Monday, December 15, 2008

The Half Empty Full Glass

I lost a temporary cap sometime during my world tour through LA and Texas about three weeks ago. I am still purchasing the permanent cap, the shiny gold one with the porcelain veneer, using my dental layaway plan. Only a thousand more box tops to go.

One minute the temporary cap was there in my mouth; the next minute it was gone. Well, to be perfectly accurate, I remember that it wasn't not there in the morning, but it was for sure not there when I went to bed that night. I don't think I swallowed it. I hope I didn't swallow it. If I did it probably got snagged in the big gooey wad of Double Bubble, Hubba Bubba, and the thousands of other pieces of gum I have swallowed over the years -- the hazardous waste of my youth, preserved in my gut, undigested, just waiting for enough gas to build up and blow one final kingsize bubble, large enough to end life on earth as we know it.

But I digress.

The last three weeks I've been trying to eat on only one side of my mouth, so I wouldn't annoy the little nubbish tooth that no longer has its protective cover. All things considered, the little stub wasn't that sensitive unless I sucked air through my teeth, so after doing that a few times to see how much pain I could put up with, I stopped and, miraculously, the pain went away.

I remember asking my dentist once if having a capped tooth still qualified as having my own tooth and he said yes. I wasn't sure how much of a tooth you actually had to have for it to be considered your own tooth and not a false tooth. I just wanted to be able to say that even though I was over sixty, I still had all my own teeth. I guess even the tooth that underwent a root canal counts as one of my teeth. Even though it's technically not a tooth, but more of a peg leg.

So the point of all this is that along with having to get up and go to the dentist this morning or wait until after the holidays, I got into my car in the four degree weather [-11 windchill] only to discover that the car heater wasn't blowing heat, it was blowing cold.

No heat in the four degree weather meant that the thick layer of ice on my windshield wouldn't melt. And the wiper fluid would never warm up enough to squirt. And the wipers wouldn't wipe because they were stuck in the ice. Without the blower heat, my antennae motor wouldn't warm up enough to work, so I had to listen to FM or CDs. Blah blah blah blah blah. I managed to make a big enough hole in the ice on my windshield so I could drive the five miles to the dentist. The little hole worked well, as long as I didn't point the car toward the sun, at which time the bright light would bounce off the ice crystals and blind me.

At the dentist's office I was feeling like a victim of Murphy's Law. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, would -- my tooth, the heater. I was having a bad day. When my dentist came into my room, he apologized for taking so long with his last patient. Without much prompting I launched into a fine whine about my bad luck with my tooth and my heater before he could get a word in edgewise. Finally, during a lull, he told me that he'd spent extra time with his last patient because she was dying from cancer.

Yes, that shut me up. Locomotives and speeding bullets work, too.

He smiled. And I thanked him for yanking me out of my funk.

Perspective can do that.

4 comments:

Donna said...

I visited my dentist yesterday too. Temperatures here are identical to yours. Blah.

Remo said...

If that bubble bursts and you hear the sound of a Wild West rifle shot ricochet off the bowl, you found your crown. You night want to invest in some Kevlar-TP.

Claudia's thoughts said...

I like you posting on your trial and tribulations with some GI upset. I decided that you know you are really sick if you can decide whether to sit on the throne or lean over it. That is really sick. I decided it was easier to sit and hold a bucket. Just a matter of which clean up was easier......

Even if you have dental implants they are still yours.

Anna said...

Real teeth, fake teeth...does it matter if you're still able to sink them into something delectable, like your admiring younger friend from the last party?