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Bite your tongue!

This definitely qualifies as Weird Post of the Week. If you’re particularly squeemish about blood and things, I recommend you skip this entry and go right on to reading about my thoughts on being a Mac switcher.

As per my usual lunch hour custom, I went to the Premier Club (a local gym here in Dallas) to sate my basketball playing thirst and get some weightlifting in. I was having your usual day — a turnover, a couple of missed jump shots, a made jump shot or two. Nothing to raise my status as an extremely average player that’s far too short for the sport.

I made the unfortunate mistake of getting caught in the paint on defense, and after going for and missing a rebound, I hovered behind my opponent with the ball hoping to catch him by surprise and get a blocked shot (I don’t get many of those). Unfortunately for me, he kind of stuck out his elbow as he went up — which caught my lower jaw and slammed my teeth together. Even more unfortunately for me, part of my tongue was between my teeth.

I bled, and I bled a lot. Most of the front of my white jersey was red. I played through, just licking my jersey every couple of seconds to avoid swollowing too much blood. I had to change jerseys as soon as the bleeding slowed enough that I could deal with the blood in my mouth. (The guy that did it was apologetic — it wasn’t really his fault. Not a huge fan of the elbows being out, but he also didn’t know I was there. A couple of people inspected my tongue and confirmed that I had a “nasty gash.”)

Everyone at work was eager to see my tongue, and it put on quite a show. I didn’t really get a look at it until I got to work (it had mostly stopped bleeding by this point, a good hour after it happened, so I could see clearly what the damage was). There’s a small chunk missing from the side, a large area that looks bruised, a bit of an area that’s kind of dangling a bit. It’s pretty gross. Surprisingly, though, it didn’t hurt that much to eat spicy food afterwards. It’s sore now, several hours later — especially when talking. Overall though, not a big deal. In fact, having typed this out, I’m not sure it makes much of a blog post. But since I’ve already typed it out, I might as well post it. Hope it didn’t gross you out too much!

Wed August 10th, 2005 5:00 pm

24 comments

  1. Ned said:
    August 10th, 2005 5:53 pm

    At my workplace, lunch hour sports injuries include but are not limited to: concussion, broken arms (both), sprained ankle, broken ankle and an assortment of lacerations to the head and face. I wonder if the incidence of sports injury increases for the office worker during lunch hour?

    You didn’t mention seeking any medical attention. A tongue being quite a useful thing, I would have thought some expert opinion and advice from a medical professional would have been in order. I guess guys don’t do that…

  2. Andrew said:
    August 10th, 2005 11:35 pm

    Hey Ned! Thanks for stopping in and commenting.

    I imagine so — I think I’m the only lunch work-outer in my office, but since I participate every day, I’ve caused a bloodied face a couple of times, and been on the receiving end a couple of times (along with the usual ankle injuries, a basketball staple). The broken arms are unique, though! I’ve seen it happen once on a basketball court — a guy went up for a dunk, his hands slipped on the rim, and he fell backwards and broke his fall with his arms, which broke instead. Not a pretty sight.

    You’re right, I didn’t mention seeking any medical attention. Maybe I should have — it’s been hurting pretty intensely when I try to eat. But I figured it’s a tongue, what are they going to do? The little piece is gone, and can they really stitch up a tongue? Tongues heal fast, anyway. If it were my face bleeding that much, I probably would have gone in for stitches.

    And yeah, part of it is probably a guy thing. I didn’t take any plays off — played through with blood all over the place. Probably not the best of ideas, but you know how it goes in the heat of the moment… I was interested in winning that game of basketball!

  3. Mallory said:
    August 10th, 2005 11:44 pm

    Please go to the doctor. You can get stitches in your tongue and perhaps you should. I know it sounds awful, the idea of stitches in your tongue, but if there is really a piece of it hanging off (I’m seriously about to puke), then you need to get that reattached.

    Also…um…what was I going to say? Oh, right. This is one of those times I’m so glad I don’t take you up on the “you could come to the gym and watch me play basketball” spiel. ;-)

  4. Andrew said:
    August 10th, 2005 11:55 pm

    If it keeps reopening and bleeding when I eat, I probably will have to. We’ll see what a good night of sleep does. I have confidence in you, tongue! You can do it! YOU CAN DO IT!

    … but you will still do it some time, right? :( Visit me in my milleau, and watch me play poorly with guys bigger than me??

  5. Mallory said:
    August 10th, 2005 11:56 pm

    Yeah, I will this semester. Just don’t be surprised if I puke if you get hurt. Or pass out. Or shake and cry. Or all of the above.

    You saw me with the ankle!! Thank goodness that toilet seat was there…and closed. (Since you so rarely close the toilet seat. grin)

  6. Andrew said:
    August 11th, 2005 12:00 am

    It’s unlikely I’ll get hurt. This doesn’t count as hurt, it’s just a cut. Cuts don’t count. It’s bones and ligaments I worry about! Do not worry about me!

    … and it’s true, I’m bad about the toilet seat. I’m a guy. It’s in my DNA to pee and run.

  7. Mallory said:
    August 11th, 2005 12:07 am

    Cuts count!! If there is blood, it counts! Blood isn’t necessary for counting, but it does necessarily cause the accompanying injury to “count.”

    Don’t get me started on guys and “-ing and running.” You’re dealing with a tired and still somewhat cranky feminist, remember?

  8. Mallory said:
    August 11th, 2005 12:12 am

    [Referring, of course, to certain endearing theories about male biology; namely, those about the absolute need for spreading one's genes as widely as possible.]

  9. Andrew said:
    August 11th, 2005 12:14 am

    I’ve never heard of that theory!! la.

    And blood is no biggie, except in large amounts. Cuts and scrapes happen, no biggie. Silly worry wart! :)

  10. Mallory said:
    August 11th, 2005 12:17 am

    You lie! :-P

    If you reddened the whole of the front of your white jersey, that is enough to qualify as “large amounts.”

    I worry because I worry I will puke. In public. After you have already deluged the place with blood. Do you want a bodily fluid-fest?

    I cannot believe I have five times on an entry about your bitten-off tongue. It’s like I miss you or something.

  11. Andrew G said:
    August 12th, 2005 3:26 am

    Any chance those of that aren’t as squeemish as Malory could see a photo or two of your mangled tongue?

  12. Mallory said:
    August 12th, 2005 9:23 pm

    Hey, now. I’m going to have to see it in person and rather up close. I think I deserve some respect for that.

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    September 30th, 2005 5:39 pm

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  14. Sonofabaz said:
    July 24th, 2006 10:12 am

    I just had a small lump cut off the end of my tongue, thats why I ended up here to see how long these damn catgut stitches will need to be in for. Yup, you can have your tongue stitches. If you dont wanna go down that route, I suggest plenty of salt water gargling, mouth wash and NO SMOKING. Maybe a few whiskies/vodkas might be ok, but I would stay clear of the spicy food (I have been living off of noodles for the last week)….

  15. Lunar Adventures » Blog Archive » Lunar Adventures public service: Helping you find what you were Googling for (maybe) said:
    August 10th, 2006 3:40 pm

    [...] “stitches in tongue” – Last year, I reported that I had bitten off a chunk of my tongue while playing basketball.  Not good times.  This is one of the more popular google search queries for my site — I’m the #3 site on Google when you search for “stitches in tongue”!  I’m going to put that on my resume, for sure. At any rate, I suspect a lot of people that are visiting are either 1) weird or 2) dealing with a similar injury.  If you have a similar injury, I recommend seeing a doctor if you think it’s serious.  That sucker bled a lot, and swallowing blood is never a good thing.  It also made eating difficult, and the next day it hurt so much it was radiating pain into my head.  I ended up not needing stitches, and the tongue healed remarkably quickly and fully — I was back to normal in a week (with a weirdly shaped tongue).  Today, there’s no sign of me ever having had bitten some of it off.  Good work, tongue!  But still, see a doctor.  You might need stitches or some medication, especially if it becomes infected or something.  Why take a chance? [...]

  16. swollentongue said:
    February 9th, 2007 8:06 pm

    Well, I have bitten off part of my tongue and here I am. Great Blog… so when does the tongue stop swelling? When will I be able to eat properly… I am on yoghurt and ketchup so far… and some jelly!

    Another important point… why no smoking????

    thnx

  17. Sandy said:
    May 27th, 2008 5:23 pm

    Two Weeks ago I bit into my tongue while chewing gum. I thought it would heal without any problem as I had done same thing before. This time it didn’t heal well so now I have white bump and small gap in my tongue. I am thinking of contact my dentist for reconstuction surgery!!!!!

  18. woorae said:
    July 30th, 2008 11:13 am

    hi guys i bit down on my tongue when i got hit on the chin playing basketball. i bit down with my molars to the two sides of my tongue. On both sides, there is a small piece maybe the size of a rice grain hanging off the tongue. However at this point, I don’t think it is a dead tissue becuase its just big enough to be part of the tongue and its kinda gross having something just dangle off of your tongue. I’m stil afraid to cut it off entirely from my tongue because it’ll hurt like a mofo. Let me know of any suggestions.

  19. Andrew Kaufmann said:
    July 30th, 2008 9:20 pm

    hey woorae — I almost feel lucky for having had a clean bite-through! I really don’t know what to do there — I’d call your doctor and ask him if you need to come in, or just make an appointment. When in doubt, see the doc is what I always say.

  20. Maureen Doron said:
    September 6th, 2008 3:27 pm

    Can someone HELP me….Four days ago i had a Fibroma removed from the tip of my tongue ( i would not recommend it) I have not been able to eat anything and i have to swallow frappe’s with my tongue sticking out…I called my dentist as my tongue is white and he said it is normal..he told me it would feel like a pizza burn for a few days….He lied !!!! OMG…. The stitches are starting to melt but this is sooooo not worth having it out….Does anybody have any idea when i will be able to eat normally???

  21. babie-boo said:
    December 9th, 2008 2:22 pm

    Maureen Doron- it will probably be quite a while befor you are back to your usual self, i would say u will be able to eat most ting about two months, but that is just on my personal expereance. one year ago i bit straght through the tip of my tonge due to the gap im my teath it was hanging on by a peice of flesh in the middle of my tounge, i had thirteen stiches and it took three months to heal fully. i was eating jelly and ice-cream for a month.

  22. Len said:
    March 18th, 2009 2:36 pm

    I appreciate your blog. I was at the dentist today and my tongue accidentally got caught in his drill. The drill won. It was very painful and bled profusely for 5 min or so. The part that was injured is actually the soft connective tissue underneath the tongue where your taste buds are, I believe. Anyway, he applied pressure with a gauze bandage and got it to stop bleeding. Now that it stopped bleeding, there is a hole clearly visible, about 2 mm wide and 2-3 mm deep. It’s perfectly round. I have to put some gel on it 3 x/day that contains camomille etc., to help keep it from getting infected. Chewing solid foods is painful. I’m also gargling with salt water. But I am wondering if the hole will ever close up on its own if I do not get stitches.

  23. Linda said:
    January 31st, 2010 3:31 pm

    After googling “stiches in tongue,” I found myself here, reading hilarious stories from people with various tongue accidents, and thought I should contribute my own. We live in Northern Minnesota, and about three hours ago, my son “tripped” while playing outside in the -4 degree weather, and his tongue became attached to my wraught-iron fire pit/chiminea thing. He pulled away and left a piece of his tongue on the metal object (I can actually see the frozen meat melded to the fire pit from my kitchen window). It bled and bled and bled; his spit out mouthfuls of blood. In fact, it is still bleeding, three hours later, around the edges of the 1/2 inch long and 1/8 of an inch deep abraison. So, I’m wondering if he needs stiches. However, after reading these entries, it sounds like stiches may cause more problems than they will solve…

  24. zoomaweable said:
    August 7th, 2013 1:19 am

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