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Jaw Surgery

Josephine, Marriotts Ridge HS, Class of 2020

A surgery is a very scary experience. Especially when you are unable to communicate pain, discomfort, or needs. The power of a loving family sure helps navigate the windy road to recovery.

I wake up. I cannot open my eyes. They feel like they are taped shut. I try to say something but am stopped by an indescribable pain in my mouth. I’m so confused. My face hurts but yet, it is numb at the same time, my nose is stuffy, I can’t tell how I am breathing I just know that it is getting harder. Finally, I am able to push open my eyes for a second. I vaguely see a nurse standing in a corner before I have to close my eyes again because they burn. I remember that I just had my surgery and I calm down a little bit. I wave in and out of sleep for a while, I’m not sure how long though.

After I had been able to keep my eyes open for about two minutes straight, a nurse asks me if she would like a parent to come in. I try to nod yes but it hurts too much to move and I know speaking would be worse. I guess she takes my silence as a yes and about a minute later, my dad comes in. He giggles a little bit as he walks in. I don’t blame him. My face feels like the size of a watermelon and it probably is. I just stare at him because I can’t do anything else. I’m almost completely awake and every discomfort is yelling for my attention. How cold I was, how the rubber band the doctors put in my hair to hold it back feels like it’s stabbing my head, how the foggy gas that I know is oxygen coming from the gas mask is getting into my eyes, how I want to shift up in my bed because it feels like my neck is cutting off its own pathway for air.

I try to move my arms to represent me writing something, hoping they will understand that I want to say something.

The nurses look at my dad confused but he just smiles and says she wants some paper to write with. One of the nurses nods and goes to get some paper and comes back a short while later.

I try to look down at the paper they put in my lap but the pain in my jaw stops me. I pray they will be able to understand what I’m writing because I’m very rapidly getting to the point where I can no longer withstand the discomfort.

I feel like I can’t breath. I write that three times on the paper. They keep on telling me that I am breathing just fine but it feels like everything is closing in on me.

I am now squirming in my bed trying to get some sense of relief from the pain. I’m not squirming around too much to cause trouble but I stop almost immediately after I start because of the pain in my jaw. It felt like it was being pulled apart into three separate pieces. I start to cry, the salty tears reaching to some of my stitches on the outside of my face causing them to sting. Another thing to add on to my growing list of things bothering me. My dad, I don’t know how, somehow manages to calm me down while the nurses up the pain medication dosages by a lot. I fall back asleep, the medication making me incredibly drowsy.

The next time I wake up I’m in a different room. My mom, dad, and older sister are there, waiting for me to wake up. For a few seconds, I forget about the pain I’m in, I’m just so happy that I know I will have support while I’m recovering. I recognize how lucky I am to have such a loving family who will do anything to make sure I’m okay. I feel safe.

Video follow-up to her experience

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