I've already told the story a few times, so feel free to skip this post. If you want to read the whole story with details, you can find it here. It was two years ago that I fainted and broke my jaw. I know that people break bones all the time, and it's really not that big of a deal, but I had never had a broken bone in my life until that day. And on that evening, I fainted, fell flat on my face, and broke my jaw severely through in five places.
I still remember all the details so well. I remember what I was thinking, what I was feeling, what it felt like to try and clench my teeth together only to feel my lower jaw flopping in a way that it shouldn't. I remember thinking that I would go to the emergency room, have surgery to fix it, and then I'd be home by morning.
I had no idea just how bad off I was until the doctor showed me the x-rays. My lower jaw was in six separate pieces, and my teeth (which I spent five years in braces to straighten!) were horribly misaligned. I had a hole through the front of my lower lip where the bone had punctured through. I had another hole on the underside of my chin. I couldn't talk well to explain what had happened, and people at the hospital kept asking if my husband did this to me. And the pain. Oh, the pain.
I had no idea why I had fainted. I spent the next six days in the hospital having every test imaginable to determine the cause. I also had two surgeries (four hours and three hours), where they put my jaw back together with titanium plates and screws, and ending with wiring my jaw shut.
|My latest dental x-rays|
The doctors said the most likely cause was that I have low blood pressure. But we'll never know for sure what caused it. And thankfully, it hasn't happened again since!
The whole experience definitely changed me, however:
- I'm terrified to eat too much sugar in one sitting now--and I won't eat the Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream at all (that's what I ate that night).
- My lower lip is still numb from my lip to the bottom of my chin.
- I have scar tissue inside of my lower lip that feels weird, and it makes my lip stick out a little. Because of this, I now drool when I sleep because I can't keep my mouth closed (think Bubba on Forrest Gump, only not as severe) ;)
- I can't make 'p' or 'b' sounds when I'm smiling--my lips won't close to make the sound.
- My jaw is now noticeably larger on one side than it is on the other.
- I realized just how important health insurance is. Those six days in the hospital would have cost us over $57,000 if we didn't have insurance. I am so grateful that we do.
- I had the most amazing, caring surgeon. It was he who helped me get over my fear of surgery, which led to my getting a lower body lift (he was also the one who recommended my plastic surgeon).
- My family and friends are simply amazing. I can't even stress that enough. I needed help in so many ways, and they helped without my having to ask.
|Nathan, me, Jeanie, Brian, Jerry (and my kids, of course)|
Anyway, I'm not even sure what the point of writing this post was. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't give a thought to when I broke my jaw--when I brush my teeth, put on make-up, eat, talk, smile, sleep, whistle (I actually can't whistle anymore)--all of it reminds me. I actually don't even think of it in a negatively; it was a learning experience in so many ways!
The podcast interview that I did with Heather on Half Size Me aired today. If you'd like to listen, you can check it out here. You can also find it on iTunes here. I listened to it this morning, and I was so annoyed with myself for saying "um" way too often. So I am sorry for that! :)