I have always thought of myself as a pretty strong person. Maybe this is an inflated ego or a shallow self-important view, but it’s the truth. I’ve been through some shit and seen some things others might consider anti normal or even crazy. This weekend has brought me to a strange place.

 My father’s birthday rolls around once a year as birthdays often do. The unfortunate part is that he’s not around to blow out the candles. He died 15 years ago. For fifteen years I feel his loss more than other days a guaranteed twice a year. The date he died and the date he lived. October 15, 1946 was his birthday. He could never in my whole life remember the day I was born, but here I am still mentally ticking it off in my head year after year. (The day he died was December 9, 2001)

This post is not about that. Just one event of many this weekend. Our state has been bracing for an epic twice-in-a-lifetime storm. Generators sold out, batteries sold out, gas lines a block long. My husband was out of town for this, so it was ultimately my responsibility to prepare everything. Flashlights, water, bread, lemon bars, cookies, you know, basic needs. I did it. I prepared the shit out of this house! I pulled in patio furniture, I disassembled patio umbrellas, I asked the neighbor to hook up the RV battery. We were READY. 

We got rain, we got a wind gust, the power flickered off……. 10 seconds later it was back on and the storm was over. My kids were crying -disappointment the power didn’t go out! I was happy trees didn’t have to be removed from windows or cars or bodies, but my kids were mad the flashlights were once again a novelty and not a necessity. I offered to cut the power all day Sunday but they protested, “That would be booooooriiiiing!”

Sunday morning my cat decides around 4:30am things needed to be shaken up. She began relentlessly pawing at my bedroom door. It was a battle of wills. Hers was to get me up and incite my fury, mine was to squeeze the pillow as tight over my head as possible to not hear it. 

She won. I got up and hissed at her. She intelligently ran. An hour later it started again, but this time she ran into my room and under the bed. Something she never ever does. I fell back asleep with images of bears and/or coyotes and/or clowns prowling around downstairs and mentally put together escape plans for each scenario….so that I didn’t have to actually get up and check downstairs. That never ends well in the movies. I still have no idea why she behaved so strangely but it made the morning events that much more numb from sleep deprivation. 

After crawling downstairs once the kids were up, I check the bathroom mirror to assess the situation with my newly infected bottom TADs. (The 4 screws that were put in my upper & lower jaws four weeks ago) 

WARNING: this is where the gross begins. Proceed with caution

Right… mirror, gums: Still squishy. Still puss. Still big blisters gaining momentum towards surrounding teeth. Oddly no real pain, though, just a serious Nasty Factor. I rinse with warm salt water, spit, notice one inflammation has maxed out and now burst. 

Fucking gross. Why me? Why now? Why at all?! 

I like to think most people would react the same way, but I tested the tissue out after rinsing away the gore. I gently touch my finger tip to the swollen tissue, it remains intact. I gently touch the screw head and hear, “CRACK!”. I gasp. My kids shout from the other room, “What happened mom?!” I see the entire screw shift inside my jaw, below my teeth and it becomes clear what must happen next. 

I have to shut the kids up.

“What mom?! What happened?! I heard you gasp!”

They didn’t actually come to see. No one decided the sound warranted an expedition all the way to the next room. No. Mom reacts so much better to a situation when she has to field answers to two separate children in two different rooms all while speaking with what obviously sounds like a hand is in her mouth. 

“My screw just came loose!”

They react. I’m still staring in horror as my soul leaves my body so I can handle this. I watch myself grab the head of the screw and pull the entire thing straight out of my jaw bone. 

This was the pinnacle of my strength. 

What the fuck just happened?! This 3/4 inch skinny screw that still had tissue and matter attached is now in my hand as my kids are “Ewe”ing and “Blech!”ing from elsewhere. 

Talk about a nervous breakdown. 

I rinsed, I pulled it together. My daughter immediately asked to see it, my son did not. I managed, after much pacing and frantic calls to dental parties, to move right along. 

I tell you what, I thought I was strong. I thought I could handle some shit. After today’s little ordeal I am more impressed with myself than ever!! 

Until I have to go see the oral surgeon tomorrow who will need to remove the other TAD that is even more angry and infected than the ejected one. 

I know people are going through horrible awful events in this world like floods and disease and death and starvation. That makes me feel humbled and very small. But y’all, I just pulled a surgically placed piece of metal that was screwed into my face out of my jaw with my bare hands!! Tell me that is not cape-worthy and horrific all at the same time! 

(Now 2 of the 4 are out, and yes that is bone attached to the TAD! 😖😱 (temporary anchoring device)

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