Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ask Bella: Sleeping after jaw surgery

Q: I have a question for you that I don't recall any mention of in your blog - How exactly did you manage to sleep through the first few weeks of recovery? I'm reading a lot of comments from people about the necessity of sleeping in an almost upright position. I've been on the hunt for some kind of reclining chair, but I would hate to buy something I'll never use again. What did you do to manage? Any suggestions/tips?

A: Thanks for the question! You're right - I don't think I've talked about that at all on this blog.

In the hospital, they'll have the upper part of your bed elevated. At home, you can do the same thing by putting a stack of pillows behind your head/shoulders. No need for a special chair at all, or to sleep in an upright position - just propped up. I think some people get carried away with getting all kinds of accessories for this surgery!

I bought a pillow with arms on it, which is sometimes called a "Bed Rest Pillow." It works really well at keeping your upper body elevated without being completely upright. It looks like this:
It was inexpensive - something like $30 - and should be available in department stores. It makes more sense than buying a special chair for just a few weeks. Plus, I'd rather sleep in my own bed than in a chair, wouldn't you?

I slept propped up for a month or so after surgery. I found that I got used to it, and that after I started sleeping without the bed rest pillow, it was strange to get used to the "normal" way again.

Good luck and sweet dreams!

*To ask Bella a question about her jaw surgery, email her at smilingbella at gmail dot com or leave a comment on this post. Go ahead: ask away!!


Shannon said...

Similarly, I went to our local thrift store and dropped $30 on a used recliner for just that purpose. I basically lived in the living room for the first few weeks (until I felt ok/got the ok to lay more flat) in this chair. I could recline it as needed, upright for meals, down for sleeping, somewhere in between for tv/laptop/visits. Similar in price spent, and it prevented me from being cooped up in the bedroom for weeks.

Virginia said...

I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and spent $20 on a foam wedge, then stacked my most comfy memory foam pillows on it as needed (I have the non-contoured ones that are shaped like normal pillows, only heavier). This worked so well for me that my SO went out and got one for himself so we could both sleep propped up. :)

Debbie said...

I had my surgery done last Friday morning but wasn't told how to sleep, wasn't told much to be honest but it was the girl in the next bed who told me to sleep upright. I used 6 pillows stacked at an angle on the bed to sleep but last 2 nights I thought I'd try sleeping more flat. That didn't work so well, I woke up this morning with the feeling that my jaw had been re-broken on the left side. I'm guessing that this doesn't happen so it's just pain making it feel that way. I took painkillers n it's still sore. The doctors and surgeons really need to talk and discuss the way to sleep after this kind of surgery because as I said I wasn't told very much, let alone how to sleep. I'm in Northern Ireland so maybe our doctors n surgeons don't care about telling us these things coz we don't pay for the surgery but I think they should. Just thought I'd share my view on this topic.

Anonymous said...

The doctors in the States do not tell you how to sleep either, Debbie


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