So have you missed me? I know all two of you that actually read this blog have been wondering what on earth happened. Well, listen my children and you shall hear ... of my tooth odyssey.
This tooth journey actually began ten years ago, but don't worry. I don't intend to chronicle all ten years of my dental health for you. Suffice it to say that, ten years ago, my dentist advised me that I needed to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed. I wasn't too thrilled at the prospect, but after all, millions of people have their wisdom teeth removed. No one dies from it. Or if they do, I haven't heard about it so please don't tell me.
So my dentist says I have to have them all removed, and he gives me the name of an oral surgeon. I have to call and make the appointment for this wonderful event to take place. It took me several days to work up my courage. After all, going to the dentist is not my favorite thing to do. And voluntarily scheduling oral surgery? I almost think I qualify for a psych evaulation.
But I am a grown up and I knew I couldn't put things off forever. I did need to get all my ducks in a row first. I had four children at the time and I needed to know that they would be taken care of while I was out of commission. I needed to get a few things in order around our house. And I needed to take a pregnancy test. I know, I know. Not your typical pre-wisdom tooth extraction test. I didn't have any pregnancy symptoms and I had a nine month old at the time. Pregnancy didn't seem likely. But I like to cover all the bases so I took a test. Guess what. The test was positive, and there went my chance for oral surgery. Our fifth child was born eighteen months and two days after our fourth one. Two weeks after his birth he came down with viral meningitis and ended up spending a week in the neo-natal ICU at the hospital. By the time he and I were both back on our feet, we were traveling full time on deputation. About the time I could actually start thinking about the dentist again, I got pregnant again. I realize that's a rather drastic step to avoid dental surgery, but it's all I had to work with. This one was born twenty months after the last one. Three months after his birth, we packed up all six kids and left to do mission work in Uganda. For the next few years, my teeth were not on my mind.
Two years into our first term on the mission field, I had to come back to the States for some dental work. But no, not on my wisdom teeth. I had another tooth giving me problems. The dentist offered me two choices: either pull it, or get a root canal. I told him to pull it. I only had three weeks in the States, and I didn't want to spend all of them in the dentist's chair. He pulled it, I suffered for a week with dry socket, and then I spent two weeks shopping and eating before heading back to the mission field.
That was six years ago. I've had my share of dental appointments and cavities since then, and every time I saw a dentist he would comment that my wisdom teeth had to come out. But I didn't listen until about a month ago.
Pain is a great motivator, have you noticed that? As long as my teeth weren't bothering me, I wasn't going to bother them. I existed in this live-and-let-live world until they broke their end of the agreement. My left lower wisdom tooth began to give me a little pain. I ignored it until the pain was no longer little. It was also no longer confined to my tooth, or even my jaw. Instead I had pain radiating into my ear and up into my sinus cavities. About that time I decided to look for a dentist. I asked several people that I knew for recommendations. I then used a very scientific method to make my selection. I chose the one that was closest. Even then, I had the phone number for several days before I made the call. I think if I hadn't been in so much pain, I would have been more in tune with the warning signs that cropped up from that very first encounter.