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Sarah Lysne: The joy of a smile

Have you ever noticed that you can still tell when somebody is smiling, even when they have their mask on? Their eyes will crinkle a little bit and sparkle. I’m so glad that people can tell when I’m smiling. I have been hiding behind my mask since October, but next week a plastic surgeon will tell me if I can have my teeth repaired. Right now I have one front tooth that is a half an inch lower than it should be and two other front teeth that are chipped. It all happened. Oct. 14, one day before my birthday.

Gifts from well-wishers. Photo provide

My ALS has affected my balance. I knew I was taking a chance by continuing to pick up my son’s dog, and bring him to my house for the day. He is a little Jack Russell Terrier. I love him, but he is a little bit too quick for me. We were walking up the steps to my back door. Dodger decided to pull a little bit to the right, and my whole body went crashing down onto the cement. I fell face down.

My daughter’s dog was visiting too. The two dogs would normally take advantage of the gate being open and cruise around the neighborhood, but they sat in the back yard and waited for help to arrive.

I was rushed to the hospital in Austin, where they took good care of me, and then I was transferred to Rochester to see a plastic surgeon. At one point I was told that I was going to have to have surgery. My mouth would be wired shut for six weeks and one steel plate would be placed near each cheek bone in my face. I was terrified.

The next morning, the surgeon came to talk to me, and he said he would rather have everything heal on its own. If I agreed to this, the rule was that I couldn’t chew for six weeks. I could only eat soft foods like applesauce, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I told the doctor that I could do that. I was in a lot of pain, but the nurses and doctors were kind and caring. I finally decided to look at myself in the mirror. I was unrecognizable. My face looked like a round purple and red balloon with two little tiny blue eyes. Overtime, my face did heal.

I was able to go home on my birthday. Family and friends lovingly came to the rescue with meals, phone calls, cards, gifts and flowers. My favorite gift was an envelope full of homemade cards and paper hearts, with get well wishes, from the kids at my church.

At one time or another, we may all have wondered what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. The truth is, we all know the answer. Peace comes when we realize that we need each other. I believe our purpose is to provide joy, and physical, emotional and spiritual healing to each other. If we reach out to others, and let others reach out to us, we will experience more moments of joy, than moments of hardship during our life here on Earth. I believe this because I’ve experienced it.

I’m looking forward to the day that we won’t have to wear our masks, and we can greet each other on the street with a warm smile.