State of the Blueinthislight, 1/27/13

Just to let you guys know I’m alive.  Due to blinding, constant pain in my jaw, long suspected to be this, there were moments where the alternative seemed kinder.  It drove me to the ER on Wednesday, in fact, as I was convinced my jaw was dislocated.  TMJ can do that, apparently.  And it is officially TMJ now, because a doctor said so.  I’d long suspected due to previous and much less severe flare-ups that it was, and now I know.

As it happened, my jaw wasn’t actually dislocated, it’s just that the muscles on the right side of my jaw were so strongly and unrelentingly contracted that it’s stretching my jaw out of alignment.  I mean, I knew the jaw muscles were really powerful, but goddamn.  They also have some kinda endurance, because they still are.  It lets off a tiny little bit each day.

If that sounds bad to you, let me just confirm that it is in fact as painful as you might imagine.  While that’s the worst part – it seriously, seriously hurts – there’s more, as you might expect when half of your face goes haywire on you.  Currently, it feels as though someone injected a bunch of foam rubber in there; it’s reminiscent of that novocaine feeling you get when a dentist sticks you up with that stuff, but a lot different.  The only reason it resembles injected rubber/novocaine rather than a baseball bat to the face is because of that Tylenol that has codeine in it.  Jaw will only open maybe an inch, and it doesn’t quite close right either.  Takes conscious effort to talk without chewing the inside of my right cheek, which is ironic considering that I am entirely unable to chew anything else, such as food.

It’s okay, I’m well-armed; aside from the happy Tylenols, I have cold compresses, chamomile (a decent muscle relaxant) and ER paperwork justifying potentially a fuckton of sick leave.  As well, the pain is mostly gone now; it gets sore toward the end of the day, but it’s mild, and I refuse to not talk.  There’s only so many concessions I am willing to make to an extremely unreasonable jaw.  Working against me is a horde of female relations who were already terrified for my nutritional well-being because I’m skinny, so you can imagine their reaction to the news that OMG I CAN’T EAT.  You cannot know how much chocolate pudding I have in my fridge right now.  And applesauce.  And Jello.  This sounds ungrateful, I know, but I’m not.  It’s only that under the circumstances, my profligate cynicism gets pretty much free reign until I consciously think to check it.  Plus, you have to admit that when you’re in severe pain and irrationally fearing that your jaw may be stuck like this forever, the last thing you need is to have people constantly asking how you’re doing, thereby reminding you of your sudden and painful deformity.  It is a deformity too:  if you look at my face very closely, you can see my jaw jutting off to my right very slightly.

It not only hurts like hell and takes away my ability to chew food, but it literally twists my beatific visage?  It’s like it’s tailor made to piss me off.

The ER trip scared me a bit.  I have what a Carter Blood-Taker vampire called White Coat Phobia (no seemingly relevant link on Wikipedia, sorry), so as they took me into the back to do the preliminary checking of blood pressure/pulse stuff, my heart rate was high.  The agony of my maw didn’t help much either.  She checked my blood pressure twice, resorted to taking my pulse on my wrist instead of using that finger thingie they have, and asked me if I normally have a fast heartbeat.  No, I don’t think so.  Then they take me back to a bed in a room full of beds, and judging from the way the others were moaning, I suddenly didn’t think my little jaw thing was all that bad.  Then she asks me to take off my shirt as she’s getting out wires for that heart monitor thingie that’s always flatlining in TV shows; you know what I mean.  This has me thinking fuck, how fast was my pulse anyway?  Nightmare scenarios about underlying problems, most of them cancer, begin to form in my mind.  Then she starts putting sticky pads on my chest and hooks me up.

Doctor shows up a little later, I tell him I think my jaw’s dislocated, tell him why, the history, etc.  He feels my jaw and, oddly, sticks his fingers in my ears while he tells me to open my mouth.  No idea.  I’d usually ask, but talking hurts.  He says he doesn’t think it’s dislocated and tells me about TMJ as if I didn’t know what it was.  I start nodding immediately so as to show my preexisting knowledge of said acronym/disorder, incredibly irrationally annoyed that he disagrees with my diagnosis.  I know it’s TMJ, duh.  He prescribes x-rays.  You’re goddamn right x-rays.  We’ll see who’s right, doctor.

They wheel me shirtless to the x-ray room; or, well, not shirtless exactly, but the gown I had kinda looked like how a little kid would make a toga, I mean what the fuck.  I overhear the woman taking my x-rays asking questions of another older woman standing in the background like some CIA handler or something.  So good, trainee taking my x-rays.  She also took my glasses off my face, which pisses me off so bad, but anyway.  Get wheeled back to the bed, doc comes in a few minutes later:  no dislocation.  Fucking asshole.

I have no idea why I wanted to be right about that so bad, but I do know that had it been a dislocation, they could have reset my jaw and the pain would have ended.  As is, there’s pretty much nothing they can do.  So it wasn’t entirely my absurd ego scoffing at the notion that a doctor knows more about medicine than me.  It also rendered the whole exercise pointless, as I only went to the ER because I thought they’d need to reset my jaw, and I know they have to use like muscle relaxers and general anesthetic for that, so I figured a general practitioner would just send me to the hospital anyway.  Ah well.

So, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.  It fucking sucks.  In other news, I’m very behind on my writing, as horrific pain does make it difficult to concentrate.  Upcoming:  a Book Report on Moby Dick and an article on science and religion that I’ve been meaning to write for a while.  Sneak preview:  I enjoy various crucial aspects of both and consider that there is no conflict between the two.  Or actually, more like the conflict is manufactured by overly militant science nerds and religious fundamentalists, both acting as though they represent the whole of their respective sides.  I’m gonna try to make some peace.  I also have to catch up on the blogs I follow, particularly that kindly vegan woman’s and B-Dog’s.  Have not been capable of reading with attention for a while now.

It’s gonna be jawsome.

Yep, I went there.  I always go there.


18 thoughts on “State of the Blueinthislight, 1/27/13

  1. You poor boy! I had the same issues a few years ago. It meant braces, jaw realignment, tooth extractions, tooth implants and lots of pain meds.

    I wish you well on you journey to better jaw health.

    Did anyone mention mouth guards to help with teeth grinding?

    Try to dump some of the stress in your life. Could help…just sayin!

    BTW…enjoying your blogging…


    Sent from my iPad

    • Ugh. This is the first severe episode, so I’m hoping it won’t come to all that. Pain’s gone, and my jaw seems to be slowly migrating back to normal. We’ll see. Sorry you had to go through all that; I wish I couldn’t sympathize, but I sure can.

      The doctor mentioned mouth guards if it didn’t clear up in a few days, yes. Right now it’s just inflamed spasming muscles, so that can’t forever. And about the stress…it’s funny that this started a little after I got lax in my yoga and meditation. Just sayin.

      Thanks for the kind words about my blog, there’s nothing a writer likes to hear more. Are you from Bat World’s Facebook?

  2. First of all – get we… better soon

    Second WHAT THE FUCK

    You just saved me a lot of trouble (well it will maybe cause some, as I HATE going to doctors) because THAT COULD BE IT. This really would explain a lot!

    I don´t want to go into details (spreading details of my medical conditions over the Internet is not really my thing), but it may well be possible that TMJ is what causes previouisly unexplainable symptoms. I mean, they aren´t as bad as yours, but to have a better explanation for such as my headaches and tinitus than the constant fear of suffering from a brain tumor really would do me some good.

    The ER experience must have been hell (all of my hospital visits have been quite traumatic, so I guess I have an idea how you felt), but I hope maybe it makes you feel a bit better when you know that you may really have helped someone with that story a great deal. I know it´s not a very effective painkiller but I just had to let you know.

    Sorry for the bad grammar, I´m just kinda really excited at the moment.

    So thank you (a lot) for posting this, looking forward to your upcoming posts


    • It can cause tinnitus and migraines both, yes…I never got the tinnitus except when the jaw pain was at its absolute worst; I was like “huh, so that’s what pain sounds like.” Migraines, though, I would get all the time, especially in the cold. Not to give medical advice, but at the first twinge of jaw pain I’d bite the bullet and go see a doctor while you can still bite things. My jaw IS realigning itself, but very, very slowly.

      I found this like seconds before I saw your comment, it’s a few exercises you can do that are supposed to correct TMJ…I’ve only done the first one, and only once, but it seems like my right back teeth are making a little better contact even after that. You might check it out: Hope it can help.

      And I wouldn’t be spreading this on the internet either if I weren’t strictly anonymous, I understand. You’ve helped me too, as well: it’s good to know I’m not the only one who worries about arcane cancers unnecessarily. Was feeling a bit sheepish about that.

      • Yeah, I guess you´re right about the doctor… have to make a couple of appointments in that area anyway, so what´s one more… thanks for the link, guess I´ll try it 🙂

        On worrying about medical conditions – don´t feel sheepish, happens to many people, there even is a new psychological illness called cyberchondria ( ).
        I myself have been reading too many websites about medicine and psychology and stopped researching at some point, because it really became a nuisance.
        But sometimes it would help I guess ^^

      • Cyberchondria…that’s really interesting. It’s not surprising, though…having all that information a few keystrokes away is a hugely powerful thing, but then huge power’s always a volatile thing. Plus there is that strange contingent of online people who seem to almost brag about all their various ailments…it’s like…good for you? I guess? Never really got that.

  3. Oh, forgot something over the excitement:

    Another thanks because I´ve been looking for an exact definition of “duh” for quite a while now (turns out it really helps to spell it right…) because an irish friend of mine used it quite a lot, so actually I figured out what it means by then, but allways wanted to have an affirmation that I´m right before throwing the word around on every appropriate occasion ^^

    • Sorry, I always forget your first language is German, and duh is one of those dumb words that isn’t really a word. I guess you’d say you’d use it when something is self-evident and somebody else either points it out anyway or fails to understand it. But you figured it out, huh?

      Oh, and if you have any questions about the TMJ thing (I know you don’t want to ask here…) my email is It’s a secondary spam trap/anonymous account, but I’d be happy to give you my real email from there if you’d prefer.

      • ^^ no need to apologise, I´ll take that as a compliment *g*
        Yeah, I figured it out, he really used it a lot and we mostly watch english movies and series, heard it there quite often.
        guess you´ll get mail on the TMJ thing (I really use the word “guess” a lot today…) thanks for the offer 🙂

      • Did you email me yet about it? I just remembered and checked (I don’t check that account all that regularly), but I didn’t see anything. Just wanna make sure hotmail didn’t eat it or something.

  4. a. kinda like homer s sayin “DOH!” a lot
    b. i suspect that your comment of needing attentiveness to read certain blogs is prob’ly validated for most the blogs you follow … but “B-Dawg’z”?? no attenshun (w)reekwired to float ‘n bobb alawng in thet!
    c. i will definitely not belittle nor be dee-raw-gittory about TMJ and you, but, heck, my inner nature wants to, of course. i was diagnosed with BPV in later december and the dr. said there’s nothing which can be done about it.
    d. at least that’s a darn good XXXkey-yoose that you have diminished writing for a spell. i ain’t got no good XXXkey-yoosississ for, if not writing anything, then not writing anything meaningfull nor profound nor at least moderately entertaining. however,
    e. your ‘parkour’ story ignited (if there’s any capacity for combustion upstarez), yes, sparked MY ‘parkour’ story in return. so … your E R aversion reminds me … i had an amusing hospital experience (a singular experience, whenst compared to all the other xpeeeree-NN-sis). heh. i should get to werk awn knit. (thnx).

    • Haha, I wondered if you’d notice the B-Dog thing. Don’t normally decapitate people’s names that way, it just came to me suddenly. I’m about to go get caught up on your writings right after I get this typed out.

      I looked up BPV, that sounds terrible. A guy I work with either had that or some other vertigo thing…that was no joke, sorry to hear you’re dealing with it.

      And you should definitely write up that hospital story. Your last story was fucking hilarious. So was the one before that, actually.

  5. okay, it’s YOUR FAULT: your E R leeriness ignited (well, the elec wires prob’ly smoulderd) another story at my end. i didn’t intend the pun, let’s say intended.

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