Oral Surgery and Emotional Wounds (Part 2)

More Lessons Learned as My Oral Saga Continued

In Part 1 of this post, I wrote about emotional wounds and the misery that followed my gum graft surgery. I’m sorry to report that things did not get better after that.

The Friday night after my Monday morning procedure, the pain in my palate got worse. Saturday, the swelling had subsided and I could cry, so I did. Every day.  It hurt to breathe. Eating was agony. Talking wasn’t much better. The area around the incision swelled and became red.

I called the periodontist’s office. I sent a photo. They told me it was normal. That I was simply taking longer to heal than most people.

Ten days after the surgery (when most people supposedly feel “normal”), I attempted to work and drink a lukewarm cup of tea, but I was fighting tears the whole time. I called the doctor’s office again. Thankfully, the tech I spoke to agreed to see me.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Long story short:  I was right.  Something was wrong.

The doctor made some adjustments that left me with a larger, gaping hole in the roof of my mouth. The tech tried to pack it, but the pressure was excruciating, and the putty wasn’t sticking.

“Can I use Orajel on it?” I asked.

“I can put some on now,” the tech told me. “Do you want to do that instead of the packing?”

“I want to do whatever will help it heal,” I insisted.

“It will heal faster without the packing,” she said. “Because you’ll have more fresh air exchange.”

That settled it. I left the office feeling better than I had in the past 10 days.

And Here’s What All Of This Has To Do With Relationships, Divorce, And Emotional Wounds

Lesson #1- Listen to your intuition. I knew something wasn’t right in my mouth, just like I knew my ex wasn’t being 100% truthful about his relationship with that other woman.  Nobody knows your situation better than you.  If you sense something is off, investigate the situation. Don’t let others make you think you’re crazy, insecure, or a drama queen. Trust your gut.

Lesson #2- Allow your wound to breathe.  Too much protection blocks the flow of fresh air, and wounds need to breathe a little so they don’t shrivel up and get gross (you know what happens when you remove a bandage after showering with it on?). This is means being uncomfortable. I was freaked out about this bigger hole in my mouth, but I know it’s for the best.  It’s kinda like forcing yourself to get out of the house when you want to hibernate because you feel not-quite-human in the wake of a breakup.

Lesson #3- Nourish yourself.  The tech at the doctor’s office game me a supply of numbing cream to take with me. I didn’t use it all the time, because that would restrict airflow.  However, it was extremely helpful when I needed to eat. I hadn’t had much of an appetite after the surgery (I also didn’t have much of an appetite after my divorce). But food is important.  Good food helps you heal. If you’ve lost your appetite, what can you do to stimulate it?

The night after my check in with the doctor, I slept great- I didn’t wake up to any stabbing pains in my mouth.  Healing had started to happen, for real, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Again:  Emotional wounds and physical wounds are a lot alike. It’s important to accept them, assess them, and advocate for yourself on your journey back to health.

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