I love this time of year, and I hate it, too. I love it because it’s not too hot or cold, the leaves change, and the air is crisp. I hate it because it’s the last hurrah before Winter comes to stay for a while.
I finished the edits for the first part of THE LIMINAL MAN last week. It was nice to tighten the reins a bit before moving on to the next section. I’d intended to start part two in earnest this week, but my health decided to decline a bit, and so I was preoccupied. I’m one of those people blessed with temperamental sinus issues, and they usually like to creep up and remind me they’re there four times a year, when the seasons change. Last weekend I woke to discover my head full of snot and my skull caught in the unrelenting grip of some invisible giant. It was not fun.
It progressed until the middle of the week when my teeth started to hurt. I left work early. The pain was so bad, I resorted to one of those toothache kits with the cotton balls and bottle of clove oil. I must’ve been a hell of a sight, coming home with a bag of tooth meds in one hand and a bottle of Irish whiskey in the other. After self-medicating, I had the hilarious epiphany that I felt like a writer, nursing myself with the healing power of bourbon. It was one of the few things I did feel.
Thursday morning I woke with a throbbing pain in the lower left side of my jaw. I couldn’t bite down. A section of my gum was swollen. One tooth seemed to pulse with electric shock every time I opened my mouth. Growing up with a mother who works for an orthodontist, I sort of knew what it was, even though I didn’t want to admit it.
Yeah, it was an abscess. I took a day off from work and spent the morning searching for a dentist who offered a reasonable rate (as I have no dental insurance), and who would see me with such short notice. I did, and Erica and I ventured over to American Dental that afternoon. Now, I knew going in there that I was going to lose the tooth. Usually with an abscess, by the time you’re feeling the pain, the tooth is already dying. This leaves two options: root canal or extraction. One’s about $1700. The other is about $126. With an exam and x-rays, that latter total comes to about $200.
It seemed like a no-brainer. The dentist, who maintained a weird, timid smile the entire time, asked if I was sure. I told him yes, I was definitely sure, and five minutes later it was out. It’s been a very long time since I had a tooth pulled, but one thing I never forgot was the cracking sound as it’s extracted, and the spots of light dancing before my eyes as it’s yanked from my skull. Yesterday reaffirmed those memories as valid ones. Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” was playing on the radio. Thinking of that song makes me nauseous now.
So, after a very long, tiring week, I’m writing off the weekend, and starting fresh on Monday with Part Two.