Oct 17, 2012

Chipmunk face

Because life is just so full and the mornings smell of coffee, wood smoke, and rain, and I'm too busy living to document life

The last two weeks have been full of weddings, a funeral, tears, long hugs, helplessness, horse chestnuts, hysterical laughing fits. New tap shoes, surgery, swing dancing. Oma, learning dances for the Christmas show, yellow leaves, snow. Being behind in school, awkwardness, beautiful music, student ID cards, mopping floors, painting walls, cheetos, business, deep theological conversations, Nero, Alexander the Great, exams, gummy bears, heartaches, and overwhelming grace to face it all.

So I'm going to do something I don't normally do, because I have nothing else to post at the moment. 
I'm going to post a sort of story ... something I wrote for my journal. Not sure if it's "blog worthy" material, but whatevs, guys. I got nothin' else for ya. 

So here you go! The story of how I lost my wisdom teeth and gained these gorgeous chipmunk cheeks. :)


Tropical fish.
Smooth gray glides by, neon yellow and orange outlining him, defining him. Little vibrant coral-colored fishy swims by happily, royal blue fin contrast. They float around in their strange watery atmosphere. What if our air were thick enough to sit on?
Tiniest of fin flickers send the fish darting through the maze of rocks. I peer through to the other side of the tank, a window into the hallway that leads to surgery.
Soon I’m back there in a cold room. Blood pressure and temperature taking. The doctor comes in, I shake his gigantor hand – how the heck will he get that into my mouth?! - and I smile at his kind eyes. I can tell right away that he’s fun and trustworthy. Some people you just know.
 I’m led to the surgery room. Sit in the large chair, and heave a sigh.
A nurse drapes a heavy, just-out-of-the-dryer warm blanket over me. This isn’t going to be so bad …
Tight elastic tied around upper arm. Pump and squeeze my hand to get the blood going. The doctor gives me two of his massive fingers to squeeze – “but don’t crush them!” – and he taps my vein gently. It feels good to hold onto someone … warm and secure. He counts down from three. A sharp pinch into my vein.
“That’s it! No more needles.” He tosses the wrapper across the room and straight into the waste basket. His eyes twinkle. “That’s two out of three today!”
Almost before I know what’s happening, he has attached the IV to the needle. “The ceiling tiles will begin swimming soon. I’ll ask you every once in a while how you’re doing. When you can’t answer I’ll know you’re out.”
I nod. Look at the ceiling. Hmm. Suddenly the tiles are jiggling, sliding over each other, switching places.
Here we go!! I think, as if I’m at the peak of a roller coaster ready to zoom and fall.

I dream a tube resting on my cheek, under my nose. The word oxygen fogs into my brain. Did somebody say it?

I’m awake. My cheeks full and fat. Done.
“Take your time,” a voice resonates out of nowhere. I can’t see anybody, but someone’s there. I sense a hold on my arm, a dream of sitting into a comfortable chair. Blink.
I feel a sense of expectation. Did someone ask me something? Oh. TV. What TV channel.
“Food Network,” I think, trying to say it around the gauze. Disapproval … or is it an apology? I need to give her a different answer. “HGTV,” I say, not knowing how I remember the name. Dark. Warm. Someone’s smashing something long and white. A kitchen counter. Must be a sledge hammer.
Beep. Beep. Beep. In the back of my brain. It quickens as I breathe in. Slows as I breathe out. Like my heartbeat. I feel something on my finger. I twitch it. The beeping falters, comes back. My heartbeat is coming through the thing on my finger.
There’s a voice. A picture comes into my mind, a pile of receipts and credit cards. Mom is paying. She’ll be back soon.
  There’s the nurse. I can see her face now. Blonde hair. She clicks off my beeping heart machine, her nails blue and sparkly like the universe. There’s Mom. She holds a pad of cotton against my hand as the IV is pulled out. The nurse lifts the blanket off of me.
“She said she wasn’t cold,” she says to my mom. “But she looked like she was, so I gave her an extra blanket.” I said I wasn’t cold? When was that?
“You can sleep,” the nurse says to me. “You won’t remember any of this.” But I do. She’s talking about what I can eat, and rinsing with saltwater and not spitting today. The doctor stops by, I can see his dependable face clearly, but later it fades. Mom leaves to drive the car around. I stand and zip the black zipper on my coat, nurse holding my arm. We walk slowly out the door and stand in the chilly entryway, looking at white skies and damp streets, the nurse still holding onto me.
This is awkward, I think. Silent. Linked arms with a stranger. But it’s ok. I don’t have to fill the silence. I just got out of surgery! For once my silence is acceptable, so I relax into it, and let it draw out. The car pulls up. I sit in front, and say thank you to the nurse. At least, I think I do. I can barely hear my mumble around the gauze.
And then I’m home. What happened to the car ride? I don’t know.
Suddenly: a lazy-boy.
A blanket and bloody gauze and yoghurt and a nap.

“Mom?” I ask, my mind working, but aware that I may sound crazy if I’m not careful, “Would they have put those stickers on my side to measure my heartbeat?”
“They might have …” she says.
That’s good. Because I thought I dreamed a female hand slipping gently under my warm blanket and up my shirt, a round sticker.
“Mom? Did the doctor say a long word and then mention something about the lines inside my cheeks?”
Good. I smile. That one wasn’t a dream either.

I think back to the swimming ceiling tiles, and remember another dream. A metal pipe was dancing and flowing like water. Boy, I was out before I knew it! “Here we go” was my last conscious thought. You’d think it would have happened more gradually, lids drooping sleepily and slowly. But it’s more like a drop off. A bang. Boom. Blank. Waking up again.

        Soon I’m watching Merlin and eating lukewarm chicken noodle soup and thinking up humorous facebook statuses:
       “It’s a good thing I’ve had 17 years of practice with a spoon, because getting that thing into my mouth when I’m numb up to my eyeballs is pure guesswork.”

       I’m pleased that my mind is working well enough to be sarcastic.

      My pain pills make me light and dizzy with happy sleepiness.
The days pass blissfully with Merlin and apple sauce, doggy snuggles, warm blankets, and a good book. I let out a sigh, blowing the air through my lips, pony style, and groan because it hurts. And then I laugh because sighing hurts, of all the ridiculous things. And then I groan because laughing hurts, and then I laugh even harder. And then I hold onto my chipmunk cheeks for dear life, grinning painfully.

It’s been an entertaining experience, this surgery stuff. 


Rainbow leaves from early October.

Have you had your wisdom teeth out? Any good stories? I'd love to hear. :) 


  1. Great post. I guess I have much to look forward to. Sometimes life is just grand. ;)


  2. I don't really have the time to read your selfwritten text right now, but I just had to comment on this post. 1. Yay! Smile on my face whenever I see you've blogged :) 2. Your chipmunk face is too cute! 3. Those photos at the end are magical. I love the color scheme.. Are you going to make a full series of them?

  3. Those leaves are beautiful! I love horse chesnuts in autumn!

  4. Oh, poor you!!! My brother had his wisdom teeth out. He swelled up something hilarious, and we called him the chipmunk, too. :) And I loved your writing piece!

  5. Hey Inna, new follower here! I found you through pinterest.
    I hope you keep feeling better(: Thank you for sharing your journal, it had me thinking and then giggling.
    I think Merlin is the perfect cure for any sickness.
    xx Riley

  6. Inna! I LOVE your blog! You still look adorable with your chipmunk cheeks. ^_^




  7. I've just found your blog and... thank you. i love it. i needed this energy. :)



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