Thursday, October 04, 2007


This has happened to me, although I didn't have a gun. I wanted one, though.

The first time was twenty years ago. I was driving home late at night from a friend's house, when I yawned. After yawning, I realized my mouth wouldn't close. My jaw was stuck open, like an entrance to some crazy carnival ride.

I pulled into my driveway and sprinted into the house. Roommate Rich sat on the sofa, reading the evening paper. He didn't look up.

"Hey. Howyadoin'," he asked.

"guh," I answered, going into my bedroom to survey the damage in the mirror.

I tried manipulating my jawbone, pushing it back and forth with my fingers. With the palm of my hand, I tried hitting the underside of my chin hoping to snap my jaw shut. It was in vain. My jaw was set as if made of cement. Drool ran out of my mouth.

Bracing myself against Rich's inevitable horrified laughter and finger-pointing, I walked out into the livingroom, where he sat with the paper in front of his face.

"kkuh," I said.

"Hey. What's up?"

After emitting some strange clicking and gagging sounds from my throat, I poked the paper with my finger. Rich lowered the page and looked at the glory that was me.

"Jesus Christ!" he screeched. Predictably, he laughed. "Is your jaw locked open?" he asked.

I nodded, drooling.

He threw his paper aside. "Well," he pronounced, "Looks like we're going to the hospital!"

At the hospital (drool towel covering my mouth), we waited and waited. Tears ran down my face. It was excruciating.

Finally a nurse took me back to a bed, where she drew the curtain for privacy and ignored me for a couple of hours. After waiting in agony for an hour, I began picking up random items within my reach and throwing them, missile-like, across the ER. Not knowing what else to do with unruly and violent me, the nurses shot me full of sedatives and I passed out.

Waking, my jaw was back in place. Rich drove me home.

Fast forward to 2004, New Years' Day, 1:30 a.m. The Redhead, Bingo, Gant and I were in Utah. Bingo and I had been drinking scotch and champagne. They all went to bed and I stayed up to watch the Sex and The City marathon on HBO. Settled back against my pillows, I was very comfortable and sleepy.

Until I yawned.

Yes, it happened again.

This time, I didn't even attempt to move my jaw back into place. Panic sobered me up very quickly. I grabbed a pen and hotel notepaper and ventured into the Redhead's room. I poked her on the shoulder.

"What?" she asked drowsily, turning over to look at me. She gasped, "Oh no... not again! Are you serious?"

I nodded, drooling.

She got up and took me by the arm out into the hall.

She whispered, "What do we do?"

I scratched with the pen:

"hosp. drugs. ????"

"Oh, shit," breathed the Redhead.

In a crisis? The best person to have with you is the Redhead. She quickly ascertained where the nearest ER was, called to alert them that we were coming, got our coats, and drove me to the hospital.

She sat with me while we were waiting for the doctor. "Does it hurt a lot?" asked the Redhead fearfully.

I nodded, drool tissue in place. Tears ran out of my eyes.

The nurse came in with medical background paperwork to fill out. "Please answer these questions as honestly as you can," said the nurse.

"Could you give T-Bone something for her pain? She's in a lot of pain," said the Redhead.

"Sure-- we can give her some morphine. But we need the paperwork filled out first."

Weight: 150 (yeah, about five years ago).

Have you ingested any alcohol or drugs within the last 24 hours? If so, please list: 3 glasses champagne (and some beer, and erm... lots of scotch).

"You have to be honest, T-Bone," encouraged the Redhead.

"huh uh," I grunted.

Finally, the nurse gave me 10 ccs of morphine. A few minutes later, she asked, "Did that shot help at all?"

I shook my head.

"Okay. We'll give you some more."

Twenty ccs later, I was finally able to relax. In came the handsome young ER doctor.

"What have we got here? Oh! That's no problem. Just lean forward." He climbed onto the examining table behind me and reached around to my mouth, inserting his fingers inside and pressing on the sides of my face with his thumbs. Gingerly, he manipulated my jaw back into place.

Crying, I said, "Oh, thank you! I'm sooooo sorry you had to do this on New Years' Eve! I'm so sorry," I blubbered, all stoned and drunk.

"Oh, it's no problem!" said the handsome young doctor. "You should go home and sleep off this morphine. No solid food for three days. Just liquids. Here's some Tylenol in case you get a headache from the jaw trauma," he said. Then, "You have any questions?"

"Yeah-- are you married?" I said blearily.

He laughed. "Ah, yes. I am married."

"Well, go home to your wife. Thanks again. Happy New Year."

Late that morning, I woke up. On my nightstand was a glass of water with a straw. the Redhead had been to the local grocery store and the fridge was stocked with apple sauce, yogurt, juice.

After drinking and eating everything that vaguely qualified as liquid and laid on the couch to watch t.v. I greeted my family when they returned from a hike.

"I'm hungry," I announced. "I need food. Pizza."

"The doctor said no solid food for three days, T-Bone," said Bingo.

"I don't care. I'm really hungry."

So we went to the local pizza joint, where I dined on pepperoni pizza and salad.

Gant asked me, "So, when do we get to laugh about this?"

"Shouldn't be too long, G. Pretty soon, I'm thinking."

"Good," he said with a smile. "Because it really is funny."


Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA HA You forgot the part where you started throwing balled-up tissues in the ER in Moab too! And the entire towel was damp, poor you! And how I had to cover my ears and say "I'm not listening" to myself when the ER doc reached into your mouth.

And then for dinner (after the pizza, which was lunch) you had a burger, fries and a beer. As you toughed it out with the burger, I was all anxious and grim, as usual.

But anyway! Thanks for the nice compliment.

--the R

T-Bone said...

Oh yeah. I'd forgotten about those things. You gotta remember I started eating cereal at the age of two weeks, so it was inevitable that I wanted solid food after a whole twelve hours of "liquids". I do remember you cowering in the corner of the ER, sitting on the chair facing away from us. I thought you were gonna faint! We were in the perfect place for it!