Not for the Squeamish

If you have a low tolerance for hearing about pain, or perhaps happen to be eating lunch, please stop reading.  I’ve learned that some people were grossed out by my discussion of blended meat products a couple of weeks ago. If you thought that crossed a line, from this post you will not be able […]

by bob

Apr 11, 2012

If you have a low tolerance for hearing about pain, or perhaps happen to be eating lunch, please stop reading.  I’ve learned that some people were grossed out by my discussion of blended meat products a couple of weeks ago. If you thought that crossed a line, from this post you will not be able to look back and see the line.

You’re still reading? You’ve been warned.

A few weeks ago I wrote about focusing this little corner of the interwebs a bit more. As you might guess, my focus lately has been on 1) transitioning out of Ithaca well, 2) getting our family settled in Ireland, and 3) my surgery.

Since the surgery on my upper and lower jaw is scheduled for this Friday, I thought I’d share a little bit of my history with my teeth (we go back a long time together.)

This is actually my second round of braces.  When I was around twelve my parents took me to an orthodontist in Fredonia, NY who shall remain nameless. (But if you write, and guess at his name, I will tell you if you are right.) While he performed a number of various torture methods on me, and took my parent’s money, in the end, he was upset that my doctor would not let him remove my tonsils and adenoids, so he removed my braces, stuck me in a retainer and within 6 months, my teeth we back to their original state.  Rather than try and describe my orthodontist, I thought I’d share a video that every time I see it reminds me of him.

Now, I have a pretty high pain tolerance. When I was a kid, I read somewhere that Novocain improperly injected could go to your brain and paralyze you, so for the next several years I had all of my cavities filled sans Novocain. Around the age of 16 I got over that, however, since then I think I’ve had only one small cavity. (And not only am I a 4 wisdom tooth guy, but I also went to work the next day.) So I don’t think I’m a wimp when it comes to oral pain.

The major purpose of the surgery I’m getting on Friday is to widen my upper jaw so that I can bite properly, breathe properly, and prevent my teeth from falling out. That was also an issue when I was a kid (see, I don’t have a big mouth…all of my doctors agree). Now the way they attempted to address the issue when I was younger was by installing a Palatal Expander to my upper teeth. Each night my parents would need to take a small piece of metal, insert it in the center of the Palatal Expander, and turn. Some nights you could even hear the roof of my mouth crack (good times). I have no idea how they never lost that thing, or worse, dropped it down my throat.

While that was in the roof of my mouth, my orthodontist decided the reason for my small upper jaw was that my tongue didn’t work properly, so he inserted a

tongue spur in the bottom of my mouth. As you can see from the picture, it was designed to prick your tongue whenever it got near your bottom teeth.

(Believe it or not, the only time I cried throughout the whole process was when they put in the spacers for the Palatal Expander. My mom picked me that day and the other person in the car that day was the girl I’d eventually take to the senior prom…I think she only went with me because she still felt sorry for me all those years later…My mom also felt sorry for me and the next morning while driving me to school, she gave me a Rolo, which I proceeded to choke on.  She actually, pulled over the car, got me out of my seat and gave me the Heimlich…thanks mom.  For saving my life…not for the Rolo.)

This morning I had surgical hooks placed on my braces in preparation for Friday’s surgery.  And although they are slightly annoying and make it a bit of a challenge to speak, they are not as bad as I was anticipating.

I guess I do owe my old orthodontist a thank you for making the first round of orthodontia so horrible, that having my jaw dissected and replaced seems easy compared to a visit to your office.  (Did I mention that he filed down two of my teeth with no pain killer because he thought they were too pointy.) I’m still getting over that I guess…it’d be easier if he gave my parents their money back.

What about Bob?


I grew up in Western New York and have started and led missional church planting efforts for a little over 30 years. As you might gather, I have opinions about the church, and I share some of them here.

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1 Comment

  1. Szager

    Hope all went well with your surgery. We’re all thinking about you. At least now it is done and it’s on to the next step!


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