We are still in Colorado enjoying time with family - but I'm interrupting the trip posts to share this.
You know how there are some dates you just never forget? This is one of them for me - and I'm just sorta in the mood to write about this and remember.
July 5, 1995
I had just returned from a mission trip to Prague, Czech Republic and was exactly one year out of high school. On the Fourth of July, I remember eating a hot dog for dinner - and the next morning I had a date with my oral surgeon.
It was a beautiful Colorado morning as we walked into Penrose Community Hospital. It was early and I remember humming as we walked across the parking lot. Have I ever mentioned that I hum?
Yes, I hum. Lots of times I don't know I'm doing it and it used to drive my sister crazy! And, it may have driven a few of my school teachers crazy too because I didn't realize I was humming and they were trying to keep things in order - well, you get the idea.
Anyway, I remember going in and getting ready for my anesthesia. I remember them telling me to count backwards. And, then I remember waking up in the operating room. I saw my favorite nurses: Tracy and Suzanne. Everybody was busy bustling around - I don't think they had started anything yet - but were just getting things ready.
I remember them asking me if a couple of oral surgery students could observe my surgery and I remember my wonderful doctor - Dr. Salvo. Oh, he was the best!
Next thing I know, I'm in recovery writing a note to the nurse to thank her for taking good care of me. I wasn't feeling too good from the anesthesia. Since I was 19 - they allowed me to choose if I wanted to go into Pediatrics for a room of my own which is what I opted to do. I'd otherwise have needed to share a room.
So, I had my own room and some beautiful flowers and a few visitors. I had a couple of very important things. A notepad and pen for writing things down - after my dual jaw surgery, my jaw as wired shut for the next ten weeks. Right at first, I was so swollen that talking was not possible or understandable. So, I wrote notes to people.
The second important thing was a pair of wire cutters.
I had to have a pair with me all the time just in case I needed to cut the wires, if something were life threatening or I was choking - I would have to do this.
I remember that I had my nails painted and someone commented on how pretty my hands looked. That made me feel so good because I know I did not look pretty in other ways.
I remember being really cold and pressing the nurse call button where she responded over the speaker asking me what I needed. I just remember sitting there quietly hoping she would figure out that I could not talk to her. Eventually, I pressed it again and someone came and brought me a blanket that felt like it had come out of the dryer - heaven!
That's pretty much all I remember about the hospital. When I got home, my Mom and I got to giggling and it hurt so much for me to laugh/smile as it pulled at my stitches. It makes me smile now to think of it though - I would try to squeeze my cheeks back in so they wouldn't stretch and pull.
We had a special "cookbook" with recipes of things I could eat through a straw. I use the term cookbook very loosely! My Mom did get very creative though! I usually had Carnation Instant Breakfast or some kind of fruit smoothie (very thin) for breakfast. And, lots and lots of milk shakes - I know, such a hard life!
I think the strangest thing we made (which tasted so good at the time) was a cheesy hotdog pureed in the blender with some of the cooking water. I know it sounds nasty - but when you can only have liquids you get creative! My Mom also made beef stroganoff with baby food meat and that was good too!
Pizza was what I was craving more than anything! Especially when we were on vacation that summer and took the blender with us all over the place!
Ten weeks later, I went to get the wires cut - I remember my doctor asking me to open my mouth as wide as I could and I felt like it was huge and I could barely fit two fingers in there. We had pizza for dinner that night! It was hard to eat, but wow did it taste good!
He showed me exercises to do to retrain my muscles in my jaw.
You know, looking back - I am so thankful that I had this surgery. I feel better. I feel better about myself and I have a very expensive smile to show for it! And, I love to share that smile with others.
My parents sacrificed for me to have this surgery. With our insurance not willing to cover it (even though it was medically necessary and not cosmetic), it was a huge expense. I don't even know how huge - but I am grateful for the sacrifice and God's provision.
Random story here - but wanted to remember these little things to share with my children some day.