Friday, September 5, 2008

Just jawing about the jaw

I had quite an educational day today. Actually, it started last night when I learned that a sneezing spell or just taking off your shirt can really hurt a tender jaw.

I had what seemed like an endless and very vicious sneezing bout starting at dinner and continuing for a while. At one point I asked joed to grab me a kleenex and he said sure, wandered out to where they were, looked right at them for a while, then brought back a magazine. Fortunately, his sister hooked me up with a tissue, and he did go get me one when we told him specifically what I wanted.

Like I said it could have been the sneezing that re-hurt my jaw or it could have been when I was taking off my shirt and it got stuck on my jaw. But it was popping like crazy when I went to work. I forced down one muffin, ignoring the pain, then tried the other one but had to give up.

I called Mom and asked her to call my dentist as it hurt to do anything that moved my mouth. When Mom called me back I learned the next fact: My dentist has a nice life, working four days a week. He probably works four 10-hour days, but nevertheless, he's got it good. Mom then got me an appointment with the physician's assistant at my doctor's office.

My dentist did have an emergency number, which Mom called and left a message, and when he called back I got some new mandible facts. He told Mom that there is a disc of cartridge between the two parts of the jaw and the popping of my jaw is the muscles trying to get it back in place. That made all kinds of sense. All morning it had felt like the jaw was misaligned and the pop would hurt like hell but then it would feel better for 30 seconds before it slipped out of place again.

He said to take Advil regularly and don't eat hard food and come in Tuesday like I was scheduled. Suck it up, basically.

I went to see the PA next. I told her what the dentist said and she agreed. I learned here that the doctor at the workplace clinic isn't the only one worried about my neck. She was feeling all over my neck, poking and squeezing. Finally, satisfied my neck was OK, she turned her attention to jaw. She asked me to open and close and when it popped said, Oh yeah.

She then told me that the jaw muscles are getting stretched by all this, so they are sore, too, and she said they are really powerful, more powerful than one's hamstrings. She said they tell you in med school never, ever to stick your finger in someone's mouth unless you don't want it anymore because the jaw muscles are powerful enough to bite a finger off.

That is about all I learned. As we were leaving the office, she said to a co-worker: Isn't that the cutest dog you have ever seen? But I already knew that about Claren.

Oh yeah, last one: Even if you are really hungry but can't eat anything because of pain, don't eat electric-blue Pez and a roll of Smarties right before you see a doctor. She is going to wonder why your tongue is blue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You do have some of the most intersting medical/dental experiences.
mtc

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