Food and Diet
FOOD AND DIET
With the RED on, it's pretty hard to eat and swallow. Not being allowed to chew doesn't really help, so eating actually takes up most of your day. It is, however, vitally important that you get a lot of calories, otherwise, you won't heal or recover very fast, and they probably won't discharge you either. My surgeon said that you need AT LEAST 10% more calories than normal to recover, if not even DOUBLE the number of calories. He also said that it didn't really matter whether they were fatty calories, or healthy calories, as long as you got them, since they'll be going straght to the recovering area of your body.
Hate to break it to you, but you'll probably still be in the hospital for the first week after the surgery. You're probably going to have to eat whatever they bring you. The hospital will most likely put you on a liquids/pureed diet. Just so you know, the pureed beef tasted and looked the same as the pureed spaghetti (my dad and I are convinced that the hospital just has a special pureed mix that they label to be different foods, only to get you to eat it). With an RED on, it is very difficult to eat and talk, so you will probably have to start eating with syringes. Ask the nurse for a few different ones. Then experiment with them. The syringes will take apple sauce, different soup broth, different fruit juices. You can also try mashed potatoes (get the powdered potatoes that mix with water, since this kind is thinner and easier to swallow).
TIP: They will not give you pain medicine or let you out of the hospital until you consume and digest something, so make sure you TRY to eat something, even if it's just a little bit of applesauce.
AFTER THE HOSPITAL:
When you get out of the hospital, you have to get the food on your own. Here's what's probably the best for you:
20 gallons of Ensure
TIP: It will take you a while to eat, so make sure you have most of the day reserved for eating. When you are ready to start using utensils (spoons, forks, etc.), stick to the 'beginners' spoon. These spoons are the little small metal spoons with little baby designs on them. These spoons work because they are flatter than normal spoons. They can fit better since your mouth won't want to open very far. When you use the spoon, get something on the spoon, then turn the spoon upside down, then put it in your mouth (you may want to use a bib for the first week). Use your bottom teeth to scrape the pureed stuff off the spoon and into your mouth. You will not be able to use a spoon the normal way because your upper teeth will be blocked by part of the RED. You also won't be able to use straws (since you can't shut your mouth all the way), so I recommend the sports water bottles at Big 5 sports stores that squirt water into your mouth without needing to suck.
*Note: Someone I will refer to as "Minnie" has brought to my attention that fact that not all RED cases are midface procedures. Other RED procedures may require have the teeth wired together, leaving only a hole to eat through. In this case you will need to buy ALOT of straws!!!!!
AFTER THE FIRST COUPLE OF WEEKS:
Trust me, you will get incredibly sick and tired of Ensure or milk by this time. If you've mastered the art of eating with a chunky thing on your head, you're ready for the next level:
Overcooked noodles, mashed up (this can include mac&cheese)
Cream of Rice/Cream of Wheat with melted cheese
Refried beans mashed
Soft, milky eggs, mashed (take an egg or two, add milk, then microwave: ta da!)
Other mashed stuff
Cole slaw (but you'll have to swallow the little chunks whole)
Taco Bell's Burrito Supreme (get a Burrito Supreme, open it up and eat the stuff inside with a spoon)
TIP: Mashed is far different from pureed. Pureed is ground up to a liquid form, to the point where you can't tell what it is (sometimes it's better not to know). Mashed is ground up to an almost liquid form where you can sort of tell what it used to be.
TIP (compliments "Maggie"): Never eat pureed Whoppers