It was a few years ago.
I cannot remember her name.
I do recall, she was old. Perhaps 90.
Long, often messy hair, sometimes in pony tails, still dark.
She was thin. As a… rake.
And, intermittently her level of upset would increase;
Whether from fear, pain, anxiety or insight, I do not know.
And, at these times she would cry.
Nothing we would do could console.
And with this, as she wept, wailed, her jaw would dislocate.
It was horrible.
Jaw dislocation is not that uncommon. Most often, it happens after an extra-large yawn. I remember back in the day, doctor in A&E, this was one of the conditions that were very easy to treat. You do a special manoeuvre and everything is better; pain relief and grateful patient.
My old lady wasn’t amenable to this.
Her jaw, temporo-mandibular joint, we call it, was so worn, so deteriorated (because of malnutrition as a consequence of lost dentures) that the groove was gone; two abutting bones, and slip, mouth locked-open and pain.
Everyone was in despair as to how to treat, how to support;
Were she 50 years younger, had she not dementia, perhaps, but no, the options were limited.
In the end, despite the great and the good of medicine and surgery we couldn’t help and the best we could offer was pain relief.
Emaciated, tattered hospital gown exposing her rib-cage.
Does this help explain why I sometimes become emotional at work?