Time And Tide

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose. Lyndon B.Johnson

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Root Canal

I have bad teeth. The horrible kind of soft teeth that Jacob inherited (thanks, Mom!) from me - and I'll only accept responsibility because it comes from my mom's side of the family and because, well, I am my mom's side of the family - and have cost us upwards of $9,000.00 in his teenie little mouth.
It is a fact that Jake O'the Bad Teeth and my Daughters O'the Crooked Teeth cause me to put off my regularly scheduled dental work because braces cost $170.00 a month per kid (of which I have two in) and crowns are a whopping whole bunch of hundreds of dollars each (of which Jake needs FOUR of). So that is how I ended up in the line for a root canal (two, actually, with more likely to follow upon closer inspection of said crappy teeth) in an emergency, immediate kind of way. I've put it off for three months, let the infection get so bad the side of my head has actually gone mushy with large pockets of infection crawling from my teeth to the crest of my cranium. The headache had become the worst part - a debilitating, constant, stabbing pain in my right temple so bad that I couldn't see straight, but still it was hard to justify spending what I knew would be a lot of money on me when the kids need so much.
Besides, dentists hurt.
I made an appointment with my regular dentist for Tuesday afternoon. It was not my dentist that came in (he's retiring :( ) but another guy - who I didn't like very much at all - said I need a root canal and crown. The infection is too bad to do anything with now...here's your prescription for antibiotics and pain meds (ONE only. At night. Only.) I have a fear of the unfamiliar so we began the search for another dentist. Now, I realize I didn't know the other dentist that I chose to go to but we had decided on him based on recommendations we got from other people. I had no recommendation for the new guy at my old dentists office, and I'd started off not liking him right away.
Friday morning I walked into the new dentists office. I liked him right away. He was young-ish (maybe mid-40s which is very youngish when I consider that my own dentist appeared to be a hundred and forty eleven when I first started seeing him 25 years ago) and he had a sense of humor. I sat down in the exam chair - something that usually sends me into a fit of panic that I can't seem to help no matter what - and noticed right away the large tree that stood right outside the office window. It had a face. Great big eyes stared back at me and fingers pulled apart wide lips where a tongue stuck out. I looked behind me to see of something was reflecting in the window glass but no, it was a face. On the tree.
A gift from his wife, he said with a grin.
He started off with x-rays and a few questions about my dentist visit earlier in the week. "He did x-rays?" I nodded, yes.
"He said THIS tooth was the source of the infection?"
Again, I nodded.
"And this is your usual dentist?"
Here I explained the new guy situation and said with hope, "Why? Do I not need a root canal?"
"Oh you're getting a root canal, but not on that tooth today. Your problem is back here." He tapped lightly on a tooth that sent a pain through my head so shocking, my butt actually left the seat.
"See?" he said.
And with that, his assistant went to work gassing me up and we were on our way. For two hours he worked, waking me gently each time I started to doze and let my mouth drop closed while he tried to work. I love nitrus.
I don't understand the fact that it is kids parking on desolate roads huffing the stuff. All it does is make you want to go to sleep. I have a much easier time imagining a car full of tired mothers with empty vials spread around the floor just trying to catch a few peaceful winks before heading back to the grind.
I was talking to the nurse - doing the best I could with an upper lip that refused to move, but she assured me she could understand what I was saying - while she took x-rays to let him see if he was satisfied with his work before closing up the tooth or whatever it is you call the finishing up part. All in all, it was a great experience. He didn't let me hurt at all. He was entertaining from the start. And he was helpful in explaining to me the order we could do things that won't break the bank and let my kids' teeth go bad in the process. It went so well, I'm actually looking forward to my next root canal in 3 weeks. That can't be bad. And there will be more gas.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Big dogs and quiet mornings

The house is quiet save for the thumping of kitten butts and heads on the floor as they roll around in kitty play.

Outside the sun is threatening to rise, but you can hardly tell it for the fog. It is so dense and near white, it's no wonder they were able to make a scary movie about it and pull it off. Fog is a neat and mysterious thing (it also makes it difficult for big, black dogs to decide where best to crap first thing in the morning). In the field out back, deer are grazing. I can't see them through the fog, but I know they are there. They are there every morning unless I get the stupid notion that I can get up at 4:30 and open the kitchen door before they show, in hopes of sitting with a cup of coffee to watch them without the hinderance of the window screens. They do not come out on those mornings. Other mornings though, if I am patient and willing to stand at the bathroom window with a cup of coffee, I can watch them browse the field for as long as my legs care to hold me up without cramping. It is a good way to start the day.

I love mornings here. Actually, I guess I've always loved mornings wherever I happened to be, but here it is special since this is my world - my quiet solitude. I see nothing when I step outside, except our place...no houses, no people, just our little corner full of critters. Morning is a gift to the spirit - a spiraling mass of connectivity through all things - able to be enjoyed by anything, human or animal, willing to stand still for a moment and experience it.

It only happens in the morning that things are this calm. Doug and the kids are still sleeping, and so are the majority of dogs. Only big Gimli lays contentedly at my feet, ready to rise on a moments notice and escort me safely to the coffee pot or potty. It is his duty as Big Dog to see that his mistress is well protected. My big, sweet, goofy dog that sheds on freshly made beds like no other in the history of the world has ever been capable of. My heart of hearts.

My mama, bless her heart, she just doesn't get it. He stinks (only if he gets wet), he sheds and makes me vacuum my furniture every day, (and ok, he has destroyed close to a half a dozen pairs of shoes in the last two weeks) - I can admit that. He turns my black and white kitchen floor into a black on black kitchen floor because that's where the window unit is and the tile is cool, man. Where else is a pampered black dog going to find some relief? She doesn't understand my willingness to 'put up with' these things. Not just from him, but from all the dogs and cats. I can only guess that she is shielded - there is a veil of some kind - either behind her eyes or in her heart that blocks the doggy-luv. If she took the time to pet his sweet head when he offers it, she would see that he will, every time, return love - LOVE - not just thank you, with his eyes. And if she took the time to sit and watch him, she'd notice the way he gets up from his nap (without stretching, mind you) to check on the kids if someone cries, and even to make sure a kitten whose head has just hit the floor with an particularly loud thump, is ok and doesn't need help. He just shows up and stands quietly near, reassuringly near, using his nose to assertain whether things are alright or not, and offering a sweet kiss to whoever may need one. He's the bestest dog in the whole wide world (in spite of the shoe thing).