I was fully awake.
I was awake and throwing up when they injected my jaw so that it bulged up and triggered my gag reflex. They then walked off and left me with an assistant I could not even see.
I was fully awake when blood filled my mouth and I couldn’t swallow for fear of setting off the gag reflex again.
I wish I hadn’t been. This is definitely the kind of experience I would prefer to be unconscious for.
Well it’s not like this hasn’t happened to me before. I’ve become a bit of an expert at having complicated bone surgery in my mouth.
The big four hour surgery was done a few months back. I fought for sedation and I was intimidated, ridiculed, and obstructed every step of the way. But then I somehow managed to convince them. And it was worth it, for sure, although incredibly expensive.
And I picked myself up after this second surgery too. The one where I was fully awake and gagging. I picked myself up and walked, head throbbing and tears drying off.
After being humiliated in the pharmacy for having a numb mouth and not being able to speak ‘properly’, I went to the supermarket to buy soft food.
It soothed me.
In the supermarket, my mouth was also still frozen and my face was swollen, but the cheese and the pudding and the soy milk didn’t humiliate me. The bananas didn’t mind. The ice cream blinked cheerful colours at me and I spent a long time in front of the Japanese cabinet.
This distracted me a bit from the pain which was hammering at my nose and eyes from underneath, deep inside the bone. The gums were swelling up allover my jaw. That pain was nothing I couldn’t handle.
But seared into my brain was the contempt of the surgeon, the contempt he threw me from his eyes, very close up, syringe in hand, when I couldn’t control my gag reflex. And when I asked for more painkiller.
Of course. Of course! Of course this reminded me of a sexual assault. And how the men, the men who assault, the men who’ve assaulted me in the past (nothing too bad, at least not in the eyes of the law, at least not at that time, but seared into my brain nevertheless) that cold cruel contempt when I ‘couldn’t take it’, and when I cried. I don’t know if that contempt is common among sexual assaulters, but I recognized it from my own life.
I cried in front of the surgeon, too. The female assistant turned away.
It felt like a brutal assault on my body, pain and gagging, brutal assault on my mind and emotions and psychology taking away any dignity and sense of being human.
And then on top of it that shaming. He was shaming me for not being able to swallow the assault in silence and submission.
He was shaming me for having a physical reflex that ‘threw him out’ and not being able to snap back into the assault immediately.
I saw his mouth and his sneer.
His mouth that was of course intact.
I was fully awake. I was awake and throwing up when they injected my jaw so that it bulged up and triggered my gag reflex. They then walked off and left me with an assistant I could not even see. I was fully awake when blood filled my mouth and I couldn’t swallow for fear […] Continue reading
Here are the first few pictures from Nyla’s reading of ‘Slaughterhouse Morning’ at Waterstones Covent Garden on Friday 3 March. Wonderful audience, standing room only for quite a few! Most exciting image: people picking up my book, rapt and immersed. Reading it, buying it. Wow! Continue reading
A modern-day Boschesque purgatory “Rather than relying on major dramatic moments to carry across the power of the story, it’s the death of a thousand cuts: a steady, minute chipping away of sensitivities, of sensibilities, of defences, of any sense of normality, together with the pathetic gratitude of finally winning horribly minor victories that make […] Continue reading
Financial fiction meets Dante’s Inferno meets The Office. Wow. This was an amazing, moving book. Most of the financial fiction I read is best described as thrillers or mysteries, but not this book. At first I wasn’t sure what to expect… the first couple of pages had a pace and a style that I wasn’t […] Continue reading