30 December 2008

(no longer) Broken Jaw Series

I felt as though I should give the below post its own space. To update on the chronicles of my broken jaw:

I had the wires that kept me closed cut on 12/19. I could open my mouth about ½ of an inch. That night, I managed to get a few small pieces of White pizza in, and some Italian wedding soup after I gave up on the pizza. It hurt to chew, and my mouth forgot the process. I couldn’t get my tongue to move the food around properly, and I didn’t have the strength to chomp down. So, really, it was like having my mouth wired shut still, only I had a slightly bigger opening to swallow food, and didn’t have to shove small pieces through a pulled tooth. I had a few pieces of a filet on Sunday.. which was far too ambitious. I had a cheeseburger on Tuesday, which was delicious.

I went to the oral surgeon today. He looked at my mouth and said “lets get all that junk out of there”. So, I have an appointment scheduled for January 9th to have the remaining wires that are wrapped around my teeth taken off, and to determine the fate of my teeth/get me set up with a cosmetic dentist.


Rest in Peace...

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. What does, makes others realize how strong they can be.

I’ve had quite an absence on my blog lately. To be honest, I haven’t really had much to say. Shock would be the best emotion to describe. Its been a hard few weeks.

On Tuesday, December 9th, my dad fell off the back of the semi while making a delivery (he was a truck driver for Conway Freight), or at least that’s what we think happened – the whole thing is still going through attorneys since it’s workmen’s comp. He must have had a box of lights or something in his hands (he was delivering to Whitmers Lighting in Akron) because he didn’t brace his fall at all, and hit directly onto the back of his head. He wasn’t on a loading dock, so it was a good 10+ foot fall. He immediately was unconscious, though regained slight consciousness in the ER and was very combative, so they sedated and intubated him while they got a cat scan and stitched up his head. He never opened his eyes, but his blood pressure showed he would respond to pain. Wednesday morning around 2-3am, he stopped being responsive and his pupils dilated out. He’d still cough on occasion with the tubes in his throat, but that stopped around 4pm. The neurosurgeon put a “bolt” into his head, which reads the inner-cranial pressure, around 5pm… told us “he’s in very serious condition.. he has a few hours, maybe a day to live” and walked out. Excellent bedside manners. Normal cranial pressure is 8-10… dads was 130 (mental retardation sets in around 45-50). We decided against pulling the life support on Wednesday since we were all drained. After talking that night, we realized we hadn’t even seen the cat scans or anything, so we had another cat scan ordered (so we could compare days 1-3), and the EEG for brain activity. There wasn’t any brain activity, and the cat scans were a mess. His skull was split all the way from his eyebrow to the back of the head, and the central divide between the halves of the brain were more in an S shape instead of a straight line from all the swelling. There was heavy bleeding in the front too. They did the final apnea test at 1:30 on Thursday (pull the machine to see if he could breath on his own), and he failed that, so it was official. Talk about sudden. We had calling hours on Monday night, and a full military funeral on Tuesday (dad was a Vietnam vet – marines.), and had him buried at Western Reserve National Cemetery, since its one of a few military cemeteries in the country that allows non-military spouses.

I’m sad my dad unknowingly canceled the plans we had for the weekend following his accident. He was going to come out to DC, go to my tri team’s holiday brunch, help me move, take me to get my wires cut off.. I wanted it to be a great weekend. I wanted to spend time with my dad since I don’t often have a chance for it to just be him and I. I guess I’m the most upset that he unknowingly canceled plans of the rest of our lives. He was supposed be at the finish line at Lake Placid to give me a huge hug. He was supposed to walk my sister down the aisle 2 weeks after LP, after celebrating his 60th birthday. He was supposed to go to work following these events, and tell every person he came in contact with about how proud he was of his children, just like he always did. He was supposed to be around for so much more.

It was incredibly moving to see the number of lives my dad had touched. He was an amazing person, and it showed by the number of people we had never even known, be brought to tears over my dad’s death. He was a simple, hardworking man that liked to see people smile.

Miss you daddy.

07 December 2008

And the countdown continues!

Only 1 more week until the wires come off... woohoo! I did have a sad realization however. I'm most likely not going to be eating solid food until almost FEBRUARY. Why, you might ask? Well, I'll have rubberbands on the wires for a minimum of 3 weeks. During this time, the main focus is to teach my jaw how to open again. I've talked to 2 people who have had their jaws wired shut, and both said not to expect to open more than a finger's width for the first 2 weeks, and it took them close to a month and a half to have a semi-normal range of motion. That 6 weeks put me around the end of January. Unfortunately, however, I'm going to have to have some crazy dental work done once the rubberbands come off. Come Mid-January, I'll have to have another round of surgery to get the posts in place, a few root canals, crowns, etc etc. Soo, take another week of healing after that, and you've hit February.

This brings me to a new question. I scrapped my Marathon entry for a Half Marathon Entry at the Myrtle Beach weekend. Can I successfully run a half marathon on 1 month of training plus a 2 week taper (not allowed to run until after Monday)? I had a few 10 mile runs prior to the accident, but the last Half I did was in September. Never done a marathon. And I haven't trained for a month, with the exception of 2 swims. Hmm.

Other changes included to my list of events include scrapping the Jingle all the Way 10K, and the Celtic Solstice 5 miler. Doc said no. I am, however allowed to participate in the Christmas Light Run through DC on the 17th, due to the fact that its not a high pace environment. Should be interesting to see how well I can sing christmas carols while running through the city with bells on my feet. :)

I'm also sad I won't be able to go ice skating downtown this year :( I have to avoid any activities that increase my chances of falling and busting up my face again. I'm good at ice skating, but you never know when a small kid might fall directly infront of you and trip you (read: this happened last year, and I had a nice ice-rash on my chin). I will have to go get some pictures again of the trees. These are from last year:

National Christmas Tree on the lawn of the White House (seen dimly in the background). The National Christmas tree is surrounded by a small tree decorated by each state and territory.

There is also a Menorah during Hanukkah on the front lawn, a manger scene, and the Yule Log (which is a giant fire pit about 6 feet deep, fueled by large pieces of the "yule tree" . Keeps you quite warm while looking at the tree's) You can see the smoke from the pit in the picture above.

Trees at the Botanical Gardens. There is also a very elaborate miniature train set that goes around the front of the Gardens. The track is handmade, fabricated by little twigs. It is definitely a work of art, and I hope it is there again this year.

Capitol Christmas Tree. I personally think the Christmas Tree on the lawns of the US Capitol is much prettier than the tree at the White House. Less tacky, just simple and beautiful.

I'll post pictures of this years decorations once I manage to get Downtown. This year, I won't pick the coldest night of the year to go down like Austin and I did last year. Most of my pictures were blurry. Longer night exposure time combined with uncontrollable shaking didn't work out so well.

Oh, and also in the Christmas spirit - if you are doing a Secret Santa exchange this year, check out this site: Secret Santa. With this site, you can set up a list of people to be included on the exchange, they can go in and create a "wish list" to share with the group, and you can set up so certain people are unable to be secret santas (ie: husband and wife in a group). Gotta love technology.

03 December 2008

12 Days.

Until they cut the first set of wires binding my jaw closed. I'm stoked.

I went back to the oral surgeon for my week 3 checkup yesterday. No x-rays this time, just a glance at my teeth, asked me to try to open my mouth (Umm.. buddy, you wired me shut remember, I cant. I'm guessing he was checking to see if it needed to be tightened at all), and told me to set up an appointment around the week of December 15th to have the wires cut. Apparently my eyes must have grown wide with excitement, because he quickly stomped on my dreams of cheeseburgers, noting that I still wouldn't be able to open my mouth much. I'll have rubberbands replacing one set of wires so I may begin strength training in my jaw. Needless to say, I scheduled for 9:30 on December 15th - the first possible appointment.

Feeling brave and adventurous, I went to swim practice last night; my first physical activity since the accident, unless you can count walking to the fridge for another Ensure as activity. As I pulled into the parking lot, Coach Ed was walking to his car. Before I could gather my towel and such, he was standing outside my car door, asking "Are you here to see me for something? I'm heading home since we have 2 other coaches on deck, and I'm swamped with paperwork for the fiscal year." Nope. Here to swim sir. He was impressed that I was already trying to get back on board, and as he admired how much better I looked that last time I saw him, and how phenominal the healing has been I think I saw a slight tear in his eye. Awww.
I was extremely nervous to get in the water. Will I be able to breathe? What if I can't.. I'm just going to get frustrated and dissappointed. How much will I have to throw my form off in order to breathe? How much slower have I become since I've been out of the pool for 3 weeks? And, with that, I slid into my normal lane with Matt, Sebastian, and Fabrice. Iwan hopped over the lane divide to give me a huge hug when he realized I was back in the pool. And so began swim practice. I was a bit late after talking to Ed in the parking lot for a while.. so I missed most of the warmup. Matt suggested we add a little time to the w/u so I could adjust. Good call. The first 50 yards might have been the scariest lap I've swam in a long, long time. We're talking since I learned to swim with my face in the water, circa 1991. I found it easier to attempt to breathe on my left (weak side..), because I have a missing tooth from the accident and am able to suck air in a bit quicker on that side. I had to really focus on the glide part of the stroke, so I could leave my head turned upwards long enough to breathe. It was difficult to get used to turning my head high enough to have my lips completely clear the water. I have very little feeling in my bottom lip-post accident, so I couldn't make my lips do the strange contorted movement we all normally do when breathing during freestyle.

The first set was Kick, Catchup Drill, Tarzan Drill, Fist Swim, 4x100 (we're on a recover week) Kick, no problem. Catchup, no problem, Tarzan.. okay starting to get tired, having to breathe more often = sucking in more water = starting to panic inside my closed jaw, Fist drill... Pass, I'll just kick instead. Each set of 100 lost another drill off the end, so the final set I was just doing pure kick drills for 100. Luckily, I LOVE kick drills, and stay on pace with the guys doing the other swim drills. We then started a set of 800 Z2. Since the four of us suck at counting after a while, we rotate every 200. I mentioned I probably would just hang in the back - they don't want me leading, I'm going to be pulling the pace down. Sebastian looked at me and said "Nope. You're going to have to lead sometime!" I focused on staying as calm as possible during the first 600. Somehow it worked, and I actually stayed on Seb's toes until he peeled off and I lead the final 200. I felt very accomplished, and I'm glad Seb pushed me. We had 3 more sets of 800 prior to climbing out of the pool for the evening, and I only skipped 1 lap after sucking in too much water. Not too bad. I felt like Darth Vader trying to swim though... Not the easiest thing to do, but I guess I'll have excellent breath control once this is all over with.

Nothing else too exciting is going on. I'm not tired of Ensure yet (surprisingly), and I'm excited to get a new flavor sometime this week - mixed berry, to add to the stash of high protien Chocolate, Vanilla, and Banana currently stacked in my room. Mashed potatoes are slowly losing their appeal though. I find new smoothies to make daily, keeping the taste buds happy. I have yet to attempt making any common food into a smoothie - I'm not that desperate, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, I don't think you'll see me drinking a processed steak.

Off to get ready for that thing I was extra excited/nervous about a few weeks ago, that was supposed to happen the day after my crash, and they were kind and understanding enough to move it to today. :)