Have Your Jaws Broken – Willingly

Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. If someone told me five years ago that I would need jaw reconstructive surgery – basically my jaw being smashed and realigned for five hours in surgery – I wouldn’t believe them either. However, when one routine trip to the dentists – God, I hate that place – turned into a newsflash that I would need surgery because my bottom jaw was growing at a faster rate than my top jaw, I stiffened slightly in my clinically white and sterile chair. No-one else in my family has ever had this problem that I know of, it was just a stroke of bad luck. It didn’t actually look too bad in person, however in photographs you could see that my bottom jaw was protruding and growing towards the left, and on top of that, if left to its own devices, it would soon get to the point where I could no longer eat properly. Whoopee.

So in 2008, after a couple of years with braces and endless trips to the hospital to plan the surgery, I was sat on a hospital bed at about 8.30am and had just taken a shot of calming loon-inducing liquid. I think the purpose of it was to calm me so that I wouldn’t get too nervous before the surgery, however I remember nothing from the moment the stuff touched my lips and apparently all I was wittering on about was buying hens and making sure they didn’t escape and run up the High Street (?!?). Definitely made me loopy. But that wasn’t a problem, because it meant that the next thing I remembered was waking up from surgery with my parents by my side.

I closely resembled the elephant man and I was battered and bruised for up to nine weeks after the operation. During the first few weeks I couldn’t eat anything. Most people lose weight during this stage, however I am certain I gained considerable weight because of my mum’s insistence that I consume her ‘milkshakes’ of Complan (a product that you usually give to seriously ill people that are merely skin and bones to boost their weight), chocolate, ice cream and more chocolate. My first proper meal was scrambled eggs using the fresh eggs from our newly acquired battery farm hens. They were all raggedy and unwell when we first rescued them from the barn – they looked awful. However, as we began to nurse them back to health, I slowly started recovering myself.

It took a long time to heal totally, and I had a little bit of numbness in my cheek for a while, however that soon passed.  My face began to go back to normal and I could smile with confidence for the first time in years. My teeth met in the way that other people’s teeth meet and it felt so good! No longer did I have to look at my Dad doing an impression of Bruce Forsyth as he jutted out his bottom jaw and said “Nice to see you to see youuuuu nice!” Charming, I know. Now, it feels like my ‘other jaws’ were a million years ago. It was a long summer, my GCSE summer, but it was totally worth it.