Sunday, March 30, 2014

True love and vomit.

This past Friday was a big day for me, you guys. I finally achieved a milestone of adulthood that most people my age passed a good 15 years ago: I got my wisdom teeth out.

I know - weird, right? Usually that's a tucked-between-college-semesters type of thing. The only reason I'd had them for so long is because I believed I was a specimen of superior evolutionary advancement. Unlike everybody else I knew, whose third molars came in impacted or crooked, crowding their other teeth, all four of mine came in nice and straight and easy. Fine, upstanding citizens with plenty of room, not screwing with any of their neighbors or causing me any grief at all. But of course, every dentist I saw still wanted to yank them. 

"What do you have against them?" I'd say. "Aren't they straight?"
"No impaction, right?"
"No. But... are they causing you any pain?" the dentist would say, voice uplifted in an unmistakable tone of hope.
"No, not a bit."

Whereupon the dentist would subside, disappointed, and reluctantly agree that I could keep them for the time being. But the one thing I couldn't argue with is that the damn things were impossible to keep clean enough, since I don't have an extending jaw like a snake, so after a recent cleaning wherein it was pointed out to me--yet again--that it really would be better in the long term if the teeth weren't left sitting there waiting to accrue decay in years to come, I agreed to yank them.

After an informal survey of my Facebook friends convinced me to get the loopy twilight drugs for the procedure (the frequency with which the words "sawing" and "screaming" and "horror movie" appeared in the responses of my friends who had NOT had the loopy drugs was a pretty convincing argument), I set it up, got in the chair, and had the deed done. In the taxi on the way home, I had to text responses to my husband's questions, because the entire lower half of my face felt like it had been replaced with a cabbage--except for the bottom right extraction site, where the cabbagey feeling was quickly being replaced by a drilling ache. One horse-sized ibuprofen later, I was holding ice packs to both cheeks and crying from pain, so that sweet man of mine called the doctor and got permission for me to advance to Vicodin, and all was well.

Until yesterday morning, when I bounded out of bed at 8:30, swallowed more meds, and quickly discovered that horse ibuprofen on an empty stomach is far, far more nausea-inducing than the Vicodin I'd taken the day before.

"I think you need to eat something," said Allen, and made me a dish of the perfectly moist, tender scrambled eggs he's been practicing at. I worried a few mouthfuls of them down.

Then I got up to refill my water glass and the scrambled eggs reappeared, quite without warning, all over the kitchen counter and floor.

And it struck me, as I knelt on the kitchen floor with my face over the trash can, whimpering "sorry sorry sorry, gross gross gross" in between waves of retching, that this was really one of those true love moments. Because my husband, instead of flinching with horror like a normal human being and fleeing the room, was kneeling beside me, helping me clean up. Telling me it was okay. That he would not only help me, but presumably even still find me physically attractive at some point in the future once this whole episode is behind us, is a thing of no small wonder to me. Not only that, but that this is ultimately where you want it to bring you--all those thrilling first dates and sexy kisses and endless rounds of discussion with whoever's on the roster of your own personal NFL pre-game show. The end game isn't the ring or the wedding, it's those moments when you see each other at your worst and all you want to do is reach out to help. That is true love, right there. Offering you a handful of damp paper towels.

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