tongue tied

jan 12in sixth grade i had frizzy, permed hair and braces. i also played softball (i was a catcher) however, this story is about school.

in my elementary school we had two classes per grade. in sixth grade we had mr. santner and mrs. santner. they were in-laws, mrs. santner had married mr. santner’s brother. we split classes for math, and i was in the “high” math group with mr. santner, eventhough mrs. santner was my homeroom teacher.

when you have braces, everything you eat gets stuck in them. also, the wires stick out at the end and the orthdontist curls them around so that they don’t stick you. but it still does sometimes, and you have to put wax on it.

 anyone that has had braces will tell you getting stuff out of your braces without a toothbrush requires two parts: the suck and the tongue dig. first, you have to create a vaccum around the space by sucking the air out of your mouth and then using the pressure to suck out the food. sometimes it isn’t enough, so you have to use your tongue to pull it out.

well, anyways on this particular day of my story, i had a turkey sandwhich for lunch. we were in math class and some of the turkey was stuck under the wires. i was used to this. so as i was digging it out, i felt a sharp pinch, and a pull. then, TROUBLE! my tongue was stuck. and i mean i couldn’t move it AT ALL. i tried not to panic, but my tongue seem to be two sizes bigger and i started to get worried. i put up my hand. mr. santner (who was sitting at his desk) motioned for me to come up. as calmly as possible, i walked up to his desk with my notebook and pencil in hand. when i got there, i put my notebook down on his desk and started to write on the blank page. he looked at me quizzically, and then looked at what i wrote.

“Help! My tounge is stuck on my braces!” (back then i didn’t hate capitals)

very slowly, he looked up at me with his eyebrows raised, and said “You spelled tongue wrong.”

at this point i screamed a muffled scream and waved my hands in the air to signify that i couldn’t talk and needed help. it succeeded in getting the rest of the student’s attention.

at this point mr. santner started laughing and said “well, i guess… go to the nurse?”

so i went down to see the nurse. she was a wonderful lady. but absolutely no help in the tongue department. she explained that my tongue had gotten pierced underneath by a wire on my braces. she tried getting it off, but the wire was curved, so she couldn’t do it. she didn’t want to tear the skin of the tongue and was at a loss of what to do. she called my mom, who said she’d come and get me and take me to the orthodontist.

the nurse walked me up to my homeroom (so she could talk for me, as i couldn’t) as we got there mr. santner came out and she filled him in. in his defense, he tried really hard not to laugh. i have to say, he did better than i did. i learned at an early age to laugh at myself.  he tried (in vain) to get my tongue unstuck, but no luck. mrs. santner came out and through some laughing tears, mr. santner  filled her in. she didn’t laugh once! she said “i’ll get your things for you, sweetie.” when she came back out she also tried to take my tongue off, again to no avail.

at this point there has been 3 people with their hands in my mouth in about 20 minutes.

when we got down to the office to wait for my mom, the secretary and principal had a go. no luck. (the count is now 5 people with their hands in my mouth, grabbing my tongue and moving it around. and i can’t talk at all.)

of course, mom had to try too – no sense paying the orthodontist to do it if she can handle it. nada.

when we arrived at the orthodontist’s office, it was dark, doors locked, and two cars in the parking lot. EEK! so my mom pounded on the doors until two ladies came out. they were the office’s accountants. they explained that everyone was at an orthodontist convention on the other side of the state. my mom explained the situation. the ladies had me come in and they both took turns trying to get my tongue off of the wire. if you are counting, we are now up to 8 people with their hands in my mouth.

shaking their heads, my mom and the ladies talked about the emergency room (i was desperately trying to get a drink) and the one lady said “well, before you go there let me try one more thing. i think if we have her sit in the chair and get the wire cutters i can snip the end of the wire so that we can slide her tongue off, but i’m going to need you to hold her tongue so i don’t cut it on accident.” in retrospect, i should have just called my dad – he would have done this straight away. so i got in the chair, and everyone was hysterically patronizing. i think that they thought i was nervous because i didn’t say anything, maybe they had forgotten that i couldn’t talk? my mom held my tongue and the lady snipped the wire and slide my tongue off. WHEW!

i croaked out a “thanks,” and then i looked at my mom and said “can i please get a drink?” she said “sure” and took me through mcdonald’s to get a coke. then she made me go back to school.


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