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Falling From The Bike

Just over two weeks ago, I was riding my bike down Barry headed toward Broadway, and my front wheel hooked into a pothole, sending me over the handlebars.  My face slammed into the cement, and I must have slid a few inches because later I found gravel embedded into my shoulder and arm.  Like all accidents, time slowed, and I remember the feeling of my nose smooshed against the ground, thinking to myself, “Oh wonderful, I’m about to need a nose job.”  But my nose, as it turns out, wasn’t the victim.  It was my front left tooth, knocked back a few millimeters.

As I lay on the street, still somehow connected to my bike by just my feet, a slew of onlookers ran to my aid.  One of them happened to be a dentist, and she took my face in her hands, assuring me that I looked just fine.

“My tooth,” I remember saying.  “My beautiful tooth.  Tell me it’s still there!”
“It is,” she said.  “It’s there.  Just a little bumped out of place.”

I ran my tongue back and forth the back of my teeth, frantically trying to account for every one of them.  They all seemed there, but my head started to get fuzzy.  The front left one had been knocked so far back that I couldn’t bite down without hitting the bottom teeth.  I started to black out.  That’s when the ambulance came.

“I’m fine,” I assured them, still slumped on the ground like a lazy cat.  “I’m just freaking out a little.”
“Just lay on the gurney,” one of the men said.  He must have been in his 20's.  When did these guys get younger than me?  “Take a minute.”
They lifted me by my shoulders onto the bed.
“Tell me the truth," I said, darting back and to each of the four men in the ambulance.  "Has my smile been ruined?  Is my lipstick smeared?  I was having the best looking day today!  This sucks.”
“Isn’t that always the case?” one of the other men said, writing down some notes.  “Just when you feel good, something like this happens?”

I nodded my head, agreeing with him.  I was so looking forward to showing off my new lipstick to the twin.  I wanted to philosophize more with the man, but more so, I wanted to get to the dentist.

The twin arrived, and soon after, my husband arrived, panting, sweating.  “I ran,” he explained.

I swooned.  He ran for me.  After 8 years of being together, he still runs for me.

I decided I felt better––that I wouldn’t faint––and we three should take a cab to the dentist instead of taking the ambulance to the hospital.  I left the ambulance men to attend to another person in need.

The dentist began to assess my condition after taking a few x-rays,  and while he’s telling me that my tooth’s nerve has most likely been severed, his eyes darted toward my husband, who cowered in the corner as he listened to the dentist tell me to think of my tooth as being decapitated.

“What are you doing?” I asked my husband, irritated that he was distracting the dentist.

Suddenly, my husband leaned back in the chair, his face and lips drained of blood, and he slumped down in the chair, his head hitting the wall behind him.

“Oh no, he’s fainted,” I said.  I had remembered him telling me once that doctors and dentists offices always made him woozy, but I had never witnessed him actually faint.  Just a few seconds later, his eyes opened.

“I think I might faint,” he said.
“It already happened,” I said.

The nurses came in quickly, shoving me out of the chair and placing my husband in it, putting cold compresses on his forehead.  “I’m sorry, Pattie!” he said as I was moved into the room adjacent to his.

The dentist finished giving me the gruesome details of what I should expect from my tooth, giving me little hope that it had survived the fall.  “It will likely darken,” he said.  “And you should have it pushed back into place.”

He sent the twin, my husband and I to the orthodontist once Marcel had regained his color.  I snuck a glance at my reflection in the mirror on the way out and saw the blood coagulate over my thick lip.  My tooth hardly looked different, but in my mouth it was like someone had taken a hammer to it.

Once at the orthodontist, the doctor examined me and suggested that he manually pull the tooth back into place.  Otherwise, it would interfere with my eating and speaking.

My entire body began convulsing at the thought.  “Won’t it fall out?” I asked.  The idea of the tooth being pushed back and forth in one day sent me into a panic.

“No,” he said.  “It may be a little loose, but we’ll put a wire on the front four to make sure it stays in place.”

After an hour of crying and shaking, I decided to let the doctor do his thing.  He numbed me up, and a few minutes later, his fingers pulled and pulled and the tooth finally popped back into place.  The twin nearly fainted when I jumped from the sensation.

And now, over two weeks later, I am still experiencing the after-effects of the accident.  It turns out that the one tooth was not the only casualty.  The one next to it suffered as well.  Yesterday, I had root canal on it since, as the doctor put it, “the tooth was slowly suffocating to death.”  Well, I couldn’t stand the misery and put it out of pain for good.  At least the other tooth experienced a swift death.

Next week, the knocked tooth, which, as the dentist had predicted, has lost a bit of its color, will get its root canal as well.

I stayed in bed today longer than usual, feeling grateful for my small apartment and warm wooden floors.  It’s safe in here, where nothing bad can get to me.  I write this from my balcony, where I can be outside, but up high enough to be out of harm’s way.  For now, I want to cocoon myself with my husband and my book.  There is something gratifying about healing as you begin to remember how good things were before the accident and how close you are to being there again.  Each day, I am healed more and more, and perhaps it is life telling me to slow down again.  Or maybe it was just bad luck.  Either way, I have quieted down and turned into a temporary hermit with my husband, and there is nowhere else I’d rather be than here, on my balcony, writing.



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2014 08:37 am (UTC)
Healing time-out.
I'm glad you are safe in your apartment as well. There definitely has to be a rest period after a trauma, physically and mentally. We don't go through life without getting our share of war wounds and we mentally adjust to each one. It brings to mind the biblical phrases "There but for the grace of God go I" and "This too shall pass". Luckily you have great inner strength to get you over this bump in the road (literally) and you will be out there again testing life. I love you. Mom
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )