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Braintox

How I feel when I wake up.

So, the other day I had some botulism cooties injected into my jaw muscles to stop me from grinding my teeth at night. And hopefully, put an end these delightful morning headaches I am ascribing to said grinding. [If you missed the full, sad story, it’s here.]

I had the shots in a “spa” setting above a hair salon.

Honestly, it felt a little back alley to me, but since my doctor doesn’t do Botox, and my dentist doesn’t do Botox, I am left seeking relief where I can.

Picture, if you will, a big, fat, middle-aged bald dude waiting in the middle of a salon, being given the stink-, side-, hairy- and any other sort of something-eye you can imagine while standing in the waiting area of a fairly chi-chi poo-poo salon. I was standing because of a squad of multi-generational females who had taken up all the waiting furniture in the waiting room. Even the children kept their seats. [My mother would have smacked me if I hadn’t offered my seat to an adult, especially one with grey hair. Gasp. The horror, the horror.]

Anyway, everything that’s wrong with kids today aside, I was standing when the aesthetician and her cohort arrived. Hands were shaken, knowing smiles exchanged, and I was shown upstairs to a sort of Greg Brady’s attic bedroom, if it was a dimly lit spa.

The cohort offered me water. I declined.

The aesthetician handed me a fat stack of forms, an intake sort of form, and a “You can’t sue us no matter what happens” sort of form that I had to read, initial, and date every paragraph for about 6 or 8 pages. “Many of these won’t apply to you since you’re having it done for TMJ.”

“Bruxism.”

“Yes. So you won’t be having any shots in the forehead or brows,” her hands did a stewardess sort of “the exits are located above the wings” mechanical pointing to her forehead and eyebrow. “So the stuff about sagging eyelids can’t happen. Well, shouldn’t happen.”

There might be some sagging…

The cohort offered me water. I declined.

We did a few more minutes of “Who’s on First” but with TMJ and Bruxism instead of baseball players, then she led me into another room that was white and well lit, with a tufted white leather couch. They could have been a couple of grey space aliens about to probe me, it was so sterile and futuristic looking. The cohort offered me water. I declined.

The process went like this.

This won’t hurt a bit…
  • Clench your teeth
  • Release
  • Clench
  • Scribble on your jaw with a magic marker
  • Cohort offers water.
  • Decline
  • Clench your teeth
  • Release
  • Clench
  • Scribble on your jaw with a magic marker
  • Cohort offers water.
  • Decline

A little swab of alcohol. A little grandmotherly cheek pinching. Then stab stab stab, four shots in the muscled part of your jaw on the right. [You know that feeling when you first cut into a tomato? You can feel the resistance as you start, then a the pop as the knife pierces the skin. Kinda like that, I imagine, but with your face instead of a tomato.] Then a repeat of the clench/release process on the left side.

[Maybe the needle going in was more like a grape than a tomato. I’m not sure. It was a disturbing feeling either way, and there was something disturbing about it. I think because the needle went in much more slowly than I was accustomed to, or there was some sort of time distortion field slowing things down. I shall remember the feeling, though, regardless of the produce analogy.]

I’m not sure what the cohort was there for, as I couldn’t drink water. She held my shoulder and pet in a way disturbing like the way I have held several elderly and decrepit pets as they were euthanized. Not at all a disturbing connection. Not at all.

Shots over then came the odd instructions. No heavy lifting, no lying down for three hours [??], no alcohol [!], no massaging the area–I guess they didn’t want the Botox wandering where it wasn’t wanted.

“Many of these won’t apply to you since you’re having it done for TMJ.”

“Bruxism.”

“Yes.”

“Would you like a water or something?”

“No, thank you, I’m fine.”

The aesthetician who administered the shots said she’d follow up in the morning to see if there was any bruising, swelling, or headache. [She was as good as her word, too. Early morning text.] Then she said to wait ten days to two weeks to see results, then we’ll decide whether we’ll do more, or not. But I want results NOW.

In the meantime, I am jumping through hoops to get my medical flexible spending plan to cough up–this is going to give me wrinkles, then I’ll need more Botox, lather, rinse, repeat.

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Published inAutobiographicalBrain Farts and others