Thursday, February 18, 2010

all up in his grill

so, j's jaw is wired shut. for six weeks. it all started on valentine's day, because, you know, nothing says "i love you" like an eight hour date in the ER followed by some oral surgery. not even a teddy bear holding chocolates! not even edible underwear! not even close. especially if your idea of romance includes listening to disoriented elderly people moaning and teenage stabbing victims cussing out nurses, and, like, having to wait 6 hours for your injured honey to get stitches on a cut that won't stop bleeding, and all the while he can't really talk because his jaw is broken in three places. the romance of it all! don't underestimate it.

see, we wanted to go to the beach. our friends ted & kelly were staying with us for the weekend with their two little girls, and it felt like summer outside, so we packed up our gear, jumped into two cars, and headed to the pumps. j brought his longboard and headed out to catch some waves almost as soon as we got settled. and the waves were big that day - we've been having some great waves this winter and he hadn't surfed in a few days so he was happy to get out there. ted, kelly, and i hung out with the girls - f was content to splash around in the whitewash.

and i was feeling pretty lucky about it all - the rest of the country was dealing with all kinds of nasty weather, and they don't call it the "sunshine tax" here in san diego for nothing, right? but when i saw j come walking up with his blood covered hand on his neck, that lucky feeling disappeared pretty quickly. he had about a one-inch cut on his neck, and as soon as i saw it, i knew it needed stitches. he also was keeping his teeth kinda clenched and he kept saying "i think i shattered a tooth" which gives me the pee shivers just thinking about it. we were both trying to stay calm, but it was clear that it wasn't good, you know? like i was seeing how the rest of the day was going to play out, and it wasn't going to be fun. i knew he was in pain and that alone had my belly in knots.

ted and i walked j up to his truck and helped him change out of his wetsuit, and ted put him in their rental car and they took off to the ER. kelly & i and auntie j (who had just arrived) rounded up j's board, all our beach gear, and the three little girls, and headed back to our house. and for the first couple hours, it seemed like it was going to just be a matter of a few stitches and a trip to the dentist. but around 2pm, ted called and told me that they had just done a cat scan on j and that i should probably get over there - his jaw was broken.

i left f at our house with kelly & her girls and went to hang out with j in the ER. we ended up being there all night long. he finally went into surgery at 9:30pm and that's when they wired his jaw shut. set it and forget it, all as-seen-on-TV-rotisserie style. he came home the next day and now it's a matter of managing his pain and coming up with liquid food that sounds appealing to him. he's staying positive, despite some serious pain from startling himself awake at night, and one of his bottom teeth has already chipped from the way his jaw was set. good times. f, bless her heart, has been so funny about it. we were honest with her, in terms she could understand: dad's surfboard hit him in the mouth, the doctor put "braces" in his mouth to help him get all better, and he'll be talking funny and need us to be gentle with him until the braces come off. she loves checking out his grill and has asked him to stop talking funny a few times, but she's also being so gentle with him, giving him lots of snuggles and bringing him toys "to make him feel better". because nothing makes a wired-shut jaw feel better like a stuffed cheetah, right?

lil wayne's got nothing on him.


  1. Wow, so sorry to read this. I had my jaw wired shut - voluntarily - when I was 18 or 19 . . . for different reasons, correcting my bite, braces forever, etc. It was not fun but I did lose tons of weight. You can get thin pipe cleaners to "brush" your teeth, I'm sure the docs already told you that, right? I hope they have a better way to remove the wires since 1990. That was the worst part for me. They just clipped the wires and yanked them out. If they still do that, make sure you have something for the pain and plenty of distractions. Good luck!

  2. Wow, sorry to read that. I had my mouth wired shut back in 1990 - voluntarily - believe it or not. It was to correct my bite, braces forever, etc. Not fun. I remember they have me clippers so that should I vomit, I can clip the wires and not choke on my own barf. Good times. I did lose tons of weight though. How long will it be wired shut? I'm sure someone has told you you can get super thin pipe cleaners to "brush" your teeth, right? Don't know how they take the wires out but that was the worst part for me. Back then they just clip the wires and yank them out. I could feel the metal wires being ripped out from my gums inside my mouth. If they still do that, ask for some drugs and have plenty of distractions. Good luck!

  3. judy! that sounds awful... i'll warn him. thanks for the heads up!

  4. Sounds really horrible. I am glad he's okay. Amazing how events such as these immediately give us a new perspective on the mundane and unimportant (yet still annoying) every day occurrences we regularly have to deal with.

    I hope the six weeks passes quickly!