Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Half Smile

After two weeks of mumbling, starving and not-smiling, I was ever so happy when it was time to go back to the periodontist and have my wretched stitches removed.  I spent the last days before the appointment dreaming of the myriad junk food products I was going to eat and the baked goods I was going to enjoy.  I was excited to be done with explaining to people that I wasn't angry all the time (the result of not being able to smile) and I was thrilled to finally allow myself to laugh again.  It had been a very difficult 11 days of monotoning, "don't make me laugh!  stop being funny!" every time Gordy opened his mouth. 

You can imagine my dismay when the doctor informed me that the stitches weren't ready to be removed yet and that in fact, he didn't see the need for me to even come back to see him for two more weeks.  TWO MORE WEEKS!  He did give me permission to chew "soft" foods on the opposite side and to brush my teeth (as long as I avoided the areas with the stitches) but he stressed the importance of being really careful and not doing anything that might jeopardize the healing process.  Obviously, I had a fit when I left the office.  If I even see another smoothie, I may start screaming.  And don't even mention the word applesauce to me.

The periodontist may have ruined my fatty foods extravaganza, but he hadn't made any additional references to smiling or laughing.  I decided to go ahead and do both when warranted.  I can only be gloomy for so long. 

My first attempts at smiling proved rather pathetic.  It ends up that if you don't smile for 11 days - and if you don't move your jaw, for that matter - the muscles aren't really sure if they want to when you do, in fact, ask them to perform.  The most I was able to produce was a sort of half-smile that left me looking odd and stuck-up.  I reminded myself of Draco Malfoy's mother in the Harry Potter books.

Over the next 12 hours, I practiced smiling whenever I could.  I progressed nicely to a grimace and then to a sneer and finally managed a sort of odd smile that reminded Gordy of a stroke victim.  I put in such a grand effort because the day after the stitches didn't come out was the fundraising gala and I was determined to look happy in my new dress. 

Here I am right before we left.  You can see that only half of my face was obeying my smile command, the other half was still feeling gloomy.

Here is my good friend, Janet and I before the party.  My smile is getting better but I still have that Narcissa Malfoy sneer.  At least Janet looks gorgeous and happy.

Here is our prom-like group shot:  Kevin, Janet, me & Gordy

 Sadly, a few martinis didn't help the smile situation, but I sure felt like I looked better! 

At least my husband didn't mock me by showing off his ability to smile! 

I am counting the days until the next two weeks are up and in the meantime, I am assembling a list of soft foods:  warm chocolate chip cookies, chocolate mousse, muffins.....


Billie Adams said...

It’s really hard to smile if you know that you have something to consider. And in your case, it was a newly-operated gum line. It’s either the stitches would break open, or get your jaws stressed. So, what’s up now? It has been years already since the surgery. I hope you're oral health is doing so much better.

Billie Adams

Martha said...

How kind of you to inquire, Billie Adams! My oral health is indeed much better. That surgery was tough and the recovery was even more difficult, but I survived and the pain is just a memory.


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