“Well, hello there, stranger.”
You’d think that after living with the same body for four decades, there wouldn’t be any surprises left. That is, other than the usual age-related changes. I’m getting all too used to them. You, too? My sympathies.
Much in the same way, I’ve gotten all too used to the weirdities accompanying four decades of arthritis. As soon as I think I’ve heard of every ramification, there’s another something brought to my attention.
Earlier this week, I was grabbing a bite for dinner, and as I bit down softly, my lower left jaw CRUNCHED – and CRUMBLED?? I’m not talking my usual lil’ TMJ issues. I’m talking a big ol’ huge OUCH. Then, my jaw stuck. No movement, no how. Interesting predicament indeed.
Now what? Is this really worthy of a trip to the ER? C’mon, buck up. It’ll self-correct. (That’s my usual way out of any medical appointment. Not that I recommend it. Do as I say, not as I do, thank you very much.)
Patience. Just gotta work it out. Crack. Got it. Whew.
Crack again. All evening long. Days later, it still crunches, but at the same time, there’s a newfound relief and release in it.
Don’t know that I want to see anyone medical about it. I don’t particularly want to deal with whatever nasty news I might hear.
Like news that my dentist offered not so long ago. Preceding the nastier news was news of the more curious kind. I thought I merely had a new tooth growing in under my gum line. Seems odd for a forty-something year old, but stranger things have probably happened. Found out it wasn’t a tooth at all, but a bony growth calcification. Just like my tell-tale arthritic knobby fingers and wrists. Sheesh. Does bone growth have to happen even under my gum line?
He went on to share that it’s the same calcification buildup as the ridge on the upper and lower palates of my mouth. I have ridges?? Am I supposed to have ridges??? Hmm, my tongue started tracing the outline. When did this happen, and why? Amazing how things happen so slowly to our bodies that we’re no longer aware that an abnormality is an abnormality.
Weird, scary, freaky. My dentist continued on about my jaw bones. Needless to say, arthritis has messed with them, too. He said eventually I’ll likely need jaw surgery. He offered to provide good contacts. Nice. And oy. Does the need for surgery on this ol’ bod never end?
So then I wonder, is the crunch that I experienced this week related to the news I received about my jaw? If so, can I forego treatment and simply work out a tune using my new cracking capabilities?
I’m placing bets with myself as to how long I procrastinate before mentioning this newest development to my medical team. Will it get worse – or better? Will I be creating my own new percussion instrument soon?
Stranger things have happened.
This article appeared originally in The Journal of Nursing Jocularity. Published on IDA with permission.