Jaw Dropping Experience

March 26, 2010
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So many people take the ability to perform simple everyday tasks for granted. I was no different before I broke my jaw, but in a split second that all changed. For the next six weeks, actions I carried out that had previously been routine my whole life were altered.

It was the second Saturday of December, and I was in my junior year of high school. I was a member of the CHS basketball team which was going to play in the Hoops for Healing Classic at ULHS that day. For participating in this event, our team was invited to the Hartville Kitchen for a breakfast and a presentation on organ donation, the message of Hoops for Healing. Early that morning, I, a few teammates, and our coach, Coach C., hopped in a school transportation van and left for the Hartville Kitchen. Coach C. was bald, wore glasses, and had a reputation for always spilling food on his shirts. He was very fiery and intense during games. Next to Coach in the passenger seat sat Mike, a very assertive energetic person. Mike was one of the captains on the team and a pretty good sized kid at over two hundred pounds. I was forced to sit in the back between two of my teammates, as I was the smallest player present. Being a quiet person, I was not about to protest.

It took about an hour to get to the Hartville Kitchen. Once there, we entered a large dining hall along with six other teams from Northeast Ohio that were invited. The breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, sausages, and potatoes. The eggs were tasteless, but the sausage and potatoes were very good. A tall man, who like Coach was bald and wore glasses, spoke to the participating teams about the importance of organ donation. His words made an impact and we left the gathering with a new perspective on the importance of organ donation.

That night, we again left to compete against the Streaks on their home gym. It was a big school with its own YMCA, health center, and public library. I had no idea what was destined to happen to me that night. The game was close throughout, and the competition was fierce. I was having a good game; I was making good passes and playing fine defense. I felt as if nothing could possibly go wrong. Then, midway through the second quarter there was a loose ball. As I ran one way to secure it, Mike took another route to the ball and ran right through me.

Crack! At the moment of impact I heard something shatter in my face as I fell to the ground. I nearly blacked out and slowly got to my feet with a dazed look on my face, trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing. Coach C., caught up in the heated battle, I had been injured. Even though I thought I was okay, my actions said otherwise. From that point on things took a turn for the worse. Simply moving my mouth caused me to wince in pain and I stopped playing as well. Our team ended up losing the game.

When I got home, my dad could tell something I was not right.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing.” I answered.

“No, something is wrong.” He could just tell, he always could.

“My jaw hurts really bad.” I confessed.

“Well, it might be broken,” he said, “We’ll take you to the hospital tomorrow.”

The next morning I didn’t eat breakfast or brush my teeth because the pain was too excruciating to move my mouth. I went to the Children’s hospital and had x-rays taken on my face. As I sat in a room awaiting the results, nervous anticipation filled the space around me. All I wanted was the doctor to tell me I was fine. But she didn’t; she revealed to me that I had a break in my jaw and also a concussion. I then saw an oral surgeon who confirmed the break and found a second one. He told me that I could not eat solid foods for six weeks. After this, I really wished I would have appreciated the eggs at the Hoops for Healing breakfast more. Luckily for me, there were only two small fractures on both sides of my mouth and I wouldn’t need my jaw wired.
For the next month and a half I consumed six Ensure nutritional drinks daily and only ate foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt and peanut butter. This made me feel like a baby. I was also still able to play basketball, but not without wearing a protective mask that made me look like Hannibal from Silence of the Lambs. These things were really foreign to what I had been used to and was not at all thrilled over them, but after a while I managed to deal with the circumstances.

When my jaw healed after what seemed like an eternity, I could not have been more thankful to eat again. All people should be thankful for being able to do everyday things such as eating, driving, or even being able to hear and listen without having to go through an experience like mine. The ability to do these things can be taken away in an instant.





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