Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jaw Tales: Part Two

I learned a few things while I had my mouth wired shut. I learned:

A) I normally talk A LOT.

B) Eating is a huge part of nearly any social gathering.

C) There are approximately 4,435 advertisements for food on during the typical hour of television programming.

D) Buying, cooking, and serving food to your children and husband--food you cannot eat--is a form of torture.

E) Strangers do not respond well to persons speaking through clenched, wired-together teeth.

One day while I still had my jaws wired shut, I took the kids to the zoo. I had to get out of the house, and the park was not cutting it with the kiddos any more, so I loaded up the stroller and headed to the zoo. When I got there and up to the gate, I realized I had forgotten my membership card. I stood, two bags slung over my shoulder, Evan in my arms, Sonny Boy in the stroller and tried to speak through the little round circle in the Plexiglas of the booth at the entrance of the zoo. "Izzz a memmmbber. Izz a memmmmber. Nooooo carrrrrd. No carrrrrd." With my one free hand I tried to write in the air--an obvious sign for the woman to give me a pen so I could write her a note. She just watched my flailing hand in alarm. Though by this time, the drooling was not as big of a problem, I am very sure there was probably some starting to escape by the time I had repeated the above dialogue and hand motions for the fifth time. Finally, she held up her hand to get me to stop, shook her head and said with a GREAT deal of pity in her voice, "Just go on in."

Now, I had decided before the surgery that I would use this opportunity given to me by the universe and my surgical team to kick my drinking problem. You see, I was seriously addicted to Diet Pepsi which I considered the perfect breakfast beverage. I also considered it the perfect mid-morning drink, lunchtime drink, one hour past lunch time drink...well I think you get the idea. I had tried to kick the habit before but had never been able to get the monkey off my back. The lure of the fizz, the thrill of the phenylalanine always drew me back. However, I figured with my jaw wired shut, and the pain medication I'd be on for the first week or so, it was the perfect time to make the change. The week before my surgery, I drank gallons of my chemical-ridden, artificially-sweetened liquid in a dramatic good-bye scene.

The Ensure was going down a bit easier these days, though I still had to feed myself in the bathroom, but my weight continued to go down. I was tired from running after the kids, cleaning, cooking--all those things. HOB went out and bought me protein-filled drinks and I promised to try and get them down though they tasted about the same as Ensure, except with a little added chalk dust for that added repulsion factor.

It was one of those days when I was exhausted, frustrated, and sick and tired of dragging around when I opened the refrigerator to get my plastic bottle of the protein drink and there it was sitting in the refrigerator: my good-time buddy, my vacation-in-a-can, my instant synapse lubricant. I looked around. Ohhhhh. Caffeine would make everything OK and tea or coffee wasn't really an option and, shot couldn't hurt. The kids were busy. They'd never notice me gone for the few minutes I'd need.

I went back to the bathroom in the master bedroom, shut the door, set the can on the counter and opened it. (The pop! The blessed sound of the metal peeling against metal! The friendly, seductive hiss to welcome me back! ) I got out my syringe, stuck the point in the top of the can and drew out the lovely brown liquid into the cylinder. Then I threw back my head, stuck the syringe in and pushed the plunger to feel the sweet, familiar burn on the back of my throat.

Suddenly, the door opened and HOB stood there. "What are you doing?" he asked. The fluorescent lights above the sink seem to grow brighter, bringing a harsh, institutional light to the scene. I withdrew the syringe and turned around, "Nuffffiiiinnnng," I said, hiding the syringe behind my back and trying to look innocent. He came over and turned me around to face the mirror. Brown liquid dripped down my chin onto my shirt. "Oooooo," I said. "Ooooooo. Ooooooo."

You would think I would recount that last scene and call it my "hitting rock bottom" moment, but, no. To me, it was a pretty exciting discovery to find this new delivery system for my rediscovered friend. Nutritionally unsound, completely devoid of any vitamins, or minerals and one heck of a way to get through the day. I began using it as a chaser for the Ensure. (Note to Diet Pepsi People: think about that last idea as a marketing campaign. It could open up a entirely new market for you!)

Each year I place on my list of New Year's Resolutions "Drink Less Diet Pepsi" and for the most part I HAVE. However, there are times such as 1) Starting a new semester (This Monday!) 2) the start of a migraine attack (Probably this Tuesday!) and 3) a road trip of any kind (This Wednesday!) when I allow myself as much as I want.

Most days, I have just one can, maybe two and I drink it in a glass with ice and a straw, but I've saved my syringe should my family ever need it for me in the very distant future when they visit me at the nursing home.

They'll know exactly what to do.


LoisW said...

LMAO! Having your jaws wired shut makes you type more! Too funny! I have one of those syringes filled with liquid valium for my dog if he goes into a seizure and doesn't come back out. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about using some of it!!!

Wisconsin Parent said...

OMG! I need to meet you. I want to be the lady working at the zoo. You realize they probably made a nickname for you and talk about you when the cool zoo teens do whatever they do for fun. I have TMJ, so if it ever gets bad, I'm borrowing the syringe.

Pat Tillett said...

although this and the other posts were extremely funny, I'm glad it's all behind you now! I can't imagine eating that stuff....Yuck!

Okay, may I teleport back to the present now?