whether it was the motion, the smooth surface or the cool temperature, but somehow the glass worked! I still felt a little twinge of pain when I stood up, but I was able to walk back to bed without limping. Curling my toes under still hurt a bit, but the obvious answer to that was to not curl them ;-). No longer in pain, I managed to go back to sleep (until Jan came to bed half an hour later and proceeded to wake me up about 7 times by grinding his teeth in his sleep!).
Today, my foot has been mostly fine, but I did notice it ached a bit when I walked up stairs (which I have to do constantly at work!). Still no idea what I actually did to it…
I must have slept funny last night or something, because all day today I’ve been unable to turn my neck to the left. Luckily, at work, the only thing that’s on that side of me is the door and I tend not to get that many visitors… unless someone needs help understanding an English text, but with three people away on holiday and one working from home there wasn’t really anyone around to need such help. I’m still not sure how I made it through the day though. I suppose I shouldn’t really be on the computer right now… it can’t be helping matters. But as the job I’m slightly behind qith the job I’m currently working on, meaning the time that’s required to finish it is actually longer than the time I have left before my holiday I need to put in some extra hours from home to make sure it gets done. So I’ll be working on that for about half an hour before retiring to my bed to moan feebly and try not to move at all. He doesn’t know it yet, but Jan will have to cook tea tonight!
Coincidentally, Katyboo has just returned to blogging after being forced to take some time out due to a sore neck. Could it be that ailments mentioned on blogs are contagious? Quick readers, back away and pretend you haven’t read this! I wouldn’t want you to be next…