Friday, October 23, 2009

The Art of Yawning

A month ago, I had a cavity filled. Part of the procedure involved the use of a dental dam, which is a contraption designed to hold your mouth open and the workspace dry. It probably isn't that big of a deal, but I had it in much longer than necessary because my dentist was having a party in the next exam room and couldn't get away from her guest.

The same week I had a massage from Mr. Masochist, who seemed bent on getting to the root of my tense neck muscles. I give him points for trying, but have to take away points for the resulting soreness. Part of his routine included my jaw muscles, which I felt had little to do with my neck - but what do I know? I guess the jaw bone is connected to the neck bone?

Anyhow, as a result of one or the other, or both, a few days later I could barely open my mouth. While this probably seemed like the ideal moment to start a liquid diet, I didn't. I found I could either chop up the food, or simply go with cheesecake, which was easily mushed between the tiny gap I could open between my teeth.

I'm sure many of you would have returned to the dentist or the masseuse or some other heath provider like an acupuncturist or witch doctor. But I didn't. As I did in childbirth, I decided to wait it out, believing it would get better. I kept setting deadlines that "if it wasn't better by ... I will go to the dentist." Each deadline was met with a little improvement, so I stayed put.

The point of this narrative is not the difficulty in the eating of food. The frustrating part was the inability to yawn. In case you didn't know, you cannot complete a yawn unless you are able to completely open your mouth as wide as possible - but certainly wider than a straw's width. An unfinished yawn is unnatural and can create a panicky feeling - well, at least in me. Try it - try yawning with your jaws shut. Crummy, right?

I am happy to report that yes, it did get better. Today I can yawn long and wide. It's a great feeling.

I guess it's funny the things we take for granted. Who would have thought that a simple yawn could be such an important thing in life? But maybe that's why incidents like sore jaws happen - so we can realize it's all those little things that make our lives complete and content.
Things that make today great: Disney shopping; New Jersey family on bus; tire flap on Epcot bus; dinner at Big River; race bib pickup and shirt; band aid nurse at first aid; unbelieving boy at bus stop

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