Jody’s Jaw Journey – Part II

For my own sanity, after the lame visit at the oral surgeon’s office (which was on a Thursday afternoon), I decided to put the whole broken jaw issue aside and start again fresh the following Monday. I’ve learned that the worst days to make phone calls to any kind of business are Mondays and Fridays. So, in actuality, I waited until the following Tuesday.

Armed with the paper about the OMS division from the oral surgeon’s office, I called the centralized office. I was glad that it was a centralized phone number because I wasn’t at all certain which would be the location that was closest to me. I got a voice mail and left my name and telephone number. I did not hear back from them that day, even though I had called around 10 AM in the morning. I called again the next day, and the call was answered by a live voice. I explained why I was calling and that I needed to schedule an appointment at the closest facility.

The female, though not actually rude, was a bit terse as she told me that wasn’t how it worked. She informed me that I had to go to the emergency room of one of the St. Luke’s hospitals, that they would be able to take care of the issue of the dislocation, and it would be up to them to determine if I needed treatment from the OMS. Well, gee! She made me feel like I should have known how the system worked. I asked her which of the four listed hospitals I should go to, and she said I could go to any of the St. Luke’s hospital’s emergency room. This was the first piece of good news I’d gotten, since there is one very close to where I live that was only built 2 or 3 years ago. I’d been inside once to visit someone, and I liked the atmosphere and brightness, as well as the somewhat spacious private rooms (in 1987, when I was in-patient the last time, I shared a room with another patient). And again, I didn’t rush about getting there. I’d scheduled some other appointments that I wanted to get out of the way first, including a hip and spine scan and an eye appointment. I chose to wait, as both of those were late on a Friday morning, and head to the hospital’s ER afterwards.

On the Friday that I’d planned for all of these ‘errands’ (October 21st), I made the spontaneous decision to get another COVID booster, since my previous one was back in February. Some little voice inside my brain was telling me that I didn’t want to go into any hospital where there were sick people without being current on the booster. So, I did that first. By the time I got out of my second appointment (good news, no real changes in my eyesight from a year ago!) and drove to the hospital, it was around 1 PM. I registered, then sat in the waiting room for 45-50 minutes before being led back to an exam room. The person who took me to the room told me that a PA (physician’s assistant) would see me first to collect information and then a doctor would come in. It was almost 10 minutes before the PA came in. (For those of you who remember the TV show Doogie Howser, MD, that’s how young he seemed!) I explained everything that had happened to date, from the x-rays to the oral surgeon’s office that wouldn’t treat me to calling the OMS division and being told I had to go through the emergency room, and therefore, that’s why I was there. I gave him the copy of the x-ray I’d had taken at the oral surgeons’ office, and because of the St. Luke network, I knew he could see the original x-rays that had been taken. He left the room after telling me he’d be right back.

This is where the story gets really frightening. I hear a female voice in the hall – not shouting but certainly not whispering – saying, and I quote directly, “Is that a jaw or a pelvis?” I assume the PA said (in a much quieter voice) that it was a jaw. This same voice, at the same level of sound, then said, “Send the patient to an oral surgeon”. I didn’t hear anything after that from her, though I suspect the PA told her that I’d already been to one, who sent me to OMS who told me I had to go through the ER.

The PA came back into the room a short time later and told me that the hospital there was not equipped for the kind of surgery I’d need and that the only hospital who could do that surgery was in Bethlehem (one of the four hospitals on the list). Meanwhile, this hospital wanted to get an IV started and give me a liquid dose of an antibiotic, and then I would leave there and was to go directly to the Bethlehem hospital’s ER.

I said, “No.” I told him that, first off, I wasn’t willing to have an IV to give me a liquid dose of an antibiotic that I could easily take orally. I also told him that I wasn’t able nor willing to leave there and go directly to this other hospital. In my mind, I had several reasons. First, I had no idea where it was but knew that it was far enough away that I would be getting there after sunset, and that made me uncomfortable. Second, I was not given any hint that I would be expected to travel directly to another hospital from there, and I was unprepared for any overnight kind of stay. I also alluded to the idea that, since I would be arriving there who knows how long after 5 PM on a Friday (having to drive to an unknown location during rush hour traffic, on a Friday, no less!), chances are that I would be admitted but not have surgery until the next day, causing an extra day’s stay that my insurance might decline to cover. I was willing to go the next day, but not that evening. Someone did come in and give me an antibiotic in pill form and told me a prescription would be waiting for me to pick up at my pharmacy (I don’t know, either, why they were giving me an antibiotic regimen without having done any kind of treatment but no big deal in the scheme of things).

I was told that was fine, but that they would have to discharge me, and I’d have to re-enter the system at the Bethlehem hospital when I got there. Only after getting into my car and looking at the paperwork did I see that, according to the hospital, I was being released AMA (against medical advice). What the_____?? Nonetheless, I was tired and frustrated and just wanted to pick up the filled prescription and go home.

(Side note: As is always the case, when I got to the drive-through to get the prescription, I was told it wasn’t ready and it would be about 20 minutes. That has happened to me with every prescription I’ve had sent there – I use mail-order for my regular prescriptions – and it’s always 20 minutes wait time to pick up a prescription no matter how long its been since it was sent!)

I dilly-dallied around and then returned to the window, picked up the prescription, and happily went home. I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted to the point that I ate a bowl of cereal, my only meal of the day. I started trying to pull things together for an overnight bag, but I just didn’t have it in me. I sat down in my recliner and thought about everything that had happened and everything that was waiting to happen. I ended up talking myself into waiting until Monday to go to the Bethlehem hospital. To me, it didn’t make a difference, but I convinced myself that the staff would appreciate not having to deal with a “non-emergency” patient on a weekend since weekends are always busier for the ER units.

I spend Saturday and Sunday over-thinking, and therefore over-packing, an overnight bag. I made sure all of my emails were caught up and I didn’t have any bills to pay, watered my plant, and all of those little things so that once I left on Monday morning, I didn’t have those things on my mind.

Jody’s Jaw Journey – Part I

My fall happened on September 8, 2022. I know that, when I finally got back up on my feet, it was 12:33 AM. I can already hear some (or all) of you questioning why I didn’t go to the hospital immediately. Well, here’s my reasoning: I didn’t feel comfortable calling the ambulance because it wasn’t a life-or-death situation. I was also thinking ahead about how I would find a way back home after I’d been released from the hospital. I have a bestie who would have come and gotten me, but…. she wouldn’t know I needed her until she got up, made her coffee and sat down in the living room to check her phone (where she keeps it to charge overnight). And, because I still struggle with asking for help, putting her out like that when she needed to shower and get ready for work made me feel awkward. I considered driving myself to the hospital, which isn’t very far and would have taken me less about 10 minutes. But, because I’d hit my head so hard, I wondered if I might have a concussion and didn’t think getting behind the wheel of a vehicle would be a smart move. So, I ended up just sitting upright with the ice pack covering the whole left side of my face.

As I mentioned, I had a type of pain that I’d never experienced before, but, while the goose egg remained in place, the pain on the rest of my face began to subside in under 72 hours. Proud of the fact that I’d worked through the pain on my own (I have a low tolerance for pain), I figured I’d made it through the worst.

On Saturday morning, I noticed some bruising on my face as a result of my fall. I took a selfie of it so I could send it via text to my bestie. I ended up taking a selfie every day for about two weeks as a way of tracking the bruising, which got a lot worse before it got better.

I was surprised to see the bruising occurring along my jawline (not to mention the black eye that came with it!). As I said, I’d only hit my head, but as I was pretty much pain-free after about 5 days, I just didn’t think about it being anything serious. I already had a regular follow-up appointment with my doc for September 29th (exactly 3 weeks after the date of my fall) and figured I’d tell her about it if I still had some concerns.

In my opinion, the worst of the bruising looked like this:

By the time I went to that appointment, most of the bruising had faded away, the ostrich egg sized bump on my forehead had reduced to a chicken sized egg bump, and I wasn’t taking OTC pain meds of any kind on a regular timeframe. My only concern was that I had what felt like a bone jutting down from my jawline as if it had been misplaced. After examining me, she suggested I get x-rays. Fortunately, there is an outpatient clinic literally right across the highway from the doctor’s office, so I went right over. I didn’t have much of a wait once I registered. X-rays were taken and I was on my way.

I have no idea how to read an x-ray, and in my lack of ability, I can’t see a single thing that shows a broken jaw, but here’s one of the five x-rays taken:

Friday morning, I got a call from the doc’s office telling me that my jawbone was broken in two places and also displaced. I needed to see an oral surgeon for further treatment.

And so, I began the often-frustrating task of finding an oral surgeon who takes my Medicare plan, once I had determined what my plan would and wouldn’t cover of the cost (fortunately, it was 100%!). It took what seemed like hours – first, calling the insurance company to find out if there was coverage for this kind of specialist and if I had a copay involved. Having learned that the answers were yes and no, I began the search. The closest one I could find was less than 15 minutes away from me; the next closest was about 25 minutes away.

Of course, being a “new” patient, I couldn’t get an appointment until October 13th. Again, having no pain and no longer having any bruising, I didn’t have a problem waiting another 2 weeks. Meanwhile, because I have access to my records from St. Luke’s – my preferred provider – I managed to copy all 4 x-rays onto a flash drive in order to make this appointment go smoother.

The office was willing to take the printed copy of the reading of the x-rays, but I was told they wanted to take their own x-ray, which was just one. I was led to an exam room, and about10 minutes later, Dr. Wallis (he introduced himself) came in for my exam. He took a quick look inside my mouth, took a good look at the x-ray that had been taken in the office, and informed me that they couldn’t treat me. Huh??? I apparently had to go through OMS, which is (fortunately) St. Luke’s division specifically to treat the kind of breakage I had. He gave me a paper with a central phone number and the four offices within the county where I could be seen. I was befuddled, to say the least, because this was an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery office I was sitting in and this Dr. is telling me they can’t perform oral and/or maxillofacial surgery on me. So, I took my flash drive, a copy of the x-ray they had taken, and a paper that gave me all of the information I needed for the OMS division of St. Luke’s. Since my appointment was at 2:15 PM and, in my opinion, a total waste of my time, I took the copy of the x-ray and the paper printed with information about OMS and left there feeling frustrated.

Jody’s Jaw Journey – Prologue

I’ve mentioned, briefly, about having broken my jaw and recovering from surgery to repair it. From the beginning to the end, each and every thing that happened must have been filed in the “make it a disaster” catalog of my life regarding it. There is a phrase people use that are the words “Cluster F–k”, and truly this whole event qualified as a CF. I’m going to be writing about the highlights, but it will take several posts, and I thought it might be helpful for me to provide some general information beforehand that will make the things I write about make sense to each reader. So that is what this simple post will do.

I ended up getting a full mouth of dentures about 4-1/2 years ago. From this experience alone, I learned valuable information about myself. The biggest learning process was realizing that I tend to trust authorities without question, specifically medical professionals. I don’t have their degrees earned with knowledge, and I have trust in the consideration that all doctors must take the Hippocratic Oath, specifically the part which states, “I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment; I will abstain from harming or wrongdoing any man by it”. When it was validated that some teeth needed to be removed and dentures used in place, I didn’t even think to question whether I would be having some or all of the teeth in my mouth removed. I ended up losing all of my teeth and having to get full dentures both top and bottom. The bottom denture has never stayed adhered to my gums, but I’d learned to not wear it unless I knew I would be going to be eating something that would require serious chewing, and then to take the loosened plate out of my mouth (discreetly, of course) when I was finished eating. I also always took my upper plate out at home.

That is important to know because it made a big difference in my fall and the events that came afterwards.

I mentioned in my post “Falling into Fall” that I had taken a fall. It is the second time that I had fallen like that, in the same location and the same way. I’d fallen at oh-dark-hundred hours on Christmas Day in 2020. That fall included some sliding along a wall, and the entire left side of my back ended up being black-and-blue as a result. I had a little goose egg on the side of my head, and a brush burn on the side of my arm from sliding across the carpet. As a result of that fall, my doctor and I have been talking ongoing about my problems with balance and what could be the causes and treatments for it. Unfortunately, there have been some other medical concerns that had taken precedence, so we have yet to form a viable plan.

This fall started in the same pattern but being aware of how I fell the last time, I adjusted my body into a more fetal position. When I fell, I hit a piece of furniture on the left of my forehead and crumbled down to the floor. It was again in the wee hours of the morning and long before daybreak. The pain on the side of my head where I hit the furniture was intense and unlike any pain I recall experiencing before. I grabbed an ice pack and laid my entire left face on it, forced myself to stay awake (I think the pain was the force behind it) for several hours, and immediately started taking 3 Ibuprofen every 3-4 hours to dilute the pain. I dozed on and off for the next 36 hours, and each time I woke, I grabbed the Ibuprofen and took another dose. It took those 36 hours for the pain to subside enough that I could stick to the every-4-hours dosage instructions.

And that’s the fall that started this whole CF…

Below, for your reference in the future of this story, is a photo of a perfectly aligned lower jawbone.

It’s Just Another New Year’s Eve

I’ve made it a point to listen to this song on YouTube on December 31st for many years. I don’t bother staying up until midnight or celebrating in any other way on this eve. And when I wonder what’s wrong with me that I don’t want to join the hullabaloo with anyone, I can listen to the words of this song and feel that it’s okay.

I’m including the link to the song that has the lyrics included, in case anyone else will be helped by listening.

The History of Thanksgiving

The “theory” behind Thanksgiving is based on the story that, on Thursday, November 24, 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag (an Indian tribe) came together to share a harvest feast. We Americans, over the centuries, have relegated the truth of the time before and after that date to the back of our minds, so that we can focus on spending time with family and friends, overeating the delicious fare that is prepared so that the meal qualifies as a ‘feast’ and then an afternoon of football and/or reading the inside of our eyelids. For the primary cook, it’s a chance to dust off culinary skills – the same applies to the turkey carver – and for the women, it’s a chance to gather together after the meal to divide leftovers, clean up and have a chance to catch-up on girl talk without interruption.

But the history of Thanksgiving shouldn’t be focused on that one particular day when the Pilgrims and the Indians seemed able to put aside their differences for a few hours. In fact, one professor at George Washington University has gone on record to say that most of the stories are myths filled with historical inaccuracies.

When the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, the chief of the Wampanoag tribe offered an agreement to the arrivals. This agreement would eventually serve as a way to protect the Wampanoag tribe from their rivals, the Narragansetts, and, in exchange, would help to keep the Pilgrims safe from other native tribes. This pact was strained by infectious disease, the expansion of colonial land taken by the Pilgrims and the exploitation of Wampanoag resources. These tensions greatened into what became known as King Philip’s War. The effects of this war, over time, devastated the Wampanoags and shifted the balance of power from being equal into being in the colonists’ favor.

Even today, some of the country’s Indigenous people consider this day set aside to remember a coming together between the colonists and the natives as a day of mourning, rather than a day of thanks. It is a time for them to remember the history of their ancestors and a day to reflect on the racism, inequality and oppression they still experience in the present. In fact, there is a memorial plaque located in Cole’s Hill, a part of the town of Plymouth, that has been erected by the town of Plymouth, on behalf of the United American Indians of New England, announcing that the date congruent of the day we celebrate Thanksgiving shall, for them, be considered A Day of Mourning. This was proclaimed in 1970, and on our Thanksgiving Day, American Indians of New England will gather, not to partake of a feast, but to remember, with great sadness, what happened to the American Indians as a whole upon the Pilgrims alighting at Plymouth Rock in 1621.

For the record, it wasn’t until 1863 that Thanksgiving was given the honor of becoming a national holiday, and it was proclaimed so by Abraham Lincoln as a way to promote unity during the Civil War.

Now, go watch your parades and enjoy your feast and time relaxing. But take a moment to stop and remember what this holiday was meant to be and remember that this feast, in history, created a war.


What an empowering read! And knowing a little bit about the writer, I have no doubt that she is exactly this person!

Life Lessons From Around the Dinner Table

If there is any one thing you should know about me

it is that I am resilient.

I am the fairytale they won’t recite.

Little Red Riding Hood that could not be duped

by the Big Bad Wolf.

For they do not want to tell you the fairytales

of the dangerous women who won.

Instead, they’ll tell you the stories of the good girls…

heads bowed, eyes wide, and mouths shut.

You see, I am a descendant of all the wild women and their stories

that came before me. The ones the men thought they had burned.

They should have checked the ashes…

for it only takes one wild ember to start a wildfire.

And I guess they have always been afraid of the wild ones.

Little Red Riding Hood who knew precisely what she was doing

when she looked a not-so-gifted bad wolf in the mouth

and invited the…

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Questions about Random Things

I’ve written before about how, no matter how tired I may be, my mind has to go through a series of circuitous thoughts which often have nothing to do with each other and often have nothing to do with my life. I thought I’d share some of them with you, in case you have an established answer that will allow me to take any of these questions off the list.

Whatever happened to Aflac? I remember when there were seemingly constant commercials touting the benefits of adding Aflac to your current medical insurance, stating that it would help pay some of your expenses when, for medical reasons, you cannot work. In theory, that sounds great. Nobody I knew bought it, much less used it. I always thought it was something that only ‘rich’ people could afford to buy, and those same ‘rich’ people probably wouldn’t have a pile of unpaid expenses in the first place. I checked the Internet and Aflac is still in operation (at least according to their website). Maybe they just decided to spend no monies on marketing? Which is a shame, because I miss the duck!

My dad’s last wife had been the widow of my mother’s brother, having been married to my uncle for many years, and was addressed by the preface of aunt. When she married my dad, she became my stepmother, right? And didn’t the children of that marriage, who had once been my cousins, become my stepsiblings? I have a friend whose mother, after divorcing her father, ended up marrying her father’s brother. In effect, she always said, my uncle became my dad, and my dad became my uncle. Is there some set procedure for how this all falls into place? Maybe I should be asking the rednecks since people say that they always marry within their family! (I’m joking, of course!) My dad’s last wife told me in no uncertain terms when I made a mention about gaining sisters, that these two were my cousins and would always be my cousins. This is the same person who later vocally scolded me, while still at the cemetery after the burial service, that I didn’t include her granddaughter (who would have been my cousin’s child) as one of my dad’s grandchildren in the obituary! All these years later and this still gets my anger stirred up! Needless to say, we’ve had no contact since that time. So, were they legally my stepsiblings or still my cousins?

It’s that time of year when non-profit organizations are increasing their presence to the public in the hopes of getting us to feel more inclined to donate because it’s nearing a sentimental holiday. I get that, and it makes sense to me. But here’s what I don’t get… More than one of these organizations are offering you a tangible “gift” in return for your pledge for a certain amount monthly for an entire year. “Just $29 a month for 12 months and we’ll send you…”. It might be a blanket, a beanie, a calendar, and, in some cases, also include a photo of a child or animal you will be supporting. That is a double ploy on the old heart strings, in my opinion, but that’s not my issue. Some companies are donating and providing these organizations with whatever the tangible item/items they are offering to the general public as an incentive for making a commitment. Those companies will use that donation as a tax write-off. But hey, why not just make a financial contribution directly to the organization instead? I donate blood every two months, as allowed, and there are often these tangible trinkets offered to get people to come out to give blood. Honestly, I don’t believe that any of the people who consistently show up to donate do so because they want the t-shirt or water bottle or baseball cap or whatever else as a reward. I seldom see anyone under at least 35, and often the average is more like 55, in line to make their donation. I certainly don’t do it because I need another little goodie that will immediately go into a donation box upon my return home. I wish those companies who donate these products would just make a financial donation to the American Red Cross rather than some tchotchke that doesn’t really meet a need for the recipient. Plus, it irks me in some way to feel like these non-profit organizations feel like they need to bribe the public to help them out. I’m pretty sure that people make donations because the charity calls to their hearts, not because they want some tangible goodie they don’t really need and CAN live without.

Here’s a question that haunts me every time I’m forced to deal with this product: Why can’t plastic wrap companies make a container to hold the roll of plastic that actually CUTS the plastic wrap when you press it to those little “teeth” things? And in conjunction with that, why does plastic wrap always cling better to itself than to the object(s) you are trying to wrap with it? I now use zipper bags 99% of the time when I want to store something in clear plastic because it is so less time-consuming and less frustrating. I have a canning funnel (wide-mouthed to use with canning jars) and I simply insert that in the top of the open bag to help any product get down into the bag. I now even store soups and stews and other assorted items in these bags for my freezer because they take up so much less room than a plastic container. Lay the item flat to freeze and then it will slide anywhere you have a little bit of space. You can even use a permanent marker to label the bag before inserting the food. Still, there are a few times when plastic wrap is necessary, and sometimes I have to deal with the frustration of trying to cut the darned stuff!

After my recent hospital stay (I’ll write more about that in the future), I decided to think about noise-canceling headphones. The patient in the room next door had a very loose and productive cough and then the ‘spit out’ of whatever she had managed to get up from her chest. Part of me felt bad for her because I’ve had bronchitis and know how painful that kind of coughing can be, especially when it’s ongoing. Another part of me felt angry that I could hear every cough in my room next door and far too often, the coughing would jar me away just as I was about to doze off. After minimal dozing and no sleep that first night, exacerbated by her coughing, I thought about how helpful a set of noise-cancelling headphones would be in that kind of situation. So why, when I came home and looked for them, did I only find, in my search, some product that cancelled out the noise around you so that you could more clearly hear whatever you were choosing to listen to through the headphones? To me, if you say “noise cancelling”, I define those words as meaning “creating silence” in the eardrums while wearing them! I prefer total silence when I’m trying to fall asleep, which is partly why I use a fan 365 nights a year – for the white noise – and the product advertised doesn’t do what its name implies!

That’s just one night of random thoughts (I’m sure there were more, but these are what I remember offhand). I’ve started taking a 12-mg Melatonin every night (sometimes a second one after 3 hours) in hopes I will fall asleep before my brain travels around for hours about these innocuous things that truly mean nothing in the big picture.

Random Memes – 11/7

I’ve got a gazillion (okay, slight exaggeration since it’s only a dozen) articles started and in draft form until I find the energy and my muse finds the right way to add words to them. So, it’s another day for random memes:

I saved the last one to be the last one on purpose. No matter how many times I read those words, I find myself shaking my head (at myself) for being unable to see those people for who they were. While there are occasions when I find myself missing some of the good that was in those relationships, each time I ask myself if I want to invite any of those people back into my life, my brain instantly shouts, “NO!”

Watching the U.S. and the Holocaust, or, Thank You, Ken Burns

I’m at a loss for words after reading this. My heart feels sore at learning in much more detail about this time in our world’s history and our country’s reaction to it. This is not easy reading, but please take the time to read it nonetheless.


Watching the Ken Burns documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust, the week before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) was hard. The three night, six-hour documentary was advertised as being about America’s reaction to the treatment of Jews in Germany leading up to and during the Holocaust, and the ways our own prejudices and the resulting immigration restrictions we set up at the time, kept the United States from being a haven for those escaping Hitler. I felt myself shaking with rage and pain and frustration, and I started to yell at the TV (similar to the way I felt when Trump took that first trip down the escalator onto the world stage). But however difficult it was for me to sit with the pain and horror of the documentary, it was even more validating. The timeline of the film, and the clarity it brought to the questions of…

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