The doctor’s note

by Shauna on March 9, 2012

I suffer from a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ). And it’s been a problem for me as long as I can remember.

When I was in my late teens I went to see an oral surgeon. He recommended surgery, but with the support of my mom, I opted out. Mostly because he said I wouldn’t be able to eat solid foods for more than a week and at the time I was deeply involved in a relationship with the Ultimate Cheeseburger from Jack-In-The-Box. That’s also the time in my life I believed calorie counts started over at midnight. I’m not even joking. I either heard it or read it or made it up…but I thought that when you went to bed at night you woke up with the calorie counter pointed at zero. It’s a new day people! Let’s eat ALL THE FOOD!

Talk about delusional.

Anyway, over the years I’ve had to deal with a lot of jaw pain, headaches, and championship winning caliber teeth grinding. I wear an appliance at night to keep the grinding and clenching to a minimum. Basically it’s the sexiest condition you can have. Ask anyone who has ever slept in the same bed as me.

I gotta tell you though, this whole TMJ thing is getting old.

So recently I visited another specialist to discuss any possible options. Can’t you people in the medical profession fix this problem already?

I sat down with the handsome doctor/dentist person and talked in great length about the headaches and the jaw popping and my issues with the huge plastic appliance I’m being forced to shove in my face every night.

He listened intently, nodding his head as if he’d heard all these same complaints before, and then offered this feedback.

“I want you to stop opening your mouth so wide. And don’t bite into anything that is too tough, chewy, etc. For instance, no bagels, no club sandwiches…they’re too tall. You get what I’m saying.”

The words I want you to stop opening your mouth so wide stuck with me. And my mind immediately went past food to something else we as women are subjected to doing with our mouths. You know what I’m talking about.

“So what you’re saying is I really really really shouldn’t open my mouth wider than say…a popsicle?”

“Precisely. The more you can keep those joints in your jaw from popping, the better. Take small bites of food.”

“Yeah, yeah, got it. Can I get you to write me a doctor’s note, excusing me from certain activities?”

He cocked his head to the side and made a face. He obviously had no idea what I was referring to. But why would he? He was a man after all. His brain and my brain were not going to end up in the same place where blow jobs were concerned. Also, he reminded me of my cocker spaniel, Morrissey, the way he was looking at me.

“I’m sorry, I’m not following you.”

See? He had no idea.

“You know. Women. Men. That whole thing…”

It must have clicked then because he immediately turned away from me and pretty much didn’t make eye contact with me the rest of the consultation.

Before sending me on my way though, he asked, “So who am I making the note out to?”

I’m making two predictions here:

1. TMJ is about become the largest global epidemic among women since polio.

2. This will be the only time a man will ever say the phrase “It’s not that big.”

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicky March 9, 2012 at 10:41 am

I suffer from TMJ too and have to wear the oh so sexy appliance. I think I am going to take your doctor’s advice!


monstergirlee March 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

I’ve had it on and off over the years, saw a doctor and the dentist, had x-rays, basically my doc gave me exercises, and the dentist said don’t open too wide. It seems to be worse when I’m stressed out, and when I was pregnant. It hasn’t hit me much in last couple years.

btw – That’s really funny. Hope your husband is understanding ;-)
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laura @ hollywood housewife March 9, 2012 at 11:07 am

Wait. The calorie count doesn’t start over at midnight?
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Nikki Mohamed March 11, 2012 at 2:32 am

Yeah, I was wondering about that one too! When DO they start over?
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Amy - Hamlet's Mistress March 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thanks for bursting my bubble on the whole calorie thing. Though now I do have an answer for “how’d I get this fat???” And also? My jaw hurts. And I have a headache. Suddenly, in the last two minutes. And I’d say that out loud but I seem to not be able to stop clenching my mouth shut…
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Julia March 9, 2012 at 11:23 am

Being able to mortify a member of medical profession to a point where they can’t make eye contact is quite an accomplishment. My hat is off to you, ma’am!
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kellyk March 9, 2012 at 11:26 am

I have had TMJ too…for years. I did the appliance thing.

Then I started going to the chiropractor, the kind that offices out of her apartment, gives me a long list of every natural remedy for anything and I mean anything that I or my cat may suffer from ever, and she just knocks my jaw back in place. Seriously it feels as if she moves my lower jaw 5 inches from where it should be. Best thing ever! And the best part? No surgery and no paying $500 for a super sexy appliance.

I don’t consider it a downside that I can open my jaw without pain wider than a popsicle…you may though. ;)


hdj March 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

O!M!G! Thank you for helping to end this never ending week on a high note.
Although, if this were to actually become an epidemic among women, I think you would see some “male doctors of the world unite!” campaigns to find a cure. I guess the up side would be no more mouth guard right?


Jessica March 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

ohmygod. Shauna, I love you.
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bellawriter (Nuala Reilly) March 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Bwa ha ha, snorted my orange juice at work.
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Stacey March 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

This whole post was a thats what she said hahahaha thanks for the Friday laugh


Rachel March 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Simply, Awesome!!

I am completely disappointed that the calorie counter does not in fact reset at midnight – explains a lot though.

Also, I’m certain now that I positively have TMJ!! I’m making my doctor appointment for next week!! :)
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Becky Mochaface March 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Holy hell, this is awesome. I need to get to a doctor so I can get a note.
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Sarah H March 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

You could probably sell that note and make all the dollars. And what do you mean the calorie counter doesn’t start over at midnight. Ambien said it does and it’s okay to eat snacks in bed.


Tabitha March 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I, too, have TMJ and it super sucks (just not literally lol). I feel your pain, though. My dentist told me not to yawn. Okay, yeah, I’ll work on that! As for the blow jobs, I’ve been telling my husband that for more than 5 years and he totally doesn’t care. I’m on my way to drag him to the computer to read this blog entry :)


BF March 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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