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  1. #1
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    Broken jaw recovery starts here

    In retrospect, I still don't think my risk assessment or skillset were wildly out of step with the steep chute I attempted yesterday. I was relaxed and in good form all the way to the bottom.

    While my back wheel was negotiating the last step and my front was rolling out, the front broke away on the loose muddy ground and I launched diagonally with the misfortune that there was a 4.5" diameter tree trunk in the line of fire. It was a big hit that cut underneath my helmet (open face) and I knew I'd broken my jaw as soon as it happened.

    In the next few hours I will be going for surgery and having my jaw wired shut for the next six weeks. I might wake up without quite a few teeth for the sake of getting the bone ends well aligned and while they hope it can all be done internally the break at the side is in a bad place and might require external incision to pin with the risk of nerve damage and loss of facial movement on that side.

    This is my worst MTB injury in 22 years.

    I am quite apprehensive about the recovery. Has anybody got any hope to hold out here? The main advice I expect is "suck it up, Buttercup" but I guess I am worried in no particular order about the practicalities of a liquid diet, swallowing and choking risks, maintaining the aerobic fitness I've worked so hard for over the last few years and any ways of making it easier for my MTBing girlfriend.

    None of which stopped me getting an an Accident and Emergency selfie with my riding buddy who is a complete star

  2. #2
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    That sounds horrible. I gotta quit reading in this forum or I'll never want to go ride again.
    Good luck with everything. I assume you are the guy who looks like he's having trouble smiling

  3. #3
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    Out of surgery and doing a very good impression of Quagmire.

    I've still got my teeth and they've done the external access to the right mandible break but nerve reponse is normal. Feels so nice to be able to swallow soft food and liquids.

  4. #4
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    Broken jaw recovery starts here

    So post-op and sent home with a stash of Co-Codamol and mouthwash here is the state of play.

    Two sets of metalwork are in place: 1) Permanent plates and screws to pull together the two breaks and, 2) 8 pins that are to be temporarily used to anchor elastic bands to support the jaw.
    With the elastics in place it feels very weird but it keeps me from opening the jaw more than a few mm and will apparently establish my bite. First two weeks are critical and the worst thing I could do is venture off a liquid diet.

    The big challenge is to get decent nutrition in liquid form. Yesterday evening I trawled the local supermarket (in a hoodie) for likely produce including the baby food. Problem is you either get balanced nutrition with limited calories or sugary fatty rubbish that makes up the calorie number but knocks the nutrition out of balance.

    Yesterday ended up with a surplus of sugar to hit the calorie number which the hospital stay had left me short of by 1000 calories and worse per day (basically starvation). Today I've got to do better and get the protein content higher. I've got a backstop solution for calories with a weight training Serious Mass shake mix.

    Meals take serious effort and are a drain on willpower. Spoons don't work for the amount I can open my jaw but drinking from a cup is possible. Almost got into trouble with a beef goulash soup last night that was lump free but had a stringy mass of beef shreds that got caught on everything. It was quite a cleanup job.

    Green tee shirt shot is pre-op with jaw hanging down on right. Post-op I have a lot of swelling and was fitted with a drain for the spittle gland that had been disrupted. That drain came out yesterday.

    Next steps are stitches out on Friday and checkup clinic a week on Friday.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1417595729859.jpg  

    Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1417595772194.jpg  

    Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1417595804232.jpg  


  5. #5
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    Dude!
    Really sorry to hear about your jaw; what a total freak accident! I would seriously consider getting a juicer. I have a top end Breville and it works good. I replaced 2 of my meals with juice for about 6 months with very little weight loss overall (it wasnt my goal to loose weight...much, mainly to change diet pattern). Having broken several bones my advice is to be as immobile as possible for the first 2 weeks then very methodically start to exercise the bones. When I dislocated and broke 5 bones in both ankles (yes simultaneously) I was in removable casts (I started out with a lot of swelling because I had to hike about a mile out of the woods then drive to the hospital). After 2 weeks i noticed that the grinding sensation of the bones had stopped and so I started with the centimeter shuffle (with casts off) on very flat surfaces and very slowly increased the distance and roughness of terrain. 5 weeks after the accident, when most people would still have their casts on, I was 2000 miles into a motorcycle ride across the USA. My doctor thought I was crazy but he also thought I would need surgery and likely never run again and he was wrong on both accounts. Exercise, even bones love it!

    -Good luck and remember, this is like a bad haircut, you will grow out of it!

  6. #6
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    In terms of freak accident, I'm counting my blessings that my neck/brain/eyes didn't bear the brunt of the impact with the tree. Bones heal.

  7. #7
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    Smoothies man! That's what you need! Get some protein powder. Get a Nutri bullet (or if you want to go high dollar a vitamix will turn rocks into a smooth liquid).

    Some of my typical recipes:

    Vanilla yogurt, vanilla protein, fresh strawberries, blueberries and or raspberries, dry oats, flax seed, spinach or kale leaves.

    Chocolate almond milk, chocolate or vanilla protein, peanut butter, banana, flax seed, oats

    Banana, banana protein, vanilla yogurt, ice.

    Etc. The options are endless.

    Good luck with the recovery, man! Thank goodness for modern medicine. Imagine if you took a fall like that a couple hundred years ago.

  8. #8
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    Hey thanks for those. Really practical. The blender arrived a few hours ago and you've given me some great ideas to try.

  9. #9
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    Re: Broken jaw recovery starts here

    Update 6 days in.

    Stitches are out. Swelling isn't going anywhere. Ability to open jaw 4mm when the elastics are in place which is 99.9% of the time.

    Everything is boring.
    Sunday: accident at midday at end of 3 hour ride, about 400 Calories in drinking yoghurt before nil by mouth
    Monday: operation, soft food evening meal. 600 Calorie day total.
    Tuesday: discharged from hospital, 2200 Calories liquids
    Wednesday: wiped out all day, but maintaining 2200 Calorie liquids
    Thursday: weight down by 1.5kg, maintaining 2200 Calories
    Friday: holy [email protected] Weight down by another 1.5kg. 3500 Calories and lots of protein to go with the carbs.

    A week ago I weighed in at 83.2kg on a light day. My lowest dip yesterday was 79.3. I've been completely rethinking what my body needs to repair and I'm pretty much planning on double for the next few days. Lots of minerals. Lots of protein. Lots of calories.

    I'm pretty much off painkillers and just putting up with the nagging aches. Starting to think about some gentle cardio on a turbo trainer. Nothing strenuous.

  10. #10
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    If you are concerned about weight loss, you could add a weight gainer to your shakes. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass has 1250 calories per serving.

  11. #11
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    perhaps, we should break the jaw of 40-60 percent of the US population... in addition to the reduction on noise polution, it would provide the much need weight loss this country needs!

  12. #12
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    Healing uses a lot of energy. 6500 calories for a broken leg/day. Throw some pineapple, yogurt and almond milk in that blender to give your body some of the chem it needs to make the goo for bones to reattach. That and inflammation reducing teas chopped two weeks off the process. The docs were surprised. Reattachment should be starting soon. A couple or more times do the p-y-a thing a day along with the other components you need for calorie count.

  13. #13
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    Some great suggestions. I've done a whole pineapple today and I'm on the case with Serious Mass and an alternate Protein mix. I've been mixing my smoothies with a mixture of almond milk and full fat dairy with dollops of good fat natural yoghurt thrown in too. Blueberries, bananas, oats, spinach (!), plums. Now I've got my head around this being an eating competition I reckon I'll do fine.

    I've also managed to get some light cardio into my routine. The trick appears to be to get the benefit of ticking the heart over without burning too many precious Calories.

    I managed to consume 3500 calories yesterday and it does get to a point where I really don't want to chug yet another shake/soup/anything. But I'm now intrigued to see how well I can push myself through the repair stage...

  14. #14
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    Broken jaw recovery starts here

    Latest set of pictures.

    Stitches out and bruise spreading down neck.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1417894605422.jpg  

    Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1417894742088.jpg  


  15. #15
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    ... and the non-messy version of what I've done to myself:

    Broken jaw recovery starts here-91_x15_i290l.gif
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken jaw recovery starts here-91_x15_i050l.gif  


  16. #16
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    Break the calories up into more small snacks and don't think about your consumption as different then training not something you do for enjoyment.
    Sixteen Horsetail Benefits - www.naturalalternativeremedy.com Managed WordPress Site
    This tea worked to speed up inflammation reduction.

  17. #17
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    Everybody, remind me not to break my jaw. This looks painful and a huge PITA.

    I suspect the weight loss, honestly isn't THAT big of a deal, regardless of how lean you are normally. Drink what you can, since I'm sure you're still beyond chewing.

    Heal well....be careful...and take it easy....you'll be riding again soon enough.

  18. #18
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    Broken jaw recovery starts here

    Finally got to see the state of my helmet from the wreck. The impact crushed a chunk of it over the temple. Looks like it did its job but as the other pains subside I'm aware of a deep ache at the temple area.

    Second picture shows why the time of day I feel least sorry for myself is breakfast...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1418122659925.jpg  

    Broken jaw recovery starts here-uploadfromtaptalk1418122759307.jpg  


  19. #19
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    Broken jaw recovery starts here

    Six week update.

    I've just had my second check up confirming that I've had a straightforward trip on my recovery so far. The healing seems good. My bite send to be lining up. They were confident enough to take out the screws for the elastics there and then (gory pictures do exist).

    I'm still on two more weeks of exclusively soft meals and then I can start easing back towards a more normal diet. Chewing gum has been suggested to get things used to moving again. The range of opening of the jaw is severely restricted at the moment.

    Best news is that I've been riding again and apart from muddy winter trails I don't seem to be too bad on confidence. It will be a while before I think about "that" trail again.

    Next check up in two months. There can be complications down the line because of where the break fell but right now it all seems to be heading in the right direction.

  20. #20
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    Hi Petercram, I hope you are recovered well. Did you get any post-op problems like throat muscle tension, difficult swallowing..etc. I recently had more or like same fracture but on the left side. Its now 6 months after op and I face some minor difficulties when swallowing. How is it like after many year from surgery.

    Looking forward to you reply.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vickyokrm View Post
    Hi Petercram, I hope you are recovered well. Did you get any post-op problems like throat muscle tension, difficult swallowing..etc. I recently had more or like same fracture but on the left side. Its now 6 months after op and I face some minor difficulties when swallowing. How is it like after many year from surgery.

    Looking forward to you reply.
    Replied via PM

  22. #22
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    I hope you've had a full recovery!

    So glad we have a ton of viable full face helmets that vent well now since 2014. Definitely reinforces my reasoning to ride with one.

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