Monday, March 10, 2008

I Broke My Face

The maxilla, to be precise. It's the upper jaw and front plate of the face.

Many months ago the trash collector crashed the dumpster for the apartment building behind our house into our fence along the alley and left it wobbly. I nailed a 2x4 to the fence and the play fort to stabilize the fence and mentally put it on that never-ending list of things to get to someday.

The board is horizontal about 5 feet off the ground. Pam and I have bumped into it doing yard work, and over time it has weathered and taken on the color of the fort, fence and branches of the green-less bushes in winter. And it's somewhat obscured from main sight lines, on the south side of the fort near the alley.

There. Those are about all the excuses I can string together for breaking my own face.

Playing tag with the girls Saturday night, I came tearing around the corner of the fort and basically clothes-lined myself. I am sure it looked hilarious to anyone watching from the apartment building, like a wipeout captured on home video, or one of those stunts in a Jackass movie. (How galling for a Republican.)

Took it right in the chops, apparently as an uppercut. Front teeth were blasted up into the maxilla, which fractured. I think the board took two more bites out of me. There's a small cut on the bridge of my nose (probably from glasses) and a bruise on my forehead. I didn't think I could move fast enough to cause such damage. I'm probably lucky my nose wasn't broken and my glasses weren't smashed into my eyes.

I think I landed on my side. I felt for my teeth with my tongue and they weren't there. I rolled over on my stomach, thinking there might be lose teeth in my mouth/throat. Lots of blood, of course, and I didn't want to gag on that or teeth. Didn't hurt as much as I expected, but I was probably in mild shock. I imagine it looked gruesome. I was trying to hide my face from the girls.

I determined with my tongue that the teeth seemed to still be there, but were knocked up and out of their usual spot. It turned out to be that just two or three were affected. Pam said they were sticking almost straight out and the roots of one were exposed.

Faithful friend Paul Rea, invited over for dinner, ended up putting on dinner for the kids and holding down the fort while Pam took me to the emergency room at CUMC.

(Have you had breakfast yet?) The admitting nurse must have been having a bad night. My eyes were closed as she drew blood and inserted an IV. I heard her ask Pam to grab a towel and help clean up the mess. Apparently gallons of my blood were running all over the place. Later when my eyes were open, I noticed a concentration of blood spatters about a foot in diameter on the ceiling. Pam said it shot right out of my arm.

First ER physician was like someone in a comedy skit. "Oh my gosh! That looks terrible!" Great bedside manner. And he said I probably wouldn't be able to get treatment by a mouth doc until Monday.

There was an oral surgeon available at the dental school. And there just happened to be a dental student working on some catch-up projects who was able to assist. Pam took me over to the dental school and chompers were pushed and wired back in place. Prognosis is that all the teeth will survive and everything will heal OK.

My McDermott overbite is extended a bit, but the right front tooth, knocked crooked by a bad-hop ground ball off the bat of Mark Martinez 20-some years ago, is now straight. (There were runners on second and third. I was playing second and dove left. While I was stretched out, the ball took a bad hop and ricocheted sideways up into my face. However, it saved a run because the runner on second was not able to score, and Westside Chapel won the game. What are you laughing at? This matters to people who play fastpitch softball. When Chris Ayala is the opposing pitcher, every run counts.)

My sinuses have never been this unclogged.

I'm taking a pain pill the size of large cockroach so I'm feeling OK.

Maybe I should take down that board in the back yard.

Maybe I should have someone else take down that board.


OmaSteak said...

Wow! You're very lucky that you weren't more seriously hurt. I hope you recover quickly and without any lasting damage.

Anonymous said...

Where are the pics?

Chip Maxwell said...


I love it!

No pics. I never saw the carnage. My wife did. She was not inclined to capture it on film for posterity. She took me to the ER and was amazed that the oral surgeon could put everything pretty much back in place.

I was hoping for some marked improvement. No such luck. (Thought I'd say it before someone else did.)