Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Moment With a Plastic Surgeon

When I was between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, I lived with my aunt and uncle in Mt. Shasta, California for a couple of months.

In theory, I was an assistant to my aunt in her billing for my uncle's anesthesia patients. In reality, I was a crappy worker (I was 14) and spent the majority of my time hanging out with a friend of mine from school and riding horses, which made my cousin (who was six at the time) very jealous.

My aunt and uncle have always taken good care of me, and this summer was no exception. They purchased a mountain bike for me so we could take rides together.

One afternoon my aunt and I were returning from our ride into town to get the mail. We had to cross a country road to then turn onto their street. My aunt crossed ahead of me and I turned my head to see if there were any cars coming. There were a few but they were far enough back that I had plenty of time to cross.

Suddenly I was face down in the gravel with my bike on top of me. There were strangers all around, two cars parked nearby and everyone saying "are you ok!?"

Apparently my bike chain ate my pant leg and tossed me into the dirt. One of the helpful bystanders bundled me into his truck and rushed me to the ER. By this time my aunt had realized I wasn't behind her anymore and turned around to see me on the ground surrounded by cars and people. Of course she thought I had been hit and rushed to the scene, but was reassured that I had trashed myself without outside help.

My aunt met us at the hospital where I was having my face scrubbed with a sponge to get the gravel out. I had landed in the dirt with my entire left side at a great rate of impact and scraped most of the left side of my face and neck. There were large bruises on my left shoulder, elbow and hip, the latter of which was so sensitive it was extremely painful to even have the feel of cloth touching it.

I had split my upper lip across the lip-line and so they called in the on-call plastic surgeon to re-sew it. They gave me several shots to deaden the pain and then he went to work.

The large scrapes on my face and neck were scrubbed out and covered with a transparent "skin" style bandage for healing.

Once I was done at the ER and cleaned up, I was taken to the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist (conveniently a close friend of the family) to make sure I hadn't injured my nose to much and then on to a dentist (another family friend) to check out the tooth I knocked loose. He determined that it didn't need to be pulled, but would probably die a slow death and ultimately need a root canal down the line.

My aunt called my mom and started the conversation with "She's alright, but it's not pretty..."

As it was the summer of 1991, it wasn't too awkward-looking for me to wear my hair parted on the side with my hair hanging over the left half of my face. I slept on the couch and ate a lot of milkshakes.

My lip was swollen out so far that I could see it in my peripheral vision. A chunk the size of a fist was broken out of the front of my helmet, which was a great sales pitch to my young cousin to always wear hers.

Ten years later I had to have the afore-mentioned root canal, which was remarkably un-painful since the tooth and it's nerves were totally dead. They even managed to make my crown in line with the rest of my teeth, giving me a straight row for the first time in a decade.

I'm lucky to not have any visible scars, save the very faint mark on the left side of my cheek near my chin that passes for a pencil mark.


Angie said...

Awwww, look at how cute you are! I was cringing at your story, though. That must have hurt like hell! Congrats for being such a tough girl. You rock.

msliberty said...

Hi Cuz...

I'd never heard this story before! :) I have a dead tooth too...from that fateful day when Josquin and I crashed heads.

LOL. The things we go through as kids.

Oh, and I agree w/ Angie. This is a cute pic!