Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fruit Muller

Today, I was diagnosed by a medical professional as being a fruit muller.

Let me backtrack...

For almost twenty years I have been suffering, on and off, from TMJ disorder. (That's Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, for those of you who like things spelled out).

Recently, after some ferocious popping and clicking sounds, my jaw seized up and has been in spasm for the past 3 or 4 days. I decided it was time to go back to the specialist to see what was happening.

He poked and prodded, made me chew on a piece of gum (and then immediately forced me to spit it out, just as the sugar was starting to taste good - what a tease!), measured, marked up his chart, etc.

He confirmed the spasm, explained the erosion of the joint, suggested a very specific physical therapy and also an oral surgeon if nothing else worked. (No, thanks)

Then he asked if I ate a lot of fruit.

I said I did.

"I think you're what I call a 'fruit muller'. Do you eat and kind of swirl the food around in your mouth while you're reading or watching T.V.?"

I burst out laughing. Not only has my family always made fun of me for swirling whatever I'm drinking around in my mouth before swallowing, but I've always been known as a painfully slow eater. I do love tricking food around, really tasting it.

He said this because the enamel on my teeth is eroding, too, he thinks, from the acid in fruit and juice that I mull around in my mouth.

Yes, I'm a fruit muller.

As I drove home, I realized I'm not only a fruit muller, I'm a career muller. A boy muller. A should-I-sell-my-car muller. And a what-color/interior/exterior/tire/butt warmer/sunroof Mini should I get muller? I'm a you-hurt my-feelings-ten-years-ago muller and a I-can't-believe-I hurt-his/her-feelings-ten-years-ago muller. I mull over the grades I give, the plagiarists I catch. I hold on to things tightly. As tight as a clenched jaw.

Of course I suffer from TMJ.

All this mulling causes lots of midnight grinding. Tooth grinding, that is. So much pain.

It's not alright. Something's got to change. I've got to learn to let go.

So, I'm putting it out there. I'm going to try to stop mulling - fruit and beyond.

But until then, I've just swallowed a half a Percoset to ease the pain. (Thanks to my sweet friend, who shall go nameless, who sacrificed her last, white pill when she saw me in agony the other day) The real work, I know, will come not from subtle stretches for my jaw, or a heated therabead pillow, or a soft-food diet, but from a shift in perspective, an attitude adjustment, an inner letting go.

Are you a muller? Care to join me in shedding this trait?