Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Prostodontist: new sort of dinosaur, or dude with his hands in my mouth?

Let me tell you, Peeps: If this little journal of schmancery adventures helps even one person, it'll be... ... ...exactly the same pain in the ass it is now, but it will have helped one person. I guess.

So: today I saw the DDS who will be making the prosthetic for my mouth. Or, rather, prosthetics, as there will be three: one for the immediate post-surgery period, one that I can wear about a month after that, and a third to be worn....at some point in the future, and forever (or as long as I want).

I asked; they do not come in different colors. Also, I won't be taking it out much. So sad: no rainbow-stripey palate with a unicorn shitting a rainbow on it.

Anyway: the widget will be a hard plastic thing that goes across the part of my hard palate that's missing. That's to start: it'll still be possible for me to snort stuff out my nose in the beginning, since they can't put anything over the soft palate tissue until it heals. Therefore, I'll have to have speech therapy to teach me to swallow safely and to speak intelligibly again.

Yeah. That took me aback a bit.

In addition, I'll have to do some very high-tech exercises starting immediately after surgery, whereby I shove as many stacked-up tongue depressors as I can into my mouth. Since the surgeons will be cutting my jaw hinge muscles, this'll keep the healing muscle from stiffening up. I found out--and you may make what you will of this--that I have a record-settingly large mouth opening: 55 millimeters. The average is ten millimeters smaller. I can put 32 stacked-up tongue depressors into my mouth at once.

Bask in awe. I'll give you a minute.

The second and third palatal obdurators will have what's called a "speech bulb" on them. This will apparently help me deal with the loss of a chunk of hard palate, but it's going to take some time to sculpt them properly so I don't sound like something out of a cartoon. That's fine; it's down the road a bit. I just won't answer the phone 'til then.

Tomorrow I'll work again, huzzah! You know it's getting tiresome when twelve hours with the differently-brained looks like a vacation.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I'm in love. :)

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Congrats on winning the book from the other blog (whose name has flown my brain for sunnier shores !). Your journey with Cap'n Lumpy gets more complicated every stinking day; know I think of you often and hope you can feel the long-distance love (safer that way-no infection swapping in your debilitatatated state). Hug.

Anonymous said...

OK, so how many of us just opened our own mouths as wide as we could, and wondered how many millimeters *we* can "open wide?" Cool! Can't wait to go home and check...

Celeste said...

I will just say, this sounds scary as hell. I can't wait until it's behind you. I mean that.

And thank all that there is that you have a blog and fast fingers so you can communicate all you want until you get your speech back. Imagine trying to vent on chalkboard!

Enjoy the normal days to come.

Earl said...

32? Now, that's impressive!

Piece of cake from here on.

Lots of good wishes to you.

clairesmum said...

So it has been confirmed that you have a big mouth - most of us never get medical confirmation! And somehow the visual about snorting stuff out your nose - do you know how many guys (of ALL ages) will think that is awesome??!! alas, however, those may not be guys you'd actually want to share the information with!
seriously, thanks for sharing the journey - not one i ever hope to make, but you never know - and as a nurse, your story might help me better understand a patient in the future.
continuing to think good thoughts.

me said...

You can always post that 55 mil. stat on your Facebook page ~ I'm SURE you'd get lots of hits that way!!!

messymimi said...

Back before we knew it was dangerous, my kids played the marshmallow game -- see how many you can stuff in. Bigger Girl's age group, they all got in two. She got 4. Know that you would probably win that game.

birdergirl said...

Is 32 tongue depressors a Guiness record??

Penny said...

I would bask in awe if you ever dated a guy...

Never mind.

Don't answer that.

Luis said...

Mmmmh. I was worried that this would be a pretty invasive procedure. I think you'll just have to smack people expressively until you can enunciate again.

Lurkette said...

Erm... sounds scarey and unpleasant.

It might be time for my second-favorite coping mechanism. I learned it from a psych patient I was evaluating.
- What would you do if you were in a crowded theater and you saw a fire?
- Wellllll... I'd try not to think about it very much.

Hugs, light, and all sorts of good stuff from Jerusalem.

Cartoon Characters said...

ok. You win. I only get 31. Don't ask me how I know. And no, I didn't try it at work, or just now. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Do do do do the mouth stretching - radiation will also tend to stiffen up the jaw. Start now...yes, that is right - BIG YAWN.

Anonymous said...

Gneh. Sounds hurty and scary.

Crazed Nitwit said...

32 tongue depressors? Is that all? You can do better, I know it!!

Actually that sounds like a bundle of work and probably not your best news day. HUGS

KathyR said...

Stacked tongue depressors? Seriously? Someone hasn't come up with an expensive, prescription-only, seven-syllable-named, barely-covered-by-insurance device for this?

Thirddegreenurse said...

Damn. I can never find that box of tongue depressors when I need them.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little disappointed by the lack of color variations available-just saying i don't think it'd kill them to make magenta or pastels :) I'm on my first year working for my BSN and came across your blog a few months back. This is sunshine after some hellishly frustrating days-esp. the days I have to force myself to remember why I'm doing this to myself lol. I know you've probably heard all of the get wells, the feel betters and god blesses you can handle..but you've got a hell of a spirit about you and I hope that for all you have to go through to beat this bullshit you come out on top-however defiant and glorious it may be :) I not the praying type (or terribly religious for that matter) but for what it's worth I'll be keeping you in my thoughts. Hugs and more hugs to you.

Cr0w$c@lling said...

3 fingers stacked! Don't know what that is is mm though