Last summer, on May 13, 2015, I was spending my night in Oakland, Iowa. Having softball game after softball game was a nightly routine for my family. My sisters and I both had games on the same days, which made things a lot easier for the family and traveling.
The sky looked dark; it had rained all day. I got out of the vehicle and stared at the all of the mud puddles, wondering if my sisters and I would even get the chance to play. The opposing team was warming up on the opposite side of the field, so we assumed that it would be an okay day to play softball.
I sat in the bleachers and chewed on dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds with my friend’s little sister named Alyssa. Alyssa was around the age of four at the time, so she didn’t know to eat the middle part of the sunflower seed, not the shell. She chewed up the whole thing and spit it out. The crunched up seed would land on the seats below us. I always got a good laugh out of it.
With the wind picking up, I ran to my van and picked up my white Under Armour shirt. I changed quickly in the bathroom, I fixed my hair also. When I got out of the bathroom, I saw a few of my teammates. My sister’s game was in the third inning, so we thought that it would be a great time to play some catch and get our arms warmed up before our game.
My friend Sydney and I went behind the concession stands to play catch, and the rest of the team followed us there. We were all bunched together, and none of us seemed to be paying attention. We were laughing and having one heck of a time. Our team bonds more than any other team probably. While looking the other direction, Sydney accidently threw the ball way behind me, so I slowly dragged my feet over to the ball.
As I bent down to pick up the ball, another ball came spiraling in, which hit me in the face. In that split second, I felt like I was in a dream. I thought that none of it had ever occurred, and I prayed that it was all in my head. I tried to stick my tongue out, but before I could do anything, I looked at the blood dripping down my left elbow which was from holding my hand up to my mouth. I felt like vomiting after seeing all of the blood. I screamed and shouted, so Breanna Osbahr took me over to the bathrooms to check my mouth. My teeth were lodged an inch back, and my lip was completely caught in my braces. My mom rushed in, and right after looking at me; we were headed to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Omaha.
Friends of our family took my bag home with them so it wouldn’t be left in Oakland overnight. We drove around 90 miles per hour to the emergency room. It didn’t seem to frighten me as much as what was going on at the moment. I remember yelling, “Mom, I am going to be so ugly!” I was beyond scared of what would happen. I believed that my teeth would be pulled out, and I would have to have fake teeth. The blood continued gushing out of my mouth. I couldn’t help but cry.
When we arrived at the hospital, I got out and had ahold of a few napkins we found in our van. I also had an ice pack; it wasn’t doing anything to ease my pain. I walked in through the hospital doors, and a lady at the desk was asking for all sorts of information. She asked what my name was, when my birthday was, etc. The lady led us into a room with a nurse who asked for my height and weight and asked a few more questions. I was furious that they weren’t getting me into a room immediately. My teeth were basically dangling in my mouth.
The nurse took us into a room that would soon have a few doctors in it. I lied down on the hospital bed and hoped that they’d be able to fix my teeth. My mom and grandma both held each of my hands; they assured me that I was going to be okay. I was drained from crying and screaming, so instead my legs just shook like crazy.
When the few doctors came in, they handed me a bucket where I could spit some of my blood out. They were nervous of the blood pooling in my stomach and me getting sick. They had me open my mouth and after examining for a couple of minutes, they were unsure of what to do. They ask me if I had been knocked out by the accident, and they were very surprised when I said that I hadn’t. They took a picture of my teeth and sent it to Children’s Hospital in Omaha. They wanted to get the facts straight before they attempted any adjusting.
While they were gone, I got up and went to the bathroom. My mom told me to not open my mouth; she was scared I would panic again or pass out. I walked back into the room and behind me were the doctors. They sat me down, and very calmly they said, “We will have to move those teeth back up without any type of pain medicine. I am sorry, I’ll have to do it, but it is the only way that they have a chance of surviving.” At first I kept yelling and disagreeing with the doctors. My mom snapped at me, and she told me that they knew what was best.
They moved the chair back, and my whole entire body began to shake. One of the doctors covered me in a blanket so that I wouldn’t go into shock. Both my mom and grandma held my hands, and the doctor behind me was getting prepared. He said, “You’ll feel a lot of pain, so just grip onto the hands when it begins to hurt.” He grabbed my teeth from behind and slowly moved my teeth back up. I heard every part of my mouth crunch; it was disgusting. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but my teeth weren’t all the way straight yet. The Jennie Ed doctors weren’t able to do much more because they weren’t dentists, so they sent me to Children’s for final adjustments.
On the way to Children’s, I fell asleep. When I woke up, the bright lights of the hospital had awoken me. My mom carried me out of the van and into the hospital. I finally had awoken when we walked in, so I stepped down and the Children’s doctors led us into the dentistry part of the hospital. My family was not allowed into the room, so I sat down on the chair and they began to ask me questions right away. I could tell that they were trying to comfort me, but I was still so nervous.
They got out a few needles and injected numbing medicine into my gums. I couldn’t feel my teeth at all, and they said it would be like that for awhile. They used their fingers and a popsicle stick to slowly move my teeth back up into place. After they were done moving them into place, they needed to keep them stabilized. They attached two brackets to two of my teeth and then put a wire across. They glued the wire to my teeth to make sure they wouldn’t fall out.
Once they doctors were done, they led me out of the room and told my mom they would have to monitor my teeth for the next five years to make sure the nerves were not dying in my front teeth.
The recovery process was the worst of everything that had happened. I was not able to eat normal, solid foods for awhile. I lived off ramen noodles and mac and cheese for a month or two until they decided that it was time for me to begin using my front teeth again to eat foods. It was very frustrating trying to bite. It hurt my teeth a lot. I got used to it as time went on, and then they put my braces back on.
Currently, I am still going back for check ups every two months. They are planning on my teeth staying alive, and I am able to keep playing sports. If I took anything out of this, it would be to always wear a face mask while playing softball, regardless of what position I am playing.