As we get older we tend to lose more things more often. Like names, for example. A memory pops up about someone and in the sharing of the memory, the name is lost. Then in the middle of the night, you sit up and shout a name like “Simon Schlepington!” and you can finally relax.
It’s not just names I lose. I tend to lose my cellphone, too. I set it down in odd places and can’t recall if it is in the pocket of my coat or on a shelf in the garage. Then I have to have my spouse call my cellphone so I can find it by the ringing. He sometimes calls me five time a day but does not speak a word.
I tend to lose my glasses, too. I don’t need them all the time and that can be a problem in remembering where I last needed them. I ask my husband to call them on his cellphone but he explains it doesn’t quite work that way.
And teeth. You lose some of them as you get older sometimes, especially if your genetics aren’t right, your childhood experiences with dental care were a bit off, and you love M&Ms and licorice a bit too much. Even after regular checkups and cleanings and daily brushing and flossing, this loss can happen.
Recently my dentist said, “I’m sorry, but you are going to lose some teeth.”
“Where will I find them?” I asked a bit bewildered as I had done everything I could to save them – I’d filled them, root-canaled them, crowned them all queens.
“Three molars have failed,” he said, examining the x-rays intently.
“I’m sure they can do better. Let’s retest them. Let’s give them more time. I’ll talk to them. They might just be going through a stubborn streak. They’ll grow out of it.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. And I knew that I was about to lose something again.
When you anticipate the loss of something, it becomes more stressful. I would have preferred to lose the three teeth that day and be done with it, but surgeons aren’t just sitting around waiting for a call, I guess. They actually have busy lives of plundering bad teeth. They also want to give you a little time to secure funding, I’m sure. That little nest egg that I had saved over the past 50 years – a little bit at a time – in the event we bought a yacht in the Caribbean or a condo in Monaco or a nice dinner out, is now lost. Instead I’ll be the owner of a few artificial teeth. I’m going to have to smile a lot to get my money’s worth out of them.
After a long anticipation, the big day came. The surgeon was kind. He didn’t pull the teeth and make me try to find them. He cut them apart with a saw that could only have been sold at ACME – Hell division. He pulled out chunks of old teeth that had roots hooked to my big toe. He told me all along that I was “doing a good job,” but it was only important that he was doing a good job, because I was actually doing nothing at all.
As the oral surgeon finished putting in bone grafts and stitching up the wounds (that’s what he called them), I was lamenting the loss of the teeth that had so bravely and reliably chewed up Hershey bars and Salted Nut Rolls.
“I want you to come back in 10 days. I want to check to make sure there are no splinters left, the sutures are healing correctly and that the jaw bone is intact,” the surgeon said matter-of-factly. “And only liquids for a few days and then soft foods as you can tolerate them.”
Really? Liquids? Soft foods? Could I experience a loss of weight that didn’t require will power? Well, that is certainly worth something.
I definitely won’t be lamenting the pounds I will lose. I’m not even going to look for them.