Monday, July 25, 2005

A couple times now, I've had the pleasure of hanging out with Chris Piuma, Portland, OR resident, musician (he's in a band called the Minor Thirds), longtime ILXor, and a really cool guy all around. What I didn't know until tonight is that he's an avid cook, and has a blog where he notes the relative success or failure of the dishes he makes. "Dishes" is probably not quite right, actually--breads and baked goods predominate, at least in the four months or so's worth of archives I've read so far. The posts are short and to the point, but his love for trying stuff out and his general good nature make it a lot of fun.

I'm reading it with a degree of envy, actually--not just because I've seriously curtailed my sugar and starch intake over the past year thanks to the high-blood-sugar doctor's warnings I detailed some time ago, but because this weekend I've had a weird jaw problem. For some reason my right jaw has become disaligned a few times over the past year or so--sleeping on airplanes has been a conspicuous contributor to this--usually by what feels like a good amount of distance. I remember reading that the tongue feels things as being a lot larger than they actually are, and a similar thing occurs with the mouth as a whole. Usually, it feels like the distention of the jaw is about an inch or so (obviously this is impossible given the contours of my head, which is actually pretty small in proportion to the rest of me). This is followed by a lot of extremely painful mouth movements in an attempt to put the thing back in place; this can go on for ages, and always ends with a sharp movement that crunches it back in place, which hurts exactly as much as it sounds times four.

Friday morning, though, was different. Instead of having it feel completely out of line, it was more like a millimeter compared to the usual inch. But that millimeter was sharp and acute; attempting to clench the right side of my teeth together felt like having a needle stuck between my jawline and my ear. Through the day, I brought my molars down slowly and gently, working up to where I felt comfortable attempting to chew, and my lunch (the sashimi platter at the newish Japanese place downstairs, which I have at least once a week--I'd do it more often if it weren't so pricy) went fine, though the softness of the food probably had a lot to do with it. Around six o'clock, though, I bit down without thinking about it and nearly hit the ceiling: after about four hours of inactivity, the pain had redoubled and the area hurt worse than ever.

Naturally, I called my mom. "I'm thinking of going to ER," I said. "Do you have insurance?" she asked. "Yeah, through work," she said. "Do it!" she replied. I then called Group Health's 24-hour nurse line; they said a visit would be fine and that, in the meantime, I should take Ibuprofen and eat soft food. "Do you have a blender?" she asked. "You should get some yogurt and bananas and make smoothies." I don't have a blender, but another suggestion seemed decent enough: scrambled eggs, which I like but don't eat very often. "Just relax your jaw and eat soft foods and it should be fine."

I cabbed home with the intention of dropping my things off and heading to the hospital. After I got in, I realized something: I had something better than Advil--I still had the Vicodin I'd been prescribed post-surgery last fall. I took one, drank some water, and read. Later, at 3 a.m., I foraged to the nearby, 24-hour Mecca Cafe and ate a plain omelete with cheese and some hashbrowns. Two nights later, my jaw still hasn't relocated itself entirely, but it's a lot better than it was. I've also eaten enough eggs to fill an aviary and some bananas as well. But if my mouth is still not working perfectly by the time this Vicodin runs out, I'm heading to ER to see what the fuck is the matter.