Archives for posts with tag: tooth extraction

It’s a lovely morning, so far. Well… I mean… Okay, it’s drizzling – I can hear the rain against the front walkway, and the “shhhhh-shhhhh” of the tires of passing cars on wet pavement. The skies are gray, and the sun seems slow to rise. My coffee doesn’t taste particularly good…just… adequately “coffee” to get the job done. I slept poorly, restlessly, and woke often. My face hurts – and it’s too soon for more Ibuprofen, because I took it during the night, on one of the several occasions I was briefly awake. So… “lovely”? May not seem the obvious descriptor. Hell, I’m even a tad cross. lol

I’m okay right now.

Here’s the thing; my heart is free. I’m a friend to myself. I build healthy relationships. I’m generally contented. Life is, more often than not, very much pretty okay, most of the time. That’s something. It’s even, comparatively speaking, quite a lot. I’ve come a long way from the precipice on which I stood (metaphorically), as recently as 6 years ago. Only 6 years? Holy shit – and dragging very little drama behind me. 🙂

…I walked away from a lot of bullshit and some bad poorly chosen relationships to get here. The decision-making did not often feel “easy”, but looking back on it, a lot of it seems quite obviously necessary now. So, I smile and sip my fairly unpleasant tasting, and refreshingly cold, coffee, listen to the rain, and note the loveliness of the morning; it’s an experience generated from within.

I allow myself the moment to reflect and appreciate the journey, thus far; soon enough, it’ll be time to begin again, with a fresh new day, and a long list of shit to get done; it’s a good day for it. 😀

My face is not hurting as much (after my recent tooth extraction). It’s day 7. The stitches will begin to dissolve and healing continues. I can mostly drink normally, but I’m not quite to “hot coffee”, yet. There are still so many foods that are a poor choice, and I am quite careful about what I eat or drink, and how I care for the empty tooth socket while it heals. Weirdly, I think the tiny wisdom tooth left behind, rather stoically, all alone in the corner, seems to be… bigger? Am I… teething? The weird ache in my jaw seems to suggest so – or at least that other teeth are “settling in”, having more room, now. My tongue tells me that the gap left behind when the molar came out is notably smaller than it was the day of the extraction. Strange. I mean… I’m not objecting. I’m just observing.

…The cold of my coffee feels good in my mouth. My thoughts move on to other things.

Meditation is a favorite practice; it’s like opening a box.

I find myself in a strange place during meditation, letting things go. Practicing gratitude – and forgiveness. Seems a good morning for it. I finish my coffee and look at the time. This moment here is as good as any for new beginnings. 🙂

A deep breath, a smile, and a quick check that I’ve got what I need to begin the day, and I set off to build a good experience on this lovely morning. There is no map, and that’s okay, too.  🙂

Tooth extraction. I guess I’m more than a little grateful how far dentistry has come. It was, as suggested, not all that painful. Even getting the shots to numb the area was insignificant, pain-wise. The extraction, itself, was peculiarly… forceful. I mean, seriously? My dentist basically pulled a living tooth with no interest in being removed right on out of my jaw, where it was pretty permanently lodged, right? The amount of force required was… impressive. I couldn’t really feel anything but the pulling, and even now, I am ever-so-grateful for the advances modern dentistry has made. It got a tad grim when I could literally hear bone snapping, breaking free, and the taste of blood isn’t particularly pleasant. Still… no pain.

“…Oh, just one thing to cover before you leave… after we get an x-ray…” Yeah, well… okay. A “complication”. A small perforation of my lower sinus, which is, I guess, not an especially uncommon complication of an extraction of one of those back molars. I walked away, face beginning to ache, equipped with care instructions, and feeling very grown-up; I got through it, and it’s done, and I’m fine.

I arrived home. Relaxed for a few minutes with my Traveling Partner. Reviewed those care instructions… carefully. Wondered about what I’d be able to eat for the next few days. Frowned at the likelihood that it may be 2-3 weeks before I could vape again, or drink through a straw, or do literally anything that results in any notable amount of suction (trust me, this affects my quality of life! lol). I was pretty quickly overcome with a serious case of “I don’t actually care about any of this, actually”, and crashed out for a “nap”, that turned into about 18 hours of solid sleep, interrupted only long enough for interludes to sip water, sit up for a handful of minutes, go to the bathroom, and have a few very finely minced calories with great care. lol I still feel like I’ve been hit hard in the face, several times. I still taste blood, faintly. I’m still incredibly careful about every swallow of liquid, every bite of food.

…2-3 weeks??

Fourth of July. Well… no BBQ for me. I’m still “injured” enough that I don’t actually much care about that. I’m grateful for Ibuprofen; it’s getting me by nicely for pain management. My mouth “feels weird”. Talking, too, seems affected by the change in the shape of my mouth, the swollenness of my gum, and the pain in my jaw. I know it will pass.

…I think I’ll have another nap. LOL

My eyes opened at 3:00 am. No surprise. I went to bed early, sleepy, and tired, and earnest about being well-rested for today’s life pop-quiz; tooth extraction. lol So… I guess I’m well-rested. 🙂 I spent the extra time on a leisurely shower, yoga, meditation, and then… comedy. Humor. Laughter. Light-heartedness. Joy. Sure, why not? Got a few extra minutes? To what better use can you put it, than a few moments of merriment?

The clock ticks on. We are mortal creatures (at least for now). Grief is a thing, part of our experience as human beings. Sorrows come and go. Hurts happen, some of those become festering wounds. We rage and storm against perceived slights, and harvest personal resentments from our carefully curated personal narratives. Anger, too, is a thing that is part of our experience. It’s too easy to let the “dark side” of our emotional spectrum to take over; it’s powerful. So powerful. So… I make a point to invite in the joy, the merriment, the humor, the contentment. I let happiness wander in to join the fun, whenever possible. While I’ve given up on treating my emotions as my enemy, I recognize that some emotions are definite “party crashers”, uninvited, generally unwanted, and totally willing to just take over, and suck the fun out of life. Making a real point to seek out the positive and uplifting experiences helps a lot, by building resilience, and a more positive implicit experience.

Where to begin, though…?

It’s hard to go wrong with good basics…

I sip my coffee, contentedly. I feel okay about the tooth extraction, less anxious after doing some reading about typical experiences, after-care, and looking at x-rays online of how that particular tooth commonly fits in a human jaw. All of that helped reassure and calm me (your needs – and results – may vary). I feel ready. My time is managed to support after-care (no work tomorrow, I can stay home and take it easy), although I won’t be eating any enticing holiday foods. lol I pause for a moment of gratitude; I have a good dentist, with whom I am at ease, and was able to get a prompt appointment, the day before a holiday, simplifying the time needed for after-care. I’m fortunate.

I’m surprised, again, by how really good gratitude actually feels… 🙂 I spend a few moments happily appreciating things for which I am grateful… this can of room temperature coffee, for example, which allows me to easily and conveniently support my coffee habit even while waiting on an appointment to have a painful tooth extracted. Oh, hey, and the weird glue-y stuff the dentist used to protect the exposed stump of this tooth, until the day of my appointment, so I can eat, and rest through the night, and drink water (and, um, room temperature coffee). I’m grateful for the good night of sleep I got. Grateful for the running water and indoor plumbing. Grateful to see another sun rise. 🙂 All good stuff. I begin to feel a wholesome feeling of being uplifted – nothing going on aside from this simple exercise in gratitude. It’s nice, and also quite portable, convenient, and inexpensive. 😀

I sip my coffee, smiling, pleased to have shifted an experience fraught with anxiety to one characterized by contentment, and positivity. I glance at the clock, aware of my commitment to being in the office a bit early, since the day will be shortened by this appointment. This feels okay. It’s enough. 🙂

I’m sipping room temperature canned coffee, this morning. It’s adequate, not fantastic. Satisfactory, without being delightful. “Enough” – sufficient to meet the need, without frills. I’m grateful for the almost-overlooked luxury of coffee, ready made, in cans, neither hot, nor cold.

…Seriously? This? Now?

 

I had a crown fall out, evening before last, during dinner. Scrambled eggs. Seriously? It was too much for me, after the day I’d had, and I wept… although… the day, itself, was frankly fine. More “win and good” than not. I couldn’t feel any win, and very little good. That lasted even through yesterday; the bright spots of the day were dim, the highs didn’t seem particularly different than the lows, and every small hurdle felt nearly insurmountable, however skillfully every detail of the day was managed. It’s been the whole week, honestly. I feel cursed by bad fortune, and a plague of small things going wrong – but when I pause to examine, as dispassionately as I am able to do, the facts of my experience…? Things are, actually, just fine. My experience is colored by grief. I’m okay, though, and life is okay. Grief is a powerful emotional experience of yielding to what I can’t change, letting go of what is no more, and going on. It’s fucking hard though, and a lot of it happens “in the background” in this peculiar fog of misfortune that seems to wrap me, this week.

The roses are still blooming in my garden.

…Realistically, I know my life is as it was, but for this singular loss. Each loss has it’s own shade of gray, it’s own particular flavor, it’s own… shadow. The shadows diminish with the return of light. I know this, intellectually. My heart has a bit more difficulty letting go – and in the negotiation between heart and mind, I find myself experiencing this peculiar sense of accursedness, that I’m also aware is not actually legitimately my experience. Weird and difficult. I spend time in my garden. I take time away from work. I get out in the sunshine and walk trails I’d not yet walked before. I take time to tidy up my studio and get it into working order once again. I am “chasing the light” without making a point of saying so, generally. “This too shall pass.” Of course it will; everything does. 🙂

I look for the sunny moments, everywhere, seeking “enlightenment”, of a sort.

This hole in my mouth, where that back molar was, feels weird. It’s not uncomfortable, particularly, in spite of the living tooth stump sitting in there; an urgent-care visit to the dentist got that covered with some sort of glue or something of that kind, to keep it protected for a couple of days until… extraction. That bonded porcelain crown was expected to last nearly a lifetime. I got 4 years out of it. My new dentist was fairly irked that the work had been done such that there just isn’t actually enough tooth left to secure the crown properly, at all. I’ve got just the one “bad tooth” – and I’m grateful, at 56, to have all my original teeth, and other than this one problematic tooth, no dental concerns. Now I’ve got to have it removed, altogether, and… I’m frankly terrified. I’m also surprised by this. Where did this fear come from? I was never “scared of the dentist” before facing this extraction. I poke at the fear in much the same way I ever-so-carefully touch the stump of this tooth with my tongue, curious, a bit nervous, and wondering “what to do about it”.

Practical solutions aren’t always obvious.

Complex PTSD is strange where the potential for new trauma is concerned. I breathe, exhale, relax. Pull myself back into “now” again. Long-past surgeries were, in some cases, very traumatic (look, there’s really no describing what it is like to be awakened during spinal surgery so that the doctor can check for reflexes and sensations, and ask questions… because there are indeed “sensations”, and some of them are not experiences I’d recommend having; the trauma of being aware of surgical goings-on, in the moment, is pretty horrific stuff). I allow myself the awareness. I let the feelings go, and come back to “now”. It’s not happening now, is the thing, it’s just a memory. I catch myself projecting forward, to the upcoming tooth extraction. It’s a novel experience. I’ve never had one done. I have literally no emotional experience of my own to draw upon, and can choose to visualize it in a variety of ways. Anything I imagine is utterly lacking in substance; it’s not real. I could imagine it being going smoothly, being nearly effortless, and done in a moment by a skilled professional, with no lasting consequences of note. Why would I choose to visualize it in any other way? I breathe, exhale, relax. I left the fear go. That moment ahead is not now.

…I recall my Traveling Partner reminding me yesterday, that my world and perspective are still colored by grief. I don’t remember what made the observation necessary. I’m still glad he has the presence to be aware of it, and the consideration to share that reminder, so gently. He’s been “here for me” all week, present, loving, warm.  Talking about the extraction, and my anxiety about it, he shared his own experience of such things, and observed that it “wasn’t that bad”. Even recalling our calming conversation renews my anxiety. Feeling my whole body suddenly get warm, I breathe through that surge of stress, I exhale, and let the anxiety go it’s own way. I relax again, and sip my room-temperature coffee. The tooth doesn’t tolerate hot or cold well, and I’m avoiding sticky foods, sweet foods, sharp foods… treating the wounded tooth with great care, until it can be pulled, next week.  How do I treat my grieving heart similarly well? It’s not like I can pull it out and move on…

However uncomfortable, grief is not a weed to pluck out of the garden of my heart; it has a purpose to fulfill. My emotions are not my enemy.

…I continue to sip my coffee, watching the sun rise beyond my studio window, as daylight arrives, and begins to overcome the shadows. There’s something to learn here – a way to understand things differently. This moment, right here? I’m not in pain. “Now” is just fine. Sure, there’s pain ahead of me in life (isn’t there always?) – and there’s certainly been pain in my past – right now, though? Right now, I’m okay. Right now, the morning is lovely. Right now, I’ve got an adequate glass of coffee to sip that isn’t aggravating this tooth. Right now, I’ve got a lifetime of memories of my Mother, on which I can rely whenever I want to feel her presence. “Now” seems a good time… for most things.

“Now” seems a good time to walk in the sunshine, away from the darkness, and into the light.

Incremental change is. Practicing the practices works. I’ll just stay on this path right here…one step at a time is enough.