I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, May 16, 2021

One of life's little surprises

Three months later

I walked by those pretty little shoots coming up out of the ground in mid-February and decided to get a picture once I could tell what the sprouts would become. Lo and behold, by mid-May, I see we have here some lovely iris. At first I thought they were tulips, but they didn't look quite right, and I was correct: they are instead gorgeous purple iris.

We are in full spring flower around here, with summer not far behind. The world has changed in many ways during that short period, with virus cases falling quickly in the United States, even as they continue to rage in other parts of the world. We are no longer required to wear masks outdoors, as well as in many indoor settings. By the end of June, our governor has announced that our state will open completely.

Already so much has changed. The weather is gorgeous; it's my favorite time of the year, when we have many days filled with sunshine rather than rain, and everywhere I see new flowers opening up. Rhododendrons are our state's flower, and they are in full bloom everywhere. The blossoms on fruit trees have already changed to green leaves, and the smiles on everyone's faces can now be seen without masks. Well, mostly anyway: many of us are reluctant to just throw our masks away, as well as still needing them to enter many places of business. I think most of us were surprised by the sudden declaration that we don't need them anymore if we are fully vaccinated. Perhaps it's a ploy to get people to receive the vaccine, but how do you know when you see someone maskless on the street whether or not they are vaccinated? I guess it doesn't matter if you are not at risk, but after more than a year using face coverings, it feels a little unsettling. We are definitely, however, through the worst of the pandemic, at least here in the US.

Once I was fully vaccinated, I made an appointment to see the dentist and get my first cleaning in a year and a half. This time last year, the dental offices were still closed, but I had been so accustomed to twice-yearly cleanings that I was anxious to get my teeth back to feeling clean again. When I got that cleaning, I also learned that one of my molars had developed a deep periodontal pocket and, although I had no pain, it was suggested that I have the tooth extracted. I hemmed and hawed but finally decided to go ahead and do it, and it was removed last Thursday. I was very anxious about the procedure and read online about what to expect. It is surgery, after all, having a tooth yanked out! It had been so long ago that I had two wisdom teeth removed I have no recollection of the events. Plus, I was young.

After ascertaining from research that it was likely that an infection would probably develop if I did nothing, I decided to go ahead. I also decided to pay extra to receive nitrous oxide and anxiety medication in order to have as little anxiety as possible. SG drove me to and from the appointment, and now I am left with the aftermath. I guess I didn't realize what a major trauma it would be; maybe I just didn't want to know so I could keep myself from backing out. After all, there was still no pain and I was going to put myself through it anyway. I obsessed about the extraction right up until I walked into the office, and by that time it was inevitable. Somehow, though, I never thought about afterwards.

If you live long enough, you'll go through similar experiences; it's part of life. It just didn't occur to me that the loss of a tooth could be so difficult. Another part of me is gone forever, and it feels way more consequential than I expected it to be. And this is NOT the way I thought I'd lose the extra pandemic weight I had gained, but that is a positive side effect of the event. It's difficult to eat much of anything even if it is soft and requires no chewing. Thank goodness for ice cream! Today is the third day since the extraction, and although I am still having some pain, it is less this morning than it was yesterday. I was given a prescription for Vicodin, but I don't think I'll need to fill it, since ibuprofen seems to work just fine. And in another week or so, I should be able to resume my normal eating habits. I wonder if I might begin to crave broccoli and get tired of ice cream. Not likely, but you never know. I usually have green leafy vegetables daily and only occasionally allow myself ice cream. The half-gallon container in the freezer seems to be going fast. The broccoli hasn't been missed quite yet, but maybe once my mouth has healed more, I'll begin to look at it with more interest.

Some pains are physical, and some pains are mental, but the one that's both is dental. —Ogden Nash

 Although I missed hiking with the Trailblazers on Thursday, I did walk with my friends yesterday morning. We covered around five miles; I did get tired and noticed my jaw aching more than I expected, but once I got home and helped myself to some coffee ice cream, I settled in for the day, feeling much better for it. I am definitely addicted to exercise, and now that I am on the mend, I should be able to join the Trailblazers once again this coming Thursday. The long-range forecast does show a possibility of rain, but after so much sunshine, nobody will mind all that much. We are more accustomed to rain than sun, after all.

What else is going on in my life? Well, for one thing I'm looking for a good book to read that will keep me occupied, and perhaps today I'll peruse the bookstore for my next literary adventure. I'll of course visit the coffee shop and sit outside in the sunshine. Maybe Lily will come, too; she always does when she doesn't have to work. I am feeling myself beginning to think about getting up and starting the rest of my day. The ibuprofen has worn off and I can feel the ache in my jaw, which reminds me that it takes quite a bit more time than usual to prepare myself something appropriate to eat, so I'd probably better get started. My sweet partner still sleeps next to me. He's been such a wonderful help to me during this time, and I once again give thanks for his constant presence in my life. 

I do hope that you will find some joy in your day, and that you will also find a way to spread a little happiness in your world today. The entire world needs it, and it will also make you part of the solution, to give light through your words and deeds. I will also attempt to do the same. Until we meet again next week, dear friends, I wish you all good things.


Marie Smith said...

I find as I age it takes longer to recover from things that were simple when I was younger. I guess it’s all part of aging but it takes adaptation nonetheless. I hope you feel better each day, Jan. Take care.

Linda Reeder said...

You can still light up others with your smile. No one else will notice that hole back in the way back of your mouth. Every once in a while I search out mine with my tongue, and of course there are fewer places to floss. :-) There are gains gains with losses.
We are going garden touring today, the first of the season. I am looking forward to taking off my mask while outside.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I was just listening to the Head of the CDC...she is a wishy washy gal and wouldn't quite answer the questions...kicking the can down the road is what I think. Saying that those fully vaccinated people can not wear masks. Heck many people have never worn masks...so there you go just because someone does not have a mask on doesn't mean they have been vaccinated. Buggers.
Those Iris are beautiful and I am so glad you are getting along without that tooth...you could make a veggie smoothie:) Hope you have a good week. We are okay but had a real rough week last week.

Arkansas Patti said...

I will probably wear my mask for a while yet. I was in Walmart yesterday under their new guidelines and only a few of us wore masks. I'd bet big money that half the bare faced ones were not fully vaccinated. Now there is now way to tell. Don't think it was a smart move yet.
Sorry you are still having a bit of pain with the extraction but glad you are sticking to NSAIDS instead of Vicodin. They do just as good a job with few side effects.
Hope you are chomping broccoli soon.

ApacheDug said...

I'd like to echo Patti's sentiments, it's good to hear you're on the mend and without heavy-duty meds like Vicodin. That was probably the only thing that helped me when my TMJ was in full-swing in Jan 2020, but after 2 weeks my doctor told me I had to stop because of potential damage to my kidneys & blood pressure. (I'm sure you wouldn't need it for that long though, plus you're in much better shape than me.) Anyway, I'm sure you're looking forward to chowing on broccoli and Trailblazin', but I must admit I relate to a coffee ice cream eatin' DJan a lot more. ;^) I hope your week ahead is a pain free one.

John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Love the photo showing the progress of the purple iris. Excellent update on the weather, your dental visit, and masking up. I’ve been looking forward to leaving this comment for you since Friday when spouse and I spent the day in and around Bellingham. We had lunch at Keenan’s at the Pier in Fairhaven. Wow, I really, really like it up there. I enjoyed today’s edition of Eye on the Edge and have got to compliment you on this: “… find a way to spread a little happiness in your world today. The entire world needs it, and it will also make you part of the solution, to give light through your words and deeds.” Perfectly said and thank you. Wishing you and SG a fine week ahead. John

Elephant's Child said...

I do hope your pain diminishes every day.
And thank you for the happiness that every post of yours produces.

gigi-hawaii said...

I am glad you got some walking done with friends and that your pain is diminishing. Good job! Good life!

Gigi said...

The pain will disappear soon, I suspect. And I am glad you don't need the Vicodin!

I'm happy you shared your photo of the iris. Ours are waning as yours are blooming.

William Kendall said...

I imagine I will wear a mask long after vaccination.

Red said...

It's a very long time ago that I had a tooth extracted. I'd forgotten that it was a miserable experience. I hope the rest of your recovery goes well.

Rita said...

If eight fully vaccinated people on that sports team all tested posaitive for covid--even if seven of them had no symptoms and the other one wasn't badly sick--doesn't that make you wonder about being able to spread the virus even when you're vaccinated? Does me. I shall wear my mask for a while--same as usual.

I hope you are pain free again soon. The irises look beautiful. Have a great week. :)

Anvilcloud said...

Sorry about the dentistry, but it must feel good to see life returning to normal. I see photos of filled arenas down there, and it now seems out of place.

Betsy said...

Since I'm a day late in commenting because life is so hectic right now, I hope you woke up today to no pain in your jaw. Wishing you a wonderful day full of interesting things, broccoli and pain free.

Boud said...

Glad you went through with the extraction. Much better than related health issues.

I found that masks help with spring allergies so I'm going right on with them, no matter what anyone says!

Glenda Beall said...

I understand about losing a tooth. I went through that and now I can only chew on one side. Bummer! I am going to keep wearing my mask when I go out to retail stores or offices. Recently I had to wait for my car in the office of an auto repair place. The woman in the office said she had not had the shots and was not likely to have them. I immediately put on my mask. I will wear mine until I feel very safe when around others. Love your iris plant. I have one that bloomed already and now is bare.

Linda Myers said...

Have you read "American Dirt"?