It doesn’t matter if you have it broken by someone else, or accidentally break it yourself.
It is not a pleasant experience.
For many reasons.
First, There is the physical pain you must endure.
Then, you have to try to explain it to people with a jaw that’s been wired shut. which is a drag.
An early explanation from you might go something like this.
“What Happened?” To which you respond with “MUGLINGMUMP JAWMNFRIMOP” or some such nonsense.
Most people will politely nod at you and say, “Un-huh? you don’t say?” or “geez that’s a bummer man.”
Everyone is going to want to know “What Happened?” you’re not going to be able to easily communicate what did happen. so get yourself a pad of paper and a pen. you will be writing a lot of notes in the first couple of weeks.
Unfortunately early on you can also expect the occasional wisenheimer to verbally punch you in the gut with, “What’s the other guy look like?” to which you won’t initially be able to respond. unless you write it down.
I’ve found it’s easier to tell it to people later, than to write it out. it feels too much like a confession that you might get locked up for. even though, you did it to yourself. which in the end is the important thing to remember. it’s not so much how it happened. the hard truth is, it happened is all. you have to ride it out best you can. so just tell the truth, it’s easier than trying to make up some BS. if you start to give out multiple stories to try and….wait for it….”save face.” nobody who knows you will buy your phony baloney anyhow. people can tell if you’re lying.
Because with a broken jaw? they’ll see it in the pain in your eyes. it can be a little exhausting. the people you know will give various looks from the “I am so sorry.” to “Are you OK?” this usually comes from your wife and family. then there are friends and co-workers who give you the “What a dumb ass” look.
You won’t need to be a mind reader. looks in this case are not deceiving.
One other thing before I forget, you can speak through a wired jaw. You’ll learn a new skill. that of a amateur ventriloquist. I got pretty good at it. now I have something to fall back on if I need it. all I need is a dummy. and I will be good to go.
So, where was I? oh right. the pain. before you are diagnosed, you must go through x-rays. possibly a CT scan at the hospital to make sure you didn’t crack your skull open. then you get to go back to the doctors. To schedule an operation! oh yes, you do. not to mention you have to get your head clear. cause trust me on this. your head feels a little like someone rolled it down a hill in a garbage can. at the bottom of that hill is a big rock or tree you slam into. there may also maybe a loud ringing or a buzzing sound that will accompany you for a few weeks afterwards. perhaps your wife will get the benefit of hearing you yell out from time to time “Mill Hum-Un Manswer Hat Framn Frone!” don’t sweat it. it will hopefully, go away quickly.
The other important thing to remember is this. select a good doctor. not some hack. you want them to do a good job fixing you up. should your insurance not cover it because the doctor you selected is out of your insurance network of coverage? worry about it later. we are talking about your health after all. this is not the time to shop around for some back alley oral surgeon who operates out of a paneled van.
Get a good recommendation like I did from your dentist. most likely, you’ll end up at the dentist first. especially if you are also missing some teeth to add to the fun. he’s not going to touch you anyway. they’re going to take one look at you all busted up missing your teeth with a swollen jaw and tell you. I think you need to see an oral surgeon. you’ll appreciate this later. at the time you may be thinking, “Are you sure? Maybe it’s just a bad bruise?” and…or “My teeth will eventually grow back right?”
Once you have your surgery. your jaw is really wired shut. it’s not going to be open for 6 weeks. so settle in. in the early recovery period once you get home, they will give you a syringe and some liquid pain medicine to take orally. take it when you need it, when you feel better, get off that stuff.
Now prepare yourself for a little taste of claustrophobia. having your jaw wired shut does that. don’t panic. get a couple of good books, schedule a film festival of dvd or cable movies. try to relax. this is the time you go into your shell. you won’t want to be spending time with anyone right now, cause let’s face it. you won’t be carrying on any conversations for a while. it’s all writing notes on paper with a pen. or texting someone who’s already in the room with you. it helps to have an understanding compassionate wife/husband, boyfriend/girlfriend or family member around for a few days after surgery. to bring you stuff. cause you will soon become one with the couch.
The other shock to your system is you can no longer eat solid food. and even though you can’t eat? you will still need a source of protein to help facilitate the healing. I suggest you stock up on Ensure. it worked wonders for me. soon you can add puree soups.
The upside to all this mess, if there is one? expect to drop some weight. you fellas out there? you might want to grow a beard. especially if you have any cuts on the chin that took stitches like I did. you will, I promise…lose some pounds. I went down pretty quick to the last notch on my belt. all my clothes began to fit better. who needs exercise! very important note, try and focus, meditate. I would suggest you slow things down. what things? everything. rest, then rest some more. your body needs it to heal.
If you are gainfully employed? You will miss some work most likely. don’t forget to breathe, you will be back at it soon enough. I missed about two weeks of work. Sorry? but the first few nights of sleep will really suck, take the pain med’s. it will help those early nights. as I said earlier? get off that stuff as soon as possible. you will have plenty of time to think about your life, and what you want to do when you get better.
Yes! You Will Get Better. The human body is an amazing thing, it has an incredible ability to heal itself.
You just have to be patient.
If you become cranky? apologize for being a jerk. the person trying to help you didn’t put you in this situation. most likely anyway. unless you took a frying pan across the face. or were in a nasty accident that you didn’t cause.
If you were responsible for your predicament? say you’re sorry as much as you need to the person trying to assist you in your journey back to good health. keep apologizing, try to be nice. You can do this. it sucks being hurt. Remember, You Will Get Better. This should be your mantra. keeping your mind right is key.
You will absolutely feel cooped up. from time to time. if it’s possible? get outside, breathe fresh air. if you are like me? possibly, you won’t want your neighbors to see you. I did a masterful job hiding out inside. occasionally sticking my head outside. only when no one was around. we had a lot of people in the neighborhood ask if I had been out-of-town? I laid low during my 6 weeks. ghosting the neighbors is ok.
Slowly you’ll get back to feeling a little better. the doctor will give you a date to focus on. that day will be the day they cut the wires and you will be able to open your mouth again. a big day, let me tell you. but don’t get too far out over those skis yet. your jaw will be sore. you won’t be able to open very wide in the beginning. those dreams of solid food will have to wait. you’ll go from a liquid diet to a soft diet. which is scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes and ice cream, milk shakes and yogurt. but forget pizza and steaks and chicken and fresh fruit for now. it’s not going happen. that’s more likely when you hit 2 months out.
A couple of weeks after the wires get cut, they will remove the braces or arch bars that kept your teeth and jaws from moving around. they keep them on for the extra two weeks just in case something goes wrong or you need a little more healing time. if they take them off too soon? then you have to do the whole procedure (surgery) again where they put you under to put the arch bars and wires back on. and you don’t want that. you will be a little sore after the arch bars come out. they numb you up with Novocaine when they remove them, they won’t put you under for that. but they might give you nitrous oxide? Yeah Baby! roll with it. your gums and teeth will hurt that first day. at this point you should be in a groove. now you can start looking forward to solid food, maybe getting your busted up teeth fixed. hopefully it’s only one or two. multiple root canals would be a bummer man. I’m looking at least two, maybe more?
Going forward? no one needs to tell me to be more careful. this is a trip you just won’t forget.
Are there worse things you can do to yourself? Absolutely. and really? stop for a minute, think about it?
I can think of at least a dozen of my friends who have fallen, knocked out teeth, split open heads, taken stitches, broken bones, cut open various hands, legs and other body parts. this stuff happens. it happens to us all. maybe? maybe not you? maybe not yet? but it could. I hope it doesn’t. though if it does? I hope it’s not a broken jaw, because I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. I speak from experience. if it does? give me a call, if I hear “MUGLINGMUMP JAWMNFRIMOP?” hang up the phone. send me an e-mail or text. you can message through my site if you’d like. maybe I can help you get through it? at the very least I can suggest things to get you through. perhaps bring you some Ensure or some Soup. you might feel better having the help of someone who’s been through it.
Remember, You will get better.
One last thing. If you do break your jaw? go out and buy a good blender. You’re gonna need it.