Monday, June 22, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

(I know there are major events happening in Iran and that the worries of one little person does not amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, even though, since I can not control what happens in the world, I will continue to focus on the little part of it that is mine. At the same time I will keep the people of Iran in my thoughts. God be with you.)

Actually, what a difference three days make. Friday I walked into my dentist office with a feeling of great apprehension. As the dental assistant closed the door to the small room I now occupied, after informing me that the doctor would be in shortly, I started crying. I got myself under control in a few seconds and then my doctor walked into the room and I lost it again. I told him not to worry, my tears had nothing to do with him and all to do with my childhood. For me my teeth had become a reminder of the neglect my siblings and I had undergone. I understand that some of the neglect, perhaps even all of it, was partially due to my mother fears. She had many and dentists were one of them.

Having the teeth pulled should have taken less than twenty minutes but it took almost two hours. The tooth that was being reabsorbed by my body broke just at the line between good tooth root and damaged tooth root After taking an x-ray my dentist showed it to me and pointed out the small section of tooth that was still in my mouth. Not only had the tooth broken off but the X-ray also showed that the root of the tooth did not end in a point but in a curved like a hook. This defect had not shown up in past X-rays because it had been hidden but now, since he had moved the tooth around in an attempt to extract it, it was visible.

As he worked I realized that my head was moving slightly in reaction to what he was doing and I so put my hand to the side of my head to hold it steady. He asked me if I was doing OK and I gurgled out a yes while a tear slid down the side of my face. He stopped what he was doing and reached over to pick up a square of gauze and used it to gently wipe the tear track from my face. That bit of kindness almost caused me to break down.

I have had lots of work done on my teeth and never reacted the way I did this day. I was not afraid but I realized that at this point I had all the muscles in my body so tense that if I had dropped to the floor I would have reacted like a Corelle plate, not breaking but wobbling back and forth. I thought why is this taking so long? Am I making this harder than it should be because I really do not want to loose the tooth? As I was thinking this my doctor said out loud to himself more than to me, "It's as if the tooth doesn't want to come out."

At this point I almost lost it completely. I never felt so alone in my life. I was afraid and I needed help so I called for my mother. "Mom, help me," I begged.

What I wanted was for the doctor to miraculously hold the bit of tooth up and say, "I've got it!"

What I got was the feeling that my mother was in the room with me and a utter sense of calm and peacefulness. I stopped fighting what was happening to me and relaxed. It took a few more minutes but with me helping the doctor by letting him know what I was feeling (pressure changes, the tooth moving, the instrument he was using hooking onto the tooth) the root came out.

My gum is healing nicely and the temporary bridge, known as a dental flipper, is only a little annoying. Hopefully I will get used to it. Eating with it will be a bit of a challenge but I think I can handle it until I get the permanent one.

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