Posted by: Jamie Stamm | January 25, 2009

Holy halitosis, Batman! (OK, I’m done with the Batman references – I promise)

Cera’s doctor and nurses advised us about a lot of the possible aftereffects of her surgery, including pain in her throat and ears, changes in her voice and the need to breath through her mouth while she’s sleeping (which she’s always done anyway). They cautioned us to watch for bleeding from her nose and throat and warned us of the danger of dehydration.

But no one told us about the bad breath. And even if they had, I don’t think we would have been prepared for just how bad it is.

Cera’s been brushing her teeth, albeit gently, and we’ve allowed her to start chewing gum (which a nurse told me is good for tonsillectomy patients because it encourages swallowing and stimulates the movement of blood in the throat), but still … the stench wafting from her mouth is incredibly strong. And it’s not what I typically associate with halitosis. It’s sweet, in a way, and … I’m struggling to find the words to describe it.

OK, you know how in cartoons a character will eat onions or anchovies and then walk by a garden and his breath will cause all the flowers to wilt? Well, let’s just say I’m starting to feel like one of those flowers.


I’ve done some research online and now know that Cera’s stinky breath is completely normal. It’s the result of her surgical sites beginning to heal (yeah!) and the introduction of different foods – mostly liquid – to her diet (apparently, soup, fruit juice and sorbet can cause some serious rankness).

The good news? We’re having Cera do exactly what she should be doing to beat back her bad breath: teeth-brushing, gum-chewing and sleeping with a humidifier. A lot of Web sites also recommend gargling with salt water, but I’m not sure she’s ready for that.

The bad news? Her temporary halitosis could last up to three weeks.

Thankfully, Cera doesn’t seem to realize just how bad her breath is – I wouldn’t want her to be embarrassed by it, as it’s no fault of her own. So for now, Jer and I are doing our best to grin and bear it. I just hope Anthony doesn’t come to notice his sister’s stench. Because I know he won’t hesitate to say exactly what the rest of us are thinking:

“Wow, Cera, your breath really stinks!”


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