Customer Service

Thomas and I were blessed with a kid free night thanks to grandma wanting some time with her grandsons. I had been feeling pretty down and defeated the whole day, so I was excited to do anything, especially if it was out of the house.

Together Thomas and I ran a few errands. Then, we opted to eat out, which can obviously be quite the challenge with a wired jaw. After considering gift card options, we decided upon Cheddars, and as Thomas placed my order for potato soup, which he requested to have no potato chunks it it, After my sweet husband finished explaining my situation to the young waiter, I flashed a metal smile in the waiter’s direction.

At first the young man seemed to feel a little awkward, but then he settled a bit and told me he could do his best to not get chunks of potato but that it might be hard. We just encouraged him to try and that I would be grateful for the attempt.

A few minutes later the manager comes to our table. He expresses a bit of sympathy for the challenge of eating out with a wired jaw and then extends an offer to personally take the soup to the bar and have it blended for me. We loved the idea and thanked him so much.

Turns out, his plan was perfect and the soup was fantastic. It culminated in being one of my best wired jaw meals, especially considering it happened out and about at a regular restaurant, like a normal person.

Thomas tipped the waiter well for his
effort in making it a great night, and I have given the manager the promised FB and virtual shout out.

Cheddars and their awesome customer service for the win!

20130927-215204.jpg

Better, Bit by Bit

Well friends, it’s been over a month since my wreck and my surgery to repair and wire my jaw. At this point, I am looking at about 2 1/2 more weeks until removal date of the arch bars, stitches, and wires inside my mouth.

N58493def7fcfb73e7a735d6f1f452137ot that this has been easy, in any form, but it has certainly been easier than I imagined it being. I’ve got quite a bit of people rooting for me, visiting me, checking in on me, sending me cards and gifts, and most importantly praying for me. 823ab202e547c8028fb3ee76b4f77a90

I’m truly beginning to miss the whole chewing thing. I’m not yet tempted to throw crazy things in the blender and slurp it up, but I do, and have nearly all along, go to bed hungry or wake up in the middle of the night craving food. The things is, the problem of being hungry can’t be resolved so simply with just having another smoothie. On a liquid diet, somehow, your belly gets full. You have no room left in your stomach cause you have so much liquid in it. Yet, despite the fluid, you are hungry. I’ve read on the web from some other jaw injury people that this is the case with them too. Contradictory and paradoxical as it may be, it appears to be true. If you doubt me, I challenge you to 7 weeks of all liquids and see if you find this to be accurate or not. I assume now you will just simply take my word for it. :o)

When this first happened, I had a plan for what I was going to eat when the wires came off. I had decided on something completely unhealthy but totally yummy. Pizza was the plan. Then, after about 2 weeks, I got on Google to see what the rest of the wired jaw community had to say. Turns out, there is a big factor I didn’t really think about at the time. When the freedom returns, your teeth are sore, your mouth barely opens from being pressed together for so long, your jaw muscles have atrophied, and all amounts of other complicated matters in between. Basically, you can’t eat whatever you want yet. And things like raw carrots, nuts, biting into an apple, and similar food choices might be a full year off for me. So, for about 2-3 weeks after removal, I will be restricted to a “soft foods” diet. This made me change my “freedom meal’ to pancakes from Cracker Barrel, perhaps even biscuits and gravy. Likely though my eyes will be bigger than my stomach and my enthusiasm greater than physical ability, and it will turn out to be just a few bites of pancakes. Nonetheless, I have a CB gift card reserved to the side and a date planned with the location nearest to me for October 9th.

I’ve also found some great wired jaw essentials, along with some favorites, should anyone else ever wind up in this condition by some great misfortune or if I happen to become some wired jaw Google hit for a desperate stranger.

1) Best soup to buy:

20130920-124828.jpg

Now, some folks are fortunate enough/unfortunate enough to lose teeth in their accident or planned oral surgery. The unfortunate part is that it is a tooth, and as an adult when it is gone you are out of luck (but at least a dentist can fix that right up!). The fortunate part is that a missing tooth means a clear and easy access for food. I kept all my teeth. Some of the things I read on-line had people eating things I could not imagine getting into my stomach simply due to space to get it in, not desire. All I have for my food to go through in route to being digested is the small little portion in the very back of my mouth. It’s tiny folks. So, a little thing like an herb can block that pathway and clog my mouth full of soup and then nearly suffocate me. No exaggeration. So, I have been blending most everything, even that which looks blended, just to be safe. “Creamy Tomato” written on a can is not necessarily gonna be doable for me, cause “creamy” to a person sucking it off a spoon that can chew and “creamy” to a person squirting it in via a syringe through a small little gap in the back of her mouth do not mean the same thing. This above soup was truly creamy and very accessible/drinkable for me. I also added in some sour cream and mixed it in real good until dissolved for extra yumminess. It’s a winner.

2) Best soup to make:

20130920-124903.jpg

This is squash soup. I am not usually a squash fan, but my friend that made it said her whole family loves it. She did some extra pureeing on my account and left the bacon pieces off the top upon delivery. This was the first meal that was good to me, and I consumed soooo much of it. I am contemplating taking her up on the offer to make me some more. I’ve got 2 1/2 more weeks to do it. She did share the recipe with me though, so I guess I could just make my own: http://honest-food.net/2012/10/31/squash-soup-recipe-bacon/

3) Best choices for oral hygiene/care

20130920-124935.jpg

There is so much there that makes up my cleaning routine. Ultimately, it is important to do everything you can to keep the teeth and gums clean. And don’t forget your emergency wire cutters, in case life gets any worse and you need them to not die. I suggest alcohol free mouth wash, cause there will be spots in your mouth that you don’t even know exist that are injured and don’t need the sting. I did use the dental wax at first but it annoyed me for a million reasons, so now I mainly have built up resistance and sleep in that red mouth guard that had the middle cut out by my dear husband. Best .97 cents we’ve spent.

4) Best way to go out to eat:

20130920-124956.jpg

I’ve read some people that avaoid being around others while they are eating. This is not soemthing I consider an option, so I have been around lots of people while they ate lots of yummy things. It’s not like I am making a choice to refrain from a food. No matter how much I may want it, that buttery roll will not find its way into my mouth, period, so I opt to do what I can and enjoy the company of everyone else. I did foolishly try once to eat a bowl of soup from a restaurant while out with some family. Likely you just shouldn’t try, but if you do, make certain to have your syringe and water pick with you. I made several trips to the bathroom to clean out my mouth and continue breathing and the precious ended up going home with me, where I blended it, and then ate it the next day. Be sure to take your muscle milk as backup.

5) Best way to have your morning coffee:

20130920-125027.jpg

Now, I guess I could sip on real coffee but that intimidates me. Last thing I need is a burnt tongue inside my mouth that I can’t even see or get to for a few more weeks. Being I need so much protein for me and baby, this protein coffee smoothie is fantastic. Pair that with a good morning Bible study and start your day off the best you can.

6) Best blender to buy:

20130920-131629.jpg

Some of my friends from high school shipped this little beauty to my home. First, the color is lovely, right? But this thing is SO practical.  It comes with a little cup that can be microwaved and is dishwasher safe. I can make a personal serving of something without making a mess of my kitchen or big blender, which requires so much cleaning. This is just a rinse and go most days. I can even pour into it something that needs extra blending and make it happen. Perfect!

So, that’s it for now. I’m getting better, bit by bit, and even though some pain does still linger and certain movements or touches can truly hurt, for the most part I am just dealing with irritation caused by this barbed wire in my mouth. I have been feeling my little baby boy/girl move and flip and flop for about the past week (I am almost 19 weeks!) so it feels good to know that I’m doing enough nutritionally to give baby enough energy to move! I’m one month into this wired journey! Ready to be done so I can tackle other things in life with the best focus that I can.

Enjoy a picture of me, showing just a little bit of my grill/bling at the top of my teeth to the world (trust me though, there is so much more of that in my mouth!)

20130920-125059.jpg

“I Go to Beach”

Thomas would tell me that Wesley needed some help with his speech. I, for much too long, told him that Wesley was “just three” and would play down the speech concerns. One day, when Thomas noted Wesley’s need for some additional speech help, I began with my typical reply, “Thomas, he’s just thre…” and I stopped. Cause “just three” was two months shy of being four. That excuse was not going to be a valid one for much longer. There were obviously some genuine concerns to note.

Then, while playing with my cousin Leitte’s kids, Wesley came into the room and said they were doing something that bothered him and he wanted us to “hock them.” Shock? How did he even know about shocking someone? Why would he want something that extreme? “Shock them Wesley?” I asked. “No, hock them” he replied. A few exchanges later I realized it was a simple “stop” he was looking for from me. Leitte, experienced with some early intervention practices, called Wesley over and had him work on the “st” sound. While she did it, I cried a little. After Wesley went back to playing, she apologized to me, a little unsure of why I cried. I just told her that it was past time to help my little guy, and I felt bad ignoring Thomas’s valid concerns for so long.

Soon, we took Wesley to a free evaluation clinic. They did a quick flip book assessment, showing him pictures of a school, flag, frog, etc, asking him to say what each was. “Can you tell me what this one is?” she asks. “A hool” says Wesley. “You mean a school?” the assessor responds. “That’s what I said. hool” The quick assessment ended with lots a little red marks on her tally sheet, which meant nothing to my then 3 year old. Momma knew though that meant incorrect responses.

After the quick initial assessment we were asked to bring him for a follow up appointment for a longer, 40-45 minute assessment at the very start of June. Daniel and I waited for Wesley to finish and then the speech therapist, Dr. Gail, came out to speak with me about those results. Lots of technical jargon being avoided, Wesley “double qualified” for some speech services, mainly for his failure to be able to produce some sounds that should be clear for children ages 2-3, the inability to correctly produce sounds associated with any blends (hence the “hool” rather than the “SCHool” he should say), and finally, in the words of the professional, “At times you just don’t have a darn clue on what in the world he is saying.”

A few days after the follow-up assessment and his qualifying for services, the poor fella had a few breakdowns. Generally, any of his speech flaws can be reconciled due to knowing the context. However, when he asked, “Momma, where is my hiddler hask?” I was completely clueless. Attempts 1-7 of asking leading to no clarity, he ended up in tears. I felt so relieved to know we were already on the path to get him some help. Turns out, he just wanted his “riddler mask.”

We would try to correct him on his phrasing to no avail. “Daddy, can I turn on the han?” from Wesley would be countered with “It’s F-F-F-Fan Wesley. Say it right and you can turn it on, okay?” Wesley’s response? Saying “I not want it on” and walking out of the room.

A bit before school started, while getting Wesley’s haircut and the lady asks him if he is going to school. He says, “No just to beach.” “The beach?” she asks. “No beach” says Wesley. “Kindergarten?” says the lady. “Yes” Wesley finally says. Poor kid isn’t going to kindergarten or the beach. He will be going to SPEECH. Point made that the little guy needs it.

So, he’s now in speech therapy one day a week. The day of our meeting with the speech therapist was the day I left the school and had my car wreck, so Wesley’s very first day of speech was two days later, while I was still in the hospital with my wired jaw. My mom took him to the first day, and in good Momma fashion, she documented with pictures.

20130910-124953.jpg

He looks a little awkward here, but in his defense, it had been a crazy two days for him with momma in the hospital and Grandma on full parenting duty. He also begged my mom to take a lunchbox with him, which he had absolutely no need for taking, being that it is a one hour therapy appointment, but I guess he wanted to be like his big bubba and take lunch to school.

As part of a PSA to go along with this post, I hope you all can become aware of the phonological and language development of children. For a long time, it is normal to say words incorrectly. Eventually, however, the sounds should manifest. If they don’t, there may be a physical reason why the child can not make the sounds, and that should be assessed (no complications in this area for our Wesley). There may also just be a dropping of sounds or a compensation of sounds due to a struggle to say words correctly (this is more aligned with our boy). Regardless, early intervention is a good key for success, and if paying out of pocket for speech services is not something you can manage, check your personal insurance coverage, which could very well pay for sessions. In our case, we opted to access free public services provided to residents/tax payers if the child qualifies for such, should your state provide this opportunity. Even if your child does not attend public schools yet (like Wesley) or is an older child that is homeschooled, these services are still available to you. In our case, the Speech and Language Pathologist, Mrs. Krista, is amazing, and we have fully confidence in her ability to help him, so we are keeping with this plan until we see a need to do something different. If services are still needed or advised, we will continue on with such when Wesley enrolls for kindergarten next school year (yeah I know—-how is that even almost possible!?!?)

Use this as a quick guide to check your child's speech progress, should you have a concern. Source: http://info.nspt4kids.com/speech-and-language-milestones-infographic-?&t=6630

Use this as a quick guide to check your child’s speech progress, should you have a concern. Source: http://info.nspt4kids.com/speech-and-language-milestones-infographic-?&t=6630

Wired Jaw, “Saved by the Bell”

Before reading this true account, let’s aim for a bit of audience participation. Do me a favor, clench your teeth together as tightly as you can and talk. This is sorta what I sound like. Now, clench your teeth even tighter (cause likely your bite was no where near as tight as mine is) and now raise your voice, yell. If you played along from home, you would have noticed that there is very little volume difference, thus proving that yelling, for whatever reason, serves little purpose when your jaw is wired shut. With this in mind, let’s proceed…..

Thomas has been doing so much since my wreck and the subsequent wired jaw surgery. For my 5 days in the hospital, he was there almost every moment. Once home, he began juggling all the household details, his schooling, studying for his nursing boards, and his managing his private practice and the meeting of his clients. We had a fair share of loving helpers around, thank God, but as you can imagine, he has been pretty swamped regardless. As my energy has allowed, I’ve done what I can, but it amounted to little. So, when he came home on Labor Day and wanted/needed a nap, I totally understood. To try and clear the house of noise, I took the boys outside to play.

Our activity of choice? Baseball. We were using our normal gear. Instead, we chose the “big bat” that wasn’t metal, and we were also playing with the “squishy ball” which wasn’t a true baseball, thankfully. Wesley was up first to bat and Daniel was the catcher. I was throwing the pitches and things were going well. Meanwhile inside, Thomas snoozed.

After Wesley hit a few, missed a few, and did his “final four” pitches, it was now Daniel’s turn at bat. Wesley was now the catcher and the game was back on.

I was doing little talking, especially since the noise and space of outside sorta just absorbed most of my already muffled words. If the boys were in the wrong stance. I simply modeled it for them and had them shadow. I was just glad to be doing something that felt somewhat normal with my kiddos, even if just for a bit of time.

Soon, Wesley decided he didn’t want to be the catcher anymore. He scooted from directly behind Daniel to behind him and to his left. He was cross legged on the grass, watching. I continued to throw pitches.

Suddenly, Wesley decided he was hot and wanted to get up and he started walking toward me. I had already thrown a pitch to his brother and began to yell “Wesley, don’t!” because I saw it coming, a bat to the face. Unfortunately, I likely only said “mmurrhmfff!!!” to his little ears, and it was definitely no where near loud enough. It was inevitable.

Sure enough, Daniel swung and nailed Wesley straight in his face. Immediately, the tears began to fall. Wesley came over to me and put his face on my newly growing baby bump and cried big tears. I rubbed his hair…..and then the blood began to pour.

20130908-143843.jpg

We rushed inside quickly, and I knew we needed Thomas ASAP. While entering the house, I yelled, “Thomas” but I didn’t even get a vocal range loud enough to exit the first few feet in front of me. I look over, and right on the kitchen counter was the bell my mother-in-law had brought for me to use in the days right after I got home from the hospital when I needed something. Perfect.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding 

Pause for a moment, grab a cloth for all the blood, and get back to the bell….

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding

In rushes Thomas from his deep sleep, thoroughly confused and highly concerned. Wesley stands before him, hands covered in blood with a cloth shoved in his face, muffling his cries. There is blood on the floor and a chatty big brother in the doorway to outside explaining how it was an accident and Wesley should watch where he is going.

20130908-143900.jpg

20130908-143910.jpg

As Thomas took good care of Wesley, stopping all the blood, calming Wesley’s fears, wiping away his tears, and looking for any real potential issues, he jokingly said how we were all “saved by the bell.”

While Daddy comforted, I did the exact reverse of what I would have done a few weeks prior. Parents generally don’t want any pain for their kids. We’d rather be the ones hurting than to see them hurt. But as I stood there, complete with a still tender jaw and wires all around, I looked at my poor baby there with this daddy on the kitchen floor and thought the opposite of my parental instincts. Over in over in my heard I repeated, “Oh I am so glad that happened to you rather than to me. Thank goodness that was you and not me, son!”

And I obviously also documented with a few pictures :o)