Dec. 6, 2011 — I can say I now know what tooth pain is, and I have some serious sympathy for anyone who has had tooth pain or will experience it in the future.
I have always been a believer in biannual teeth cleaning — the preventative type care to keep my teeth clean, white and healthy. So this tooth problem came as I real shock to me.
Back in August I lost a crown. Not a big deal, right?
I was out of town, but I put my gold crown in a zip-lock baggie and brought it with me when I got around to making my appointment a few days later.
The crown went on just fine. No problem; no pain at first.
Then it started; the soreness, the deep aching and the beginning of a long nightmare.
Since August my tooth has given me, and my dentist, nothing but problems.
I had my cap removed, then a root canal, the cap was put back on and eventually after a trip to the emergency room for an allergic reaction to antibiotics due to my tooth infection, it was finally extraction time.
Oh the relief. It felt so good to know that problem was gone, until I felt my lower jaw hurt so bad I was sure I could see it red, bulged out and throbbing but no one could see my pain. It was nothing more than a dry socket.
This pain of a dry socket I’m here to tell you is the closest thing to torture I have ever endured.
It is from experience I now can say I understand your pain.
I have always been a little rough around the edges when it comes to compassion, empathy or sympathy.
I have had the mindset of get over it, walk it off, work through it or toughen up.
I have judged people because of their inability to deal with pain, and I feel ashamed about that now.
Having a debilitating back injury that required surgery changed my life.
It changed my career, but it gave me an opportunity to be a little more aware and maybe even a little bit more compassionate.
During the year of 2011 I have been continually recovering from back surgery, I was at my husband’s side through an extensive shoulder surgery and again as he went through his second aortic valve replacement, and I started my new job as a writer.
The changes and the pains both physical and emotional put a very different aspect on my holiday.
For many people Thanksgiving is just a buffet and an excuse to get together with friends or family, or maybe it’s the one time of the year when people feel lonely and depressed because of what they don’t have.
This year Thanksgiving at my house was more than just dinner.
Including our five grown children and all of our guests, 12 people gathered together to share a bountiful meal of home-cooked traditional holiday foods, and we each took a few minutes to write down on note cards what we were most thankful for this year.
We also wrote something nice about a family member or family friend who was in the room, and we listed five things we would each like to receive for Christmas.
My niece was out of town but she sent me her traditional list over text and my nephew off in the Navy sent me his thoughts over Facebook.
Then I collected the cards, mixed them up and read everyone aloud.
This long standing tradition in my home has been a wonderful way to remind us we have so much to be thankful for and everyone has a good quality that someone else appreciates.
After everyone left the house that evening my husband and I were finishing up the dishes when one of our children returned.
He just wanted to say thank you for allowing everyone to bring a guest, and he appreciates how anyone can come to our home and be accepted and welcome.
He said, “It’s like a safe place here where you can just be yourself.”
He hugged both my husband and I before he left. I felt truly blessed this Thanksgiving.
On Saturday I went to a funeral for the father of a family who I hold dear to my heart.
We grieved, we cried, we hugged and we even laughed. We shared the good and bad and wished him well into his eternal life.
I watched Mitch Alboms,“Have a Little Faith,” on Sunday evening.
It was based on his life experiences and the point of view and religious ideals he had as a child and as an adult.
He was asked to write the eulogy of his rabbi and began a new relationship with a pastor who had a very sullied past.
It was the perfect movie to end my holiday weekend.
The message of the movie was about differences, acceptance, change and faith.
It makes perfect sense to me, as we are only human. We have different life experiences, we carve out different paths and no one religion, political preference or point of view is the only way or the better way.
It’s not about the crises we have it’s how we get through them.
I have much to be thankful for: my health, my dentist, my family, technology, my friends and the people who accept me for who I am and for those who helped shape my life.
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