Last Thursday I was almost done in by a Ruffles potato chip. I stuffed one into my mouth, and the ridges acted like Jack T. Colton’s machete in the movie Romancing the Stone. Needless to say, I ended up with a gorge on the side of my tongue that would have put the Grand Canyon to shame. If the pain from the initial cut wasn’t enough, the salt that immediately took up residency in the open wound nearly dropped me to my knees. I clearly thought I knew what pain was, but I was reminded of the true definition of the word on Friday afternoon, when I accidentally BIT the injured area on my tongue while gnawing on a piece of gum. I’m not sure that even natural childbirth can compare to that one. No amount of “hoo-hoo-hee” breathing was going to bring me closer to the light at the end of the pain tunnel, people.
Friday night, we made the pilgrimage to the local high school football field, which can be a daunting walk, when you get there a bit late and are forced to park on the far side of the parking lot. Once the sunshine vanished and the field lights came on, the temperature hovered somewhere near that of liquid nitrogen, but we still had a blast, regardless of the fact that my hands were so cold I was completely unable to type out text messages on my cell phone. Truly, a sad day in the world of instant messaging. We sat on the metal bleachers, which felt like icebergs beneath us, surrounded by several of our good friends, and we talked and we talked and we talked. And occasionally we watched the game. For the record, Hubs would want it to be known that the men in the group devoted their entire attention to the game, and were only distracted long enough to say, “Mustard,” when asked what they’d like to see on a $3 burger from the concession stand. Hubs and Jason and Jeff and Tyler and Brian set up a base camp that was fully devoted to football watching. They knew who had possession of the ball at all times. They cheered at all the right moments. Stephanie and Amy and Cody and Heather and I didn’t always know who had the ball. In fact, I am ashamed to say that at one point my gaze wandered out onto the field and I realized that…hello! No high school football players in my line of vision at all! It was half-time, and I’d missed the onset of it completely, because I was deep in conversation.
People are so much more important than football games. That’s why you should talk to them. And it goes without saying that I did my fair share of talking and laughing on Friday night.
Our local boys ended up winning a very close game, which pushed them into the number-one ranked team in the state. We cheered our hearts out for them, and then hiked back to our vehicles on frozen legs, with feet that had lost feeling hours previously, when the game was over.
And, at some point after we got home, I told Hubs, “My tongue is absolutely throbbing.”
Instead of offering me first aide of some kind, Hubs immediately said, “I’m not surprised, with the amount of gabbing you did tonight at the game.”
I might have mentioned one or nine times before that Hubs is a very funny guy.
With the pain in my tongue sitting at a solid 13 on a scale of 1 to 10, I began digging through the medicine cabinet in our bathroom until I hit pay dirt. It was a bottle of topical anesthetic, which could be used for cold sores in the mouth. Perfect. I did, at some point before applying it, notice on the front of the bottle the words, “Do not use if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to anesthetic of any kind.” Ha! That wasn’t me. Since I did not fit that category at all, I grabbed a Q-Tip, plunged it into the little bottle, and liberally smeared the gorge in the side of my tongue with the yellow paste.
Within seconds, my tongue began to tingle, and I cannot tell you how excited I was for that sensation, because I expected the pain to diminish quickly, simply because the product was WORKING, people! Working! I was convinced that the word “tingling” could be translated as “working.”
Within two minutes, I lost all feeling to my tongue. In fact, I lost so much feeling in my tongue, that I could not even move it. It was nothing but a dead weight in my mouth, and my lip and chin went numb. I tried to call out to Hubs, to tell him that, “Hey! I may be suffering from anaphylactic shock here,” only I couldn’t get my tongue to work to actually form the words.
I called out, “Huh! Huh!” (Translation: “Hubs! Hubs!”)
Nothing. Hubs wasn’t listening. He was on the far side of the house, rummaging through the refrigerator, because his tiny game-night hamburger hadn’t taken the edge off his hunger pangs. Besides that, the small boy and his friend, John, who was spending the night with us, had the volume on the TV cranked loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear the light sabers in the Star Wars Lego game.
I tried again. “I ung i umm. I ann ooo i.” (Translation: “My tongue is numb. I can’t move it.”)
I heard nothing but the deafening slash of video light sabers and the distant hum of the microwave, as Hubs began melting cheese in flour tortillas for a bit of a snack.
People, this topical anesthetic had ruined my tongue, my lip, and my chin. I could not feel half of my face. I drooled. Yes, I drooled like a tiny baby cutting teeth, and I couldn’t control it. I finally decided that, what with having frozen myself outside in the elements at the football game, that I’d really rather prefer to suffer anaphylactic shock while I was warm, so I got into bed, propped myself up on some pillows, and yanked the comforter up to my neck.
At some point, the numbing sensation gave away a bit, and my tongue began to flop around again, as it regained the ability to move, and I could even get some words out that could be understood. Clearly, I was thrilled as the gift of clear speech returned to me.
And I’m here to tell you, people, that I have, in my possession, a little bottle of topical anesthetic that could be used for home C-sections, appendectomies, and hip replacement surgeries.