A Starving Patient’s Dreams of Food

My jaw is wired shut. No, not just wired shut; my jaw is wired, then my teeth are blocked from behind with plastic, and then banded strategically shut. What does this mean? I’m STARVING!

The first thing I wrote when I got home from the hospital

The first thing I wrote when I got home from the hospital

In the hospital and the first week home I could only take liquid medicine along with my liquid diet. This meant that any pill/capsule we couldn’t get in liquid form had to be crushed/opened and mixed in with water and/or my other medication. And let me tell you, opened/crushed pills taste nasty. I had to wake up every four hours to take this medication, and because I didn’t want the medication burning a whole in my stomach, this also meant I drank a fair amount of chocolate Ensure every four hours. Needless to say, as soon as I didn’t have to take the medicine so often, I decided to never drink another Ensure again.

People always wonder how I drink all of my liquid food if my mouth is wired shut. I use what is basically a giant syringe with a tube attached to the end of it. I put the tube in the gap at the back of my mouth where my wisdom teeth have been pulled out and then push whatever liquid I’ve got through.

The syringes I use to eat on a daily basis

The syringes I use to eat on a daily basis

After the back and roof of my mouth weren’t numb anymore, I started pushing pills in the same gap I used for the tube. Once I realized I could fit them through without choking (yes, it was worth that risk), I stopped all of my liquid medication. This happened about two weeks in and I was beyond thrilled.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that nothing but liquid is getting into my stomach. So I drink blended soup, juice, applesauce, Denny’s smoothies, milkshakes (although they usually remind me of Ensure too much), etc. The syringes I use to eat often get clogged, are hard to physically pull the liquid in with, and also take forever to push a syringe full of food in. Because of this each meal is usually one, maybe two syringes full of non-filling food. So when I’m so hungry I start to cry, I imagine everything I will eat when my mouth is finally free.

First my mom and I will go to a Denny’s that is close to my surgeon’s office (because there’s no way I’m waiting until I get home for solid food). There I will order the sampler. For those of you who don’t know, this includes fried mozzarella sticks, seasoned fries, and chicken strips. Because I’m a vegetarian I will replace the chicken with more mozzarella sticks. Then when I get home, I will bake a frozen Freschetta pizza to soft, chewy perfection and devour it. Last, I will procure some kick-ass macaroni and cheese from the nearest grocery store and then make it disappear.

So even though I’m ravenous as I write this, I’m just going to close my eyes, picture gooey fried mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, and then cry a little when I realize I still have about three weeks left of my tummy rumbling.

If you have any tips or tricks to help me manage my hunger I’d LOVE to hear it, so feel free to comment below!

10 comments on A Starving Patient’s Dreams of Food

  1. taliadesigns12
    November 30, 2014 at 1:31 am (4 years ago)

    Your jaw is wired shut? Ouch! 🙁 Mine was just elasticized shut. The first two week as you already know are the worst! I hated not having much food/liquid items to select from to get through the syringe.

    Try the Oasis fruit Smoothies – I had a lot of that during the syringe phase! Also – I bought Iced Capps and Strawberry Frappucinos (if you have Timmies or Starbucks where you live) – and then placed it in the syringe.

    I also made a delicious peanut butter/strawberry smoothie which I’d highly recommend! I added the recipe to my blog: http://taliasjawsurgery.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/day-16-passed-the-two-week-mark/

    • jaelinpalmer
      November 30, 2014 at 8:48 am (4 years ago)

      The first time I had the surgery my jaw was banded shut with elastics for a week. Since I have no metal screws or plates this time, my teeth are wired shut. I will definitely look up Oasis Fruit Smoothies and try frappucinos from Starbucks. I had a frappucino during my stay in the hospital and I remember that being very good.

      I love your blog! I remember going through so much of that the first time around. If you ever need advice on anything or have questions about swelling/talking (or whatever), let me know. I had an undersized jaw and had my wisdom teeth taken out the first time, so I understand a lot of your struggle. I will definitely give that smoothie a try!

  2. bearspawprint
    November 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm (4 years ago)

    Gazpacho – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Everyone in the house will want a portion. Can be varied according to our own preferences. Do you like V8 ?

    • jaelinpalmer
      November 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm (4 years ago)

      I bet every will! V8 is fine. Not my favorite, but I don’t dislike it. Why?

      • bearspawprint
        November 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm (4 years ago)

        Just wondered. It seems to have some of everything, including roughage) in it. Without being like Ensure or Metamucil (gag).

        If you put a little Worcestershire sauce in the V8 or tomato juice and maybe some celery salt and a touch of lemon juice, it is more interesting :-). Guess you aren’t old enough, and too many meds, for a Bloody Mary. 😀 But a Virgin Mary is very very good. Again, everyone in the house will want one, too. But not at the same time as the gazpacho … that would be too much tomatoes and acid.

        Chowders (potatoes) are good, too. Corn chowder, for example. Just strain the lumps out of yours, if they are still a problem. If you are chipper enough to be in the kitchen, you may end up being the main supper cook as you think up tasty stuff to help regain your strength —that also tastes good — and is nutritious.

        “Tis also a way to start having fun with your family, and guests, again. Just some ideas.

        Bon appétit

        • jaelinpalmer
          November 30, 2014 at 8:48 pm (4 years ago)

          Thank you for all of the suggestions! I will definitely have to give some of those tomato based ideas a try. My mom actually makes this really great homemade potato chowder that we blend up and that is definitely delicious.

          My problem is, even when I make food I can eat, my stomach hurts after I get a syringe full or two in me. (I think it must be a shock for my stomach to have real food again.) So I never have enough calories in me, so I’m always weak. This results in me not having enough energy to get up and make food. Right now my mom and sister are doing most of that. As soon as I have the energy, it would definitely be fun to be the house chef.

          • bearspawprint
            November 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm (4 years ago)

            Instant pudding / Mix with cold milk. Has calories. Baby food apricots .. delicious, Has calories. The other baby-foods don’t taste good, but apricots do. Put Ovalteen in your milk … nutrients and calories.

            Pain, pain meds, withdrawal, and recuperation all sap energy, and use up serotonin, stimulate cortisol, and generally make you feel rotten.

            And having felt terrible for five years, already, while you were growing, too, might require some occupational therapy to build up stamina and strength.

            It is an uphill struggle, but me goodness, what a from the top. I can’t wait to see some photos a month from now.

            I had impacted wisdom teeth out when I was sixteen, in hospital, It was over a month before anyone could tell that I actually had a neck.. I was a very skinny teen with a fat baby’s head and no neck. But this was 49 years ago.

            And I did not even have my face rearranged.

            I do kjnow persons who have had facial reconstructive surgeries, for various reasons,(motorcycle and car wrecks, war injuries, cosmetics) In all cases there was a great deal of pain, at first. Then a dramatic drop in pain levels. And for some, pain went away altogether. But none of them were the natural beauty that you are.

            Yogurt. Do you like yogurt? It wouldhelp your gut feel better, too. And yogurt surely won’t put you in mind of Ensure. I like the “blended” kind, peach, or strawberry, or blueberry, or even vanilla with some honey added. Honey in the vanilla yogurt goes down easily, by itself honey is too viscous and tends to get aspirated, or cause choking. Upchucking when you can’t open your mouth would be more than unpleasant. Might be able to use one of the “syringes’ like a vacuum. As you can tell, I like to be prepared for the “what ifs” and the “just in case” scenarios.

            I am so sorry you have had this prolonged terrible experience. But I am glad that it was finally accepted that you were not exaggerating, and something was done, hopefully, to help.

            When you have kids, you will know better how to proceed if anyone thinks they need a different jaw size.

            <3 <3 <3
            Trigeminal neuralgia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
            This is what I thought you had. And it may yet come out that tic douloureux. was induced by the original surgery. Or it may never be known.
            Recover fast!!! Hooray! Recovery is possible!
            You and your family are brave to have risked a second surgery. I hope and pray you continue to feel better and batter.

            God bless you. "star" "star"

            The clinical association between TN and hemifacial spasm is the so-called tic douloureux. It has been described as among the most painful conditions known to …

  3. bearspawprint
    November 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm (4 years ago)

    Gazpacho – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is …
    ‎History – ‎Ingredients and preparation – ‎Variations – ‎In popular culture

    • jaelinpalmer
      November 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much for letting me know about this! I’ll be making, blending, and eating this tomorrow. 🙂


Leave a Reply