Wooden You Know It

Well, I went for my appointment at Burnley Hospital’s Oral Surgery department to see the Maxillofacial specialist – except I didn’t.

See her, that is.

She was off sick.

But, I did get to see a registrar instead. Who was lovely. Although she hadn’t read any of my file, and relied solely on what I told her about the last two years as the basis for the appointment.

Which was fine.

Except for when she mis-heard me say I had my first lot of cancer treatment 20 months ago and thought I’d said two months ago. Which changed things a bit once I’d clarified the situation.


She wanted an x-ray of my jaw, which they did there and then in the department. I had to stand upright, teeth biting down on a bit of plastic to keep me in position. The radiographer aligned the bottom plate of the machine under my chin, but wasn’t satisfied with how upright I was standing, so he kept pressing the button to nudge it up.

He nudged, and he nudged, and he nudged.

You know that scene in the first Star Wars movie, when Darth Vader strides onto Princess Leia’s transport ship, grabs the captain by the throat and lifts him into the air so that his legs are dangling a foot or so off the ground?


Bugger me, it hurt.

Once the x-ray was done, I went back in to see the registrar who informed me that I have an infection in my lower jaw.



It might be scarring because of the radiotherapy I had two months ago.

No, remember? I told you it was 20 months ago?

Oh, yes!

So, is it an infection, or scarring?

She didn’t know.

But, she knew someone who would…

The specialist.

She said she would make me an appointment to come back to see her in two to three weeks.

In the meantime, she would help me to exercise my jaw and stretch out the spasmed muscles causing my trismus.

Remember in my previous post, when I showed you the image on the gadget that fits between your teeth and gradually cranks them apart, forcing the muscles to stretch out?


Well, she gave me a bag of wooden sticks.

You know, the ones the doctor uses to press down on your tongue then tells you to say “Ahhhhh!”

I got a little bag of those.

About 12 of them.

The plan is that I have to see how many of them I can jam between my teeth.

No, really…

Then, when I think I’m ready, I have to wedge another one in there to work the muscles.

The plan is to be able to cram all 12 sticks in there at some point.


After weeks of pinpoint laser treatment, and litres of expertly mixed chemotherapy drugs – I now have to jam big ice lolly sticks in my mouth like I’m going for some bizarre world record.

Maybe I could force them all in while riding a glow-in-the-dark unicycle, juggling gluten-free hedgehogs and wearing a beard made from cross-eyed bees.

Perhaps then I could finally get to go on Record Breakers.

Where I’d almost certainly be arrested for punching Norris McWhirter in the throat.

While clutching my car keys in my fist.

Is he still alive?

I know his twin brother isn’t. Partly due to his extreme right wing views coming back to bite him on his white-power, fact-filled arse.

Where was I?

Oh yeah… sticks.

This’ll be fun.


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2 thoughts on “Wooden You Know It

  1. If this is physiotherapy of some description, go for it, no matter how mad it sounds. As a veteran of multiple physiotherapy sessions I would vouch for the fact that a) it’s usually a ball ache but b) it also, usually, helps a great deal.

    Good luck with the lolly wedging – I hope they have, at least, had the decency to give you some with the same cheesy jokes printed on them as the real article.



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