How to survive a gum graft and frenectomy

download.jpegWhile I was recovering from my second (gulp, yes!) gum graft and frenectomy, I did a ton of googling and didn’t find a lot of reporting from patients on what to expect. Most of the things I found online were from periodontist offices, which is helpful, but I thought I’d share some of my survival tips for future oral surgery patients.

A little background first: I had a gum graft and frenectomy about a year and a half ago. When I went to visit my dentist for my first teeth cleaning post-oral surgery, he told me that the doctor didn’t do it well and I would need it to be repeated. Sigh. Not what you want to hear after 3 months of recovery! It took me another year to schedule the re-do because I had started a new job, but this past January 4, 2017, I went under the knife again.

It’s been about 2 weeks and I’m healing very well. I went for my follow-up today and I’m on the road to recovery!  Here are my main learnings from this second experience.

  1. You’re going to miss more work than you think.  Even though this is a routine procedure, it is still surgery! Give yourself about a week at home to recover, especially if you’re taking heavy pain killers like I was. I took almost all of the Oxycodone that I was prescribed because the first few days were tough. As a result, I was in no shape to work or do much of anything. My doctor gave me a note for work and it stated that it could take up to 10 days for you to be back to work. Take the time – you may need it!
  2. Stock up on shakes! For about a week, I couldn’t chew on anything. Period. I survived on Odwalla Chocolate Protein Shakes. They are very caloric, but you’ll need them to keep up your strength. Odwalla shakes are dairy and soy, so keep that in mind if you have any allergies. And, now that the dressing has been removed from my gum graft area, I’m sticking to soft foods and shakes for another few days.
  3. Mozzarella is the perfect post-surgical soft food! Enough said.
  4. Use the mouthwash. It’s going to be painful to brush so use the prescription mouthwash twice a day. It will save you from horrible breath!
  5. Stock up on Advil and Tylenol: You’ll want to switch between the two. One for pain, one for swelling.
  6. Re-freeze those instant ice packs: Get a few of those “break and turn cold immediately” ice packs for the day of surgery. Then, pop them back into the freezer to reuse all week. Life savor, and fairly cheap.
  7. Do not talk: Trust me, I talk more than anyone else I know. You’ll recover faster if you shut up.
  8. It will hurt, but it gets better each day: It’s surgery in your mouth – it is going to hurt! But fortunately, the mouth heals fast so I promise it gets better.
  9. No crunchy food: It will get stuck in your stitches and hurt very badly. Take it from someone who learned the hard way. Stick with soft foods for a long time!
  10. Grilled or roast chicken cut up into tiny pieces will become your bestie: Best solid food besides the mozzarella. Get a roasted chicken at Costco and cut it up into small pieces. I’ve been eating it plain, and tonight I make it with brown rice and melted cheese. All soft, tasty, and filling.

Good luck with your gum graft and/or frenectomy from one oral surgery survivor to another!

 

 

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Cocooning

cocooning-12.pngHave you ever heard of or used the term “cocooning?” Urban dictionary describes it as “retreating to the seclusion of your home (as for privacy or escape).”

I had no idea, but apparently I am a classic “cocooner.” I knew I like to hang out along at home, but I didn’t know it had a name. Apparently the term was coined in 1981 by marketing forecaster Faith Popcorn. Coincidentally, when I cocoon, I often consume popcorn, but I digress.

So, how exactly do I cocoon? Well, first of all, you know that feeling of joy when you finally land into bed at the end of a long day? Yes, you get it. Once I hop into bed, I’m cocooning. I will often bury myself under the covers with my iPad or laptop or a good book, often with my head also under the covers. You know, like we did when we were kids long after our lights were supposed to out and we were supposed to be sound asleep. I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing this since I was a kid – back then, I used an “itty bitty book light” to nest under the covers. (The link from Amazon is a much fancier one than I had!).

This past weekend I was staying in a hotel and feeling pretty down – residual stuff from a few weeks ago (see last few posts). I didn’t even mean to, but I began cocooning! I woke up in the middle of the night, nestled under the covers, with the hood of my hoodie pj shirt tucked around my head! Made me laugh!

Faith Popcorn is now exploring cocooning and millennials, as written in this online article. Faith describes cocooning as:

It’s about hiding out at home rather than going out, and it’s about maximizing your comfort when you are home and bringing parts of the culture inside. Think about “binge watching”—this is Cocooning in action. Rather than going out to the movies, we sit at home and endlessly stream an entire series all weekend long.

I imagine a lot of us cocoon nowadays – maybe not with your head buried under a hoodie like me – but certainly with binge watching House of Cards or the latest Netflix show. We curl up on the couch and settle in for a few hours of escape.

I enjoy cocooning. It gives me a sense of comfort that I likely used to get when I would emotionally eat during my 15-year battle with binge eating disorder. I’m glad I’ve found a benign way to find the same joy and escapism I found when overeating, but with little consequence other than a wasted afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Cravings Be Gone!

sugarFor 41 years now I’ve been a sugar addict. I love my carbs, I love my sugar. It can be in the form of fruit, bread, chocolate, cupcakes, ice pops. You name it. Delish.

Recently, I started taking a medication that helps curb my sugar cravings. It’s unreal. Today, I took one bite of this delicious chocolate cake at work, and thought my mouth was going to explode from the sugar intake. Like, explode in a bad way. I pushed it away.

Unreal, right? It’s fabulous. Fabulous, I tell you.

A Yellow-ish Brown IPhone Screen

Thank you Apple for adding a screen filter in the latest iOS update.  I firmly believe  that looking at the bluish tint of my phone screen or iPad late at night  affected my sleep. I spent the last several weeks, prior to the update, looking for an app that could change the screen to a “yellow-ish” tint, unbeknownst to me that this upgrade was coming.  

Listen, this new blog is all about mindfulness and enjoying the small things that make our life better. The screen that doesn’t keep me up at night is something to be praised. Hallelujah!

Pillow

images.jpegEver splurged on something that ended up changing your life?  Me too.

A while back I was wandering around the mall and ended up being suckered into purchasing a ridiculously expensive pillow from the Tempur-Pedic store.  This full-priced luxurious specimen of a pillow was so fancy that it came in a zippered plastic case with a handle.   I didn’t walk out of the mall that day.  Rather, I glided, giddy at the potential of my solid night’s sleep.

You see, before I bought this fancy pillow, I was buying pillows on clearance at Target and Marshalls, disappointed with them a few weeks after purchasing them.  My night’s sleep was not transformed like the advertisements promised.

Those inferior pillows had nothing on the Tempur-Pedic.

It was worth every penny. Seriously.  Now I admit that you’re supposed to change your pillow more often, but I basically held onto that Tempur-Pedic until every last bit of puffy joy was slept out of it.

Now it’s practically a pancake pillow and my neck is starting to get sore from using it.

What was I going to do?  I couldn’t go back to Target.  I just couldn’t.

I walked by the mall recently and peaked my head into the Tempur-Pedic store, but I didn’t dare let myself go in.

“No!” I told myself.  “Too expensive!”

And then I got home and began to google.  And low-and-behold, my pillow was discontinued and now available as a closeout on Groupon Goods.

5 minutes ago, I pressed click and purchased a brand new, 50% cheaper Tempur-Pedic.

Already counting down the days until it arrives.