Friday Five: Scars

This week’s Friday Five is about braces and sutures and scars (oh my!).
1. Have you ever had braces? Any other teeth trauma? When I was seven, dental X-rays picked up a permanent tooth that, while still inside the gum, was in two pieces. It was surgically removed — and when I say surgically, I mean under general anaesthesia, in an operating room. I actually spent the night in the hospital, probably the first night of my life away from my family.
I wore braces for two years in high school. After that I had a retainer, but it caused me to lisp, something that’s difficult to deal with when you’re a socially awkward and self-conscious teenager to begin with. I finally just quit using it. (As a result, a tooth slid out of alignment and I now have a gap between my front teeth. Yeah, just like David Letterman.)
The standard adult complement of teeth is 32. But the surgery cost me one permanent tooth, four more were pulled as part of my orthodontic treatment, and I only grew one wisdom tooth (most people get four). If you do the math, you’ll conclude that I only have 24 teeth, and you’ll be correct.
2. Ever broken any bones? Just one — my right femur, in a car wreck when I was 20. Six weeks in traction, then nine weeks wearing a cast, then four weeks on crutches. I have never taken the ability to walk for granted since then.
3. Ever had stitches? I got sprayed with glass fragments in the car wreck and looked pretty bloody by the time I was pulled out of the wreckage. But the blood was from superficial nicks to my face and scalp that didn’t require sutures, just Band-Aids. (Scalp lacerations, even very small ones, bleed like crazy.) The only trauma I’ve ever experienced that required stitches was ridiculously minor: while mopping the floor at Pizza Hut (where I worked for three summers), I managed to cut the webbing between my right thumb and forefinger on the edge of a steel prep table. The cut was tiny, less than half an inch long, but it wouldn’t stop bleeding. I finally had to go to an ER and get three stitches to close it.
If non-trauma sutures count, I’ve had surgery twice on my left wrist, and twice on fingers of my right hand. (UPDATE: As of November 2006, the latter number has risen to three.)
4. What are the stories behind some of your [physical] scars? I have chicken pox scars on my temples and face, which resulted from catching the virus from my two-year-old daughter when I was 28. There are scars on both sides of my right shin where the metal pin was inserted through my tibia for the traction setup for my broken leg. I also have a small triangular scar at the base of my right forefinger (glass fragments from a broken terrarium, 6th grade) and a scar on the back of my left knee from a piece of metal at a construction site when I was five years old. (What was I doing at a construction site? My parents took me to see how our new house was coming along.)
5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? If Federal Express delivers my new computer, I’ll probably spend a good bit of the weekend installing and configuring it. I also have to do laundry, wash dishes, and try to get started on spring cleaning. On Sunday, of course, I’ll be at a party with friends, celebrating the fact that we’re not watching the Super Bowl.

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