On the right side of my mouth where a molar used to live, I now I have a hole in my head and a throbbing pain. On the left side of my mouth I have a new inlay which took the duration of the entire movie Maid in Manhattan to place.
Remember back in the ‘70s when dentists thought it was best to replace a speck of a cavity with a suitcase of a filling? Oh, those bygone days … which lead dentists today to laugh all the way to the bank.
Maid in Manhattan was over and it was time to remove the molar. I chose another movie.
At about the scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Annie decided to go to Seattle to “research” bereavement and call-in radio shows, my movie experience turned from romantic comedy to horror flick. Both the dentist and the dental assistant were no longer sitting in their little swivel chairs; they were standing over me (blocking my movie experience) in order to maximize leverage. They yanked and pulled and turned and yanked and OH MY GOODNESS! I could hear the tooth coming out. Yes. The stuff of nightmares.
The construction and excavation took close to four hours. I was exhausted!
With my mouth full of bloody gauze, I unlocked the car door and called Ken.
“I’m sthure I’m drooling. My fathce isth tired.” Sniffle. Sob. Bleed. Drool.
I went straight home. Which takes 45 minutes. Which felt like FOREVER.
I wanted to shut out the sound of the tooth releasing itself from the grip of my body. I wanted to forget the metallic taste. I wanted to forget that I had 49 things on my to-do list. I wanted the drool to go away. I just wanted to take a nap.
And be patted on the back and told how brave and strong I was, but really just a nap would do.
Nap. Take 1.
ZZZZzzzz . . .
Suddenly, I sat up. I could hear the kids in the kitchen. I could hear the refrigerator door open and close. It reminded me that I didn’t take any meat out of the freezer for dinner. I called out, “Tommy. Tommy. Robby. Sammy. Anybody.” I could only open my mouth 6 millimeters. The only sound that came out was a whisper. No one heard me. I had to get up and take something out of the freezer because the family would need to eat.
Nap. Take 2.
ZZZZzzzzzz . . .
The house phone rang.
There were four children home. Why weren’t they answering the phone?
The phone continued to ring.
Then it stopped.
Then my cell phone rang.
I opened my eyes.
Maybe this was important.
I found my phone.
It was Ken.
I’d missed the call.
I called back.
“Hi, I missed your call.”
“Hey! What are you doing?”
“I was sleeping. My face was throbbing so I sat down, and I must have fallen asleep.”
“You sound really tired.”
“Ummm. I was just sound aslee… never mind.” Does anybody ever listen to what I actually say?
Nap. Take 3.
ZZZzzz . . .
The door to the room flew open and a ten-year-old screamed, “It’s 5:28! We’re going to be late!”
I sat up and focused on the clock. I then focused on the ten-year-old. Then focused on the clock. The clock said 2:58, not 5:28. Digital clocks can be misread. Apology accepted. Why couldn’t she just close the door on her way out?
Nap. Take 4. (Perhaps it was prophetic that I’d chosen a movie with the word “sleepless” in it.)
My face generally hurt. But the worst pain came if I laughed.
Madeline had a soccer game, so I drove her in to town. Throb. Throb. Drool. Sniffle.
Ken offered to meet at the field as soon as he got off work. We met. He made me laugh. I don’t remember what he said, I only remember telling him to stop making me laugh. He also offered to do the Costco shopping for me, which meant I’d just quickly swing through the regular grocery store for the few items Costco didn’t have and then I could go home.
As I stood in the aisle at the grocery store, I texted him his part of the list, taking great pains to be very specific. He’s been known to buy 17 boxes of Nutri-Grain bars because he thought I liked them. I think I’d once said, “Gosh, I really don’t like these Nutri-Grain bars. I don’t see what all the fuss is about.” But I don’t think he heard me right. I really don’t think anybody listens to what I actually say.
We were texting back and forth.
The most proficient texter he is not. This is what his texts look like:
I was doubled over in the aisle of the grocery store trying, without success, not to laugh. Then I was crying because OH MY GOSH it hurt SO much to laugh. And the texts just kept coming.
Of course, the people in the aisle with me couldn’t SEE the hole in my head, or the stitches, or the bloody gauze, or the throbbing. What they could see was a nutty woman holding her face in her hands, laugh-crying. No one patted me on the back and said that I was brave and strong. They just stared.
Throb. Throb. Drool. Sob. Laugh. Sob.
Since I didn’t get much of a nap and it was getting late, I decided to forego making dinner and buy take-out Chinese food.
Look at this! My fortune:
According to Chinese fortune cookie wisdom my mind is cleansed. Thoroughly!
I don’t usually think about laughter. I just laugh. How terrible to take laughter for granted! Laughter and napping.