As I mentioned in my last post, I had jaw surgery two and a half weeks ago. No, I don’t really want to talk about it, since thinking about what my surgeon was doing while I was out still makes me queasy (if you’re absolutely dying to know, you can look up orthognathic surgery on Wikipedia and learn all the gory details. There, I just taught you a new word). Nor did I take pictures of myself after the surgery, when I looked like a cross between a gigantic chipmunk and a basset hound. Because some things are just better left to the imagination.
The recovery period has been . . . as good as can be expected. Yes, I did end up almost fainting at my post-op check-up five days after the surgery. Turns out that staying properly hydrated when your mouth is banded shut, swallowing hurts your throat, and you’re vaguely nauseated and can barely wake up because of the narcotics is not as easy as it sounds. A couple of I.V. bags later (and an informal prescription for a milkshake on the way home), and I was feeling better.
Life has pretty much returned to normal by now. Except that I have a plastic bite plate wired into my mouth for the next month, which gives me a charming little temporary speech impediment. And I’m on a liquid diet. So in case you’re ever in a situation where you’re consigned to a six-week liquid diet, let me give you a few tips:
- Pretty much any food item can be blended up if you add enough liquid. This does not mean that every food item will remain palatable once it is sodden and diluted. For example, a hamburger and onion rings. Just don’t try it.
- Your food will taste better if you blend it up with an appropriate liquid. For example, ribs with braised carrots and cabbage blended up very nicely with beef broth. Similarly, I used chicken broth for chicken shish kebabs, and it was delicious. However, fruit is nice blended up with milk, and my normal smoothies with juice work nicely too. Some things, like melon or soups, don’t need any added liquid at all, so they are most likely to remain similar in taste to the original food.
- The magic bullet! (or cheap Walmart knock-off.) Trying to make single serving meals in a normal blender would be a pain. With a Magic Bullet-style blender, it all goes straight into the cup you’ll drink from, and you can easily blend up small amounts. And you don’t have to wash your big blender after every meal.
- A high-quality protein powder/meal substitute shake is a good idea. It’s hard to get enough calories in a day when you have to blend everything up, and you can’t just grab a normal snack out of the fridge. Several people recommended Ensure, but two of the main ingredients are sugar and soy oil, so I figured I could find something better. I settled on True Vitality Plant Protein Shake with DHA and 8 Billion Probiotic Cells, because I was happy with the ingredients and it wasn’t outrageously expensive (well, comparatively speaking, at least). I got the vanilla flavor, and it tastes . . . bearable, especially if I mix it with milk, banana and peach. I also put in my normal daily dose of pollen, but I skip the flax seeds because:
- Beware of seeds, at least if you’re dealing in fixed orthodontic appliances. I made the mistake of whipping myself up a blackberry milkshake during my first week home. Not only did the tiny seeds clog up my syringe-with-flexible-long-tip (sort of the adult version of a bottle), but they got stuck in my bite plate and braces. I’ve since graduated to drinking from a cup, thank goodness, but I still avoid berries for now.
- Your juicer is your friend, since raw vegetables don’t really turn out that satisfactorily in the blender. However, juicing all the ingredients on the back of the V8 bottle will not result in anything remotely resembling V8. Ask me how I know.
- If you have stitches somewhere in your mouth, do not add pepper to your food! Even if you normally like spicy food, now is not the time, since eating spicy stuff right now is basically like rubbing tabasco sauce in a wound. I also appear to have had a flare-up of my long dormant avocado allergy, due to eating avocado a few days after my surgery while everything was still a little raw in my mouth. Sad times.
Via the above, and some trial and error, I’ve managed to eat what I think is a fairly balanced diet in liquid form. Although sometimes I think I should just make it easy for myself and eat sugar glider food. I have lost a few pounds, I think, since my clothes are feeling mighty loose these days. I know some people consider that a great side effect of orthognathic surgery, but I’m with Frodo: “I hope the thinning process does not go on indefinitely, or I shall become a wraith.”