When I was five years old, Mom told me I needed to have my frenum clipped. The frenum is the piece of tissue that connects the bottom of your tongue to the bottom of your mouth. Mine was apparently too long and may or may not have caused a speech impediment. I have absolutely no memory of having a speech impediment, but apparently Mom did have a speech impediment which is why she had her own frenum clipped. Apparently.
Anyway, I distinctly remember Mom telling the five year old me that she had to wait until she was twenty years old to get her frenum clipped and it was horribly painful because she had waited so long and she didn’t want me to have the excruciating pain at twenty, so she was going to get mine done before it would be that painful.
(She was always comforting like that. She also told me I wouldn’t be able to eat solid food for a week after having my wisdom teeth pulled.)
So my boys’ Oma took her five year old baby girl (FIVE YEARS OLD!) to the oral surgeon. I distinctly remember sitting VERY still in the surgery chair while mom stood nearby telling me that if I moved, I would cause the oral surgeon to slip with whatever instruments of destruction he was using in my mouth which would lead to irreparable harm. Naturally, I was calm. I was definitely still. I remember him poking sharp instruments in my mouth and through that piece of tissue under my tongue and telling me in a low voice that he had to poke a needle in the skin and then make a jagged rip or else the tissue would simply grow back together. Terrifying, no?
After the ripping of tissue under my tongue, Mom drove me 45 minutes back to day care and dropped me off. In my mind, she might have told me that I was a big girl and I could open the door to the day care and let myself in. I remember the fresh wound in my mouth opened at some point during the day and rinsing the blood out with water from the water fountain. What else could I do? It’s not like I had taken the gauze I had been given into day care with me.
Mom recalls things slightly differently. She says she took me into the day care center and explained what had been done and they fed me popsicles all day. I don’t remember a single popsicle.
This story gets better. I am working in surgery now and there was a Frenuloplasty on the schedule a couple of weeks ago. People go under general anesthesia to have their frenum clipped! They don’t simply get a local anesthetic and then call it a day!!
I promise it gets better.
And possibly less gross.
Since having my frenuloplasty, I have a Gene Simmons type tongue. It rolls out of my mouth forever! Mom and I compared tongues the other day (perfectly natural!) and Mom’s tongue barely goes past her lips!
The frenuloplasty at work really bothered me and I have been thinking about tongues a lot. At lunch with Ed and the munchkins last weekend, we started sticking out our tongues at each other. Ed might have simply rolled his eyes and refused to play along. Fortunately, munchkins are good with being gross. Trip’s tongue is long like mine, but in a normal sense on long. Logan’s tongue is freakishly long! I asked him if he could touch his nose with his tongue and HE TOTALLY CAN!!!
I cackled loudly in a restaurant packed with people. Ed was not amused with my uncontrollable volume. I’m not sure why. You’d think he would be used to my volume by now. Ed made a remark about Logan’s tongue that I didn’t want Logan to ask about, so I changed the topic quickly.
“Logan,” I said. “I bet you could even pick your nose with your tongue!”
The little dude tried it and if anything had been within tongue’s reach, he would have gotten it.