After two weeks of “eating” with my jaw wired shut, my doctor finally cut all of my rubber bands off. I have never loved a doctor’s appointment or a Monday more. But the blissful feeling of cutting them off was short lived. The rubber bands are back on, unless I’m eating (or trying to) or brushing my teeth.
It didn’t sound too bad until I saw how tiny the elastics were. On a good day, it’ll take me 3 minutes and 2 snaps but other days, it takes me at least 10 minutes and too many snaps to count.
Despite all this, I am finally able to eat food, non-chewable foods, but FOOD nonetheless. Right after my doctor’s appointment, I headed to the grocery store to pick up some ice cream. Naturally, the very first thing I ate on Monday was a delicious helping of green tea ice cream. It was perfect for the hot summer day.
Since then, I’ve also had homemade mashed potatoes and gravy (for the first time), Greek yogurt, steamed eggs, pudding and much more. Pretty much anything that doesn’t require chewing (but as promised, no more milkshakes and smoothies). I can also eat super thin noodles that are cut up into bite-sized pieces. The spoon I eat with is extremely shallow and about 2/3rds the size of a normal soup spoon; otherwise, none of the food will make it into my mouth because I can only open my mouth about 1 cm. Even with a teeny spoon, I can’t fit the entire thing in my mouth.
Believe it or not, having a normal bite instead of an underbite makes a difference while eating. It’s not just a cosmetic change (and it’s not because I can barely open my mouth). The way y’all normal people eat is different from the way I ate! With a normal bite, when I first tried to eat, my spoon would hit a row of teeth. This never happened when I had an underbite; my food just went straight into my mouth.
After a few meals, I have learned to maneuver my hand to avoid the roadblock so that it ducks my spoon under my upper row of teeth and lands the food in my mouth. It’s a bit of a hassle but so worth it when something other than liquid hits my tongue.
Now, a week later, eating is almost natural again. Of course, I still take super tiny bites and I can’t chew, but at least I’ve had a few “normal” meals. Week by week, I’m getting closer to my dream of eating ribs again. For now, I’ll continue dreaming about all sorts of solid food.