Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ennui (updated)

I am not a patient person. I seem genetically wired to not be able to wait. This may perhaps be why I keep myself so busy, if there's no downtime, if there's always something to fill the time, then time passes more quickly, and you don't feel like you're waiting for anything.
I teach full time at a high school.
I teach two full classes online.
I adjunct at the local community college.
I write reviews steadily for two different journals.
I am a staff writer for
I have written papers for, and presented at, two conferences in the past year, and am gearing up for a third, this time a national.
I wrote a book chapter last week.

And yet ennui is the best definition of what I'm feeling these days.

Perhaps it's because my jaw surgery recovery is nothing but a waiting game. Wait to be able to eat. Wait to have feeling back. Wait for the pain to subside. Wait, wait, wait. Let me tell you what life is like in between all the waiting:
  • I can eat at meal times only, because I have four rubber bands that are super tiny (read tight), that I have to have on at all times. No snacking. No, gosh I'm still hungry. Nothing. Lunch and Dinner. That's it. I balance how much I want to eat over how big a pain in the ass it will be.
  • It takes me over an hour to eat practically nothing. And I'm hungry all the time. I don't stop eating because I'm full, I stop because my mouth hurts too bad to keep going. This time frame is also proving problematic at work, as I get under 30 minutes to eat.
  • I can't feel my face still, so I look like a four year old when eating. Which is fine if you don't mind sitting in a room by yourself to eat every meal for three months.
  • Because I can't feel my face much, and because of the rubber bands, I also talk like an idiot. And I'm a teacher. All I do all day (and most nights) is talk. To people of an age that snicker and make fun of people who talk funny.
  • And I can't eat much. I dream of the day when I can eat anything I like, any time I like. That day can't come soon enough.
Perhaps it's because I was sick all this past week, and I got fussed at at work for not working as hard as I should have.
  • And here's the problem with that- when you work three jobs, and get sick, it is impossible to call in sick to all of them. I called in sick to one and was able to shift another to this week/online. Emailed the boss of another and then got dinged on my review for not working.
  • I desperately wish I could call in sick and just be sick. Not worry about answering email, or texts, or phone calls. Just lay in bed, unable to move and be sick.
Perhaps it's because deadlines are starting to loom, and March could either bring great things, or the need to stab myself in the eye.

I'm tired. I'm tired of working so hard, and having to squeeze time in for things I like. I'm tired of so much of my time being sucked away by dumb shit. I'm tired of there being too little that I enjoy. I'm actually just physically tired.
I'm just tired.

Now all that being said, time does pass quickly when you're overscheduled and burning the candle at both ends. According to my calendar, we're on the downward slope of the school year (72 school days and counting). I'll blink and it will be Spring Break, and then I'll blink and it will be the end of the year.

I have much to be grateful for- this has been an amazing year. But when your life is full of so many hills and valleys, the darkness in the valleys makes it hard to keep climbing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The One Month Mark

Yesterday marked the one month mark for my jaw surgery.
 So, here's where I am:
  • Wearing rubber bands all the time, except when I eat
  • Doing stretching exercises to get the muscles in my mouth and face going again
  • The doctor cleared me last week to eat anything I could manage
  • Next week I go in to get my splint removed
  • Still swollen on left side
  • Still can't feel a lot of my face
I'm having a hard time this week, for a couple of reasons. The first three weeks, I saw improvement every day- swelling went down, bruising went away, I felt better, This week seems to not only be a plateau, but also frustrating. I can eat anything- if I can fit it in my mouth, which I can't open very wide. I can chew, but I still can't feel most of my face, so the inside of my cheek is taking a beating. Every time I close my mouth I feel like I have to shift my jaw so the teeth fit right. Straws still defeat me on a 50% basis, I still drool, and I am not fit for company when eating.

So, frustrating.

Food wise, I'm eating with a small teaspoon because 1) I don't worry about jabbing myself or my orthodontics with a fork tine, and 2) that seems to hold the amount (and height) of food I can open my mouth for. I'm also having to cut food up small, but did manage steak on my birthday last Sunday.  I do find that it still takes me longer to eat (which is problematic teaching high school where you get 20 minutes, and that has to include cleaning up afterwards), and my jaws get tired after not eating a lot. My jaw muscles were also really sore Week 3, the first week I went back to work but I think that's mainly because I'm a teacher, and I spend all day talking. I've managed with just taking ibuprofen, and that's been fine. It does seem that I'm grinding/gritting my teeth at night, which is causing some soreness at the gum of my lower teeth, but again, ibuprofen seems to handle that fine as well.
One positive is that during my liquid diet, I varied what I ate, so I haven't had any real problems transitioning to solid food again.

I need to remind myself that the doctor says I'm way ahead of the healing curve.
I need to remind myself that it will take time to adjust to my new bite. That I'm gaining feeling, albeit more slowly, and that the swelling can take up to three months to go away.
I need to focus on the long term fabulousness this will all lead to. And remember how cool it was to actually be able to bite into a piece of pizza the other day (which I've never been able to do straight on).

I'm hoping next week, when I get the splint removed, and then go to the orthodontist, I will have more to be positive about. No splint should mean that my speech returns to normal. I'm also hoping that my orthodontist can tell me what we're looking at time wise. Originally, he had said the plan was to get the teeth as close as he could, have the surgery, and then move the teeth the last bit. I'm hoping this means that I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for getting my braces off. Looking at my bite, it doesn't look like a lot left to do, but what the hell do I know?

So, here's to focusing on the positive, and waiting to see what news next week brings.