Max Koch Uncorked

Wine-soaked adventures through a twisted life…

Malady Max

I’ll tell you this much: TMJ does NOT stand for “Too Much Joy”.

No, in fact, it stands for Temporomandibular joint disorder. Simply put, it’s a pain in the ass in your jaw, and it looks like I have it. Jiminy CRIPES, just add it to the LIST of ailments and take-downs that plague me on a regular basis. 

Wine, anyone…?

Stressed Out Guy

The truth is, I’m all stressed out, man. At first I thought I just had a really bad ear infection in my right ear. Severe ear pain had been hounding me for weeks. My whole life, really. But then I went to see a young female doc and she cut me an Rx for the big ol’ white horse pills. The Amoxicillin, you know? Then she said if it wasn’t an infection, it might be some kind of clog or blockage or something. Gross! So then she drew me a doodle of what I assumed was supposed to be a diagram of my inner ear problem, but wound up looking more like an exploding wiener to me instead. Of course I had no choice but to post it on my social media.


Well, anyway, 2 weeks later, on the other side of the Rx, I was still having ear pain, even WORSE ear pain. So then I thought, “well, maybe I gotta go see ANOTHER damn doctor for this thing” (I think I have a regular doc, but she always seems to be unavailable, except when she’s available to shove up a FINGER up my ass).

So I went and saw this other kid and she was even more unhelpful. Although she did mention that it might be TMJ. I kept explaining to her that I’m all stressed out and would like to maybe try Xanax or something (hey, it worked for my man Miles Raymond in the Sideways books…).

YOUNG DOC #2: Oh, no, no. Xanax is too dangerous. Too addictive. No.

ME: But I just need it for a little while…while I try to calm myself down and figure my shit out.

YOUNG DOC #2: No, no, I would MUCH rather get you on some kind of long-term, anti-anxiety medication instead.

ME: But I don’t WANNA be on anything long-term! That won’t work well with my WINE DRINKING SCHEDULE.

YOUNG DOC #2: Have you ever experienced sinus problems before?

ME: Sinus problems? MY WHOLE LIFE is sinus problems!! Sinusitis almost killed me back in the nineties and last year I suffered the tortures of a three-tiered sinus surgery

YOUNG DOC #2: Perhaps we should send you to an ENT.

ME: Doc. You’re killin’ me. I just TOLD you I had sinus surgery. I have an ENT. The guy who performed the surgery. Now I go to his office every week to get allergy shots. C’mon, baby, JUST GIMME THE CALMERS!!!

Nothing. She wrote me a prescription for the long-term stuff and sent me on my way. 

The next day – YESTERDAY – I had to go to the dentist for my 6-month teeth cleaning. There, the hygienist tells me my CANINES are wearing down and that I should seriously consider investing in a night-grinding MOUTH GUARD. What’m I, Rocky Balboa??


Truth is, my poor dentist has been trying to get me to use a mouth guard for more years than I can relay. The hygienist even confirmed that if I got one, it would help me with my TMJ/earache issues as well. But they’re $350! And my insurance doesn’t even cover ’em!

ME: Aw, fuck it, let’s just do it. I can’t take it anymore, all this bullshit. All I am anymore is Malady Max. What happened to my career?

HYGIENIST: What color would you like?

ME: (perking up) They come in colors?

HYGIENIST: You could get red, blue…clear…purple.

ME: Ooo! I want purple.

Next thing ya know, some tiny Asian chick comes in and shoves a huge glob of clay in my yap, along with these weird little trays that fit onto my teeth rows or whatever and takes the mold of my choppers. When I ran into my dentist in the hall, she was VERY proud of me for finally taking the leap on the mouth guard. I LOVE my dentist. We always bond on things like rescue dogs and whatnot.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 2.13.56 PM

After the cleaning and mold taking, I crossed Van Nuys boulevard to my ENT’s and got this week’s allergy shot. The girls over there are amazing and managed to squeeze me in to see the doc this Friday. No wonder I bring them giant 12-packs of imported beer every holiday season.

Hopefully my ENT doc can help me out with my TMJ troubles. Because this pain has NOT assisted me in my productivity.

Honestly, though, I have NO idea how I’m going to sleep with the mouth guard. The hygienist gave me a temporary one to try. I slept with it in my mouth last night and it really screwed up my sleep patterns and was SO uncomfortable. I even had this very odd dream that I was Superman. And Batman was standing behind me, busting my balls about my teeth grinding at night.

Batman. What a jerk. Like he’s not one of the biggest stress buckets in the DC Universe! 

Stressed Super Max

I dunno. I seriously have to get back on the horse here. I’m trying. But life is a BITCH these days, what with all these maladies.

Aw, crap. The hygienist just called. Purple’s not available anymore. Just blue. FML.

WINE PAIRING: Man, if only I drank more red wine in the evenings. I could stand a best friend in Resveratrol right about now. As it is, I’m still reeling from the 2013 Reserve Syrah from Starr Ranch we enjoyed this past Sunday eve. I mean, what’s there to be wigged out about with THAT title in your corner…?


  1. paula

    Get the mouthgard! I also have the problem of grinding my teeth at night, years of it. Well one day I woke up and a large chunk of my front tooth fell out…a stress fracture from ginding my teeth at night according to my dentist. TMJ problems are very hard to fix and often involve surgery on you jaw as the constant grinding wears down the TMJ joint.

  2. Years from now, when you’re sleeping on your back, face-hugged to a sleep apnea machine that’s chugging like a vacuum cleaner so that you can’t even hear your wife snoring beside you, you will think back on these mouthguard days as the Golden Age that they truly are. So suck it up.

  3. Jacquie G

    Hey my friend Mr. Malady, I am your long lost sister, Ms. Malady. I had SEVERE tmj after a bad whiplash from a car accident. The night guard they will make you is gonna be your new friend. I had to wear mine 24/7 for a while as I was fucked. But, they start you slowly like with any orthotics. And expect there to be some fine tuning with shaping for your bite, like sometimes happens with crowns.
    You will need to get used to it! Please try and draw from your precious and tiny reserve of patience for this process. Soon you will feel weird sleeping without it. I could not open my mouth more than 6 millimeters after my accident. I was in severe pain and I was unable to take anything harder than ibuprofen, and after too much of that and alcohol combined to help my ankle issues- my bleeding ulcer won’t let me even do that… 🙁
    Sorry for writing the book here, but just wanted to let you know this could possibly save your life! xoxo

    • maxkochuncorked

      I’m all in, Jacquie, and thanks so much for reading! “My precious tiny reserve of patience”…love that. – Max

  4. Max, my wife is a midwife and lactation consultant. A big new issue that they are dealing with in breast feeding is tongue and lip tie. This post is serious, though you can use it for a boatload of comedic ideas, I’m sure. I’d pay good money to hear you just comment on the video alone. That said, it’s a real thing and if your problems are this bad it might be worth getting it checked.

    You may be able to cure your TMJ and sinus problem with a tongue tie release. You will also get a nicer breast latch when you suckle on breasts (an added bonus).

    If you want a referral for a Dentist that treats this in your area, let me know and I’ll have my wife look it up for you. Send me an email or message me on Facebook.


    • maxkochuncorked

      Wow, Russ, this is all a mind-blower. LOVE the idea of being able to suckle on breasts better. Your wife sounds amazing. Thank you for the heads up. Read the post, video will be viewed for sure. And thanks for reading! – Max

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