Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the operation I underwent.

So that I don’t need to keep on repeating myself, here are some FAQs about my operation and my answers to them

OMG what happened to you???
I went for an operation.

Why did you go for your operation?
Dental reconstruction. I had an under bite previously (perceptible only in some circumstances) so I moved my upper jaw forward and downwards.

This is what an under bite looks like:


What operation was carried out?
Bone grafts were taken from my lower jaw and were fitted into my upper jaw.

Why did you go for your operation during the term break and not during term time?
I didn’t want to miss too many lessons with my students.

Does it hurt?
When I first had the operation, yes. But now, no. In fact, my cheeks and lips are still somewhat numb at times. Something to do with the nerves somewhere.

Are you able to eat?
Yes. I can eat food in liquid form i.e. soups, curries, porridge/oatmeal/congee, etc. And of course, not forgetting our dear friend, Complan… LOL.

So what’s all the stuff in your mouth?
Besides the braces on the upper row of my teeth, I have arch bars around my gums and rubber bands to prevent me from moving my jaws too much.

When will the bands be removed?
Soon. Maybe next week?

When will the braces be removed?
Maybe at the end of the year? Not too sure about this.

After this, then what?
This is part of a larger dental reconstruction process, with the following phases and activities:

    Phase 1 – Braces (Mar 2009).
    Phase 2 – Reconstruction of upper jaw (Jun 2011).
    Phase 3 – Dental implants (tentatively Dec 2011).
    Phase 4 – Adamantium.

Ask more questions in the comment field below. Or there’s always Formspring.

Overly-clinical doctors.

I’m wondering why it is patients don’t have more of a say in deciding their own rest/recovery period. The dentist told me she was only going to give me a one-day Medical Certificate (MC). I asked for one-more day; she offered me an excuse letter instead, saying the procedure was a “minor” one.

I understood why – it wasn’t a surgery (although I thought it was at first but I guess I confused the phases of treatment) so from a very clinical point of view, I didn’t need that much rest.

But I didn’t see the point to this flow of logic i.e. I thought it was too hard and fast a rule for it to work across the board. I’m not an office worker, so it’s different in my case. The act of excusing me from teaching still means I have to be at work, which still means I have to prepare my food, my clothes, etc. the night before, wake up early, jostle with the crowd (Pooters is at the workshop, BTW [separate story]) – which I think doesn’t really bode well for the recovery process.

Or is it a Singaporean obsession with ‘showing face’ at work? Quantity of appearances doesn’t really translate to quality of appearances, you know.

Anyway, I went to the clinic near my home to request for an MC; the doctor said no. Again, I understand. He has his own ethical code of conduct to follow. I could feel him grappling with his own inner conscience, but I decided not to push the matter. I know he felt guilty, but I think he should feel some sense of guilt – if he had bothered to listen to what I was trying to say (which, in any case, was kinda hard because the braces have rendered me slightly unintelligible), perhaps he would have understood a deeper meaning to it all – I don’t chao keng but I am aware enough of my own body to know when I need the rest.

I think the rest I need is more psychological than anything else. I didn’t have a pleasant day with the extraction; it hurt like hell. I can’t chew any more; I’m reduced to soups and porridges, and even though I like soups and porridges, I don’t have any more choice to consume what I want at will. I just want some time at home to recover mentally and emotionally, but I guess Medical Certificates don’t cover that, do they?

On hindsight, maybe I could’ve practiced what I preach about performance. I didn’t go into the clinic looking like death; I went in requesting for an MC. So in a sense, I wasn’t in the role of the patient enough for the doctor to step up to the stage and perform his role as well. Maybe it really is all about the politics of performance? *shrugs*

The only thing to be slightly cheery about: I have very good Co-Operating Teachers. Ms Toh Hui Yuan, Mr Peter Crawshaw and Mr Anthony Phoon, if you come across this – thank you very much for your care and concern.

And for the students who are stalking: 4E2 and 4E Literature rocks, and I hope 3E4 comes on board soon.

I can’t feel my upper lip.

It is entirely numb and flubbering about like a leech mooching off a piece of butt cheek. I’m starting to feel my gums though, in a painful way. My blood tastes like iron, although I have never consciously tried tasting iron before. Is that supposed to be ironic? I don’t know, but there’s this dull ache extending from where a tooth used to be, massaging the depths of my brain with a finger called pain.

Four of my original teeth have been plucked out, by the way. The shock of it will probably hit me tomorrow when I wake up.

I’m not entirely convinced I should have done this, but I am trying to convince myself it was the right decision. Maybe I’ll start to appreciate having gone through the pain in ten years’ time. Maybe I won’t, but it wouldn’t have mattered – in the end, we all need some kind of coping mechanism in life.