Cheap Therapy? — Um — Totally

on December 1, 2007

One of my most-cool friends recently joined the blogging world. I was so happy for her that I almost wanted to have a virtual party or at least give her a standing ovation. On her first blog entry she accused those of us in the blogging world of using this forum as cheap therapy. Guilty as charged.

So with that in mind I thought I would write about an “aha” moment I had this week in regards to my own mental health.

A little over a week ago I had a root canal. The days leading up to the root canal were, to say the least, extremely painful. We are talking sleepless nights , ice packed, popping Advil like it’s going out of town, painful. The frustrating thing was that the tooth looked absolutely normal to me. My regular dentist confirmed that there was no obvious decay but because of the pain he thought he’d send me on to a specialist.

Two days and half of bottle of Lortab later, I was at the endodontists office. With the paper napkin strapped around my neck I was actually thinking that if he pulled the tooth that moment with no Novocaine – it would actually feel better. After a brief look at the x-ray the dentist announced “I think it’s an abscess. Let’s do a root canal.” As he gave me the shot he apologized that it was going to “sting a bit.” But by that time I was craving Novocaine like a junky wanting his next fix. Ah . . . welcome relief as half my face and tongue went numb.

The root canal took longer than the dentist expected. The root was curved and he had a hard time making the curve. He persisted because if he didn’t get to the end of the root, the infection would persist. He spent a lot of time drilling and then scraping with a tiny round file the inner tooth. It seemed to go on forever and then he finally said “you have so much infection in here it just keeps oozing out. I’m trying to get it clean but it’s going to keep seeping up.” He decides that he’ll have to wait a few weeks to seal the tooth. He fills the tooth with medication and puts a temporary filling in so that it has time to heal. I’ll go back in a few weeks for a permanent filling. It’s not a perfect tooth, but eventually it will be healed.

I realized that personally I’m in the same spot as my tooth. I’ve had a lot of life experiences that have caused gunk to build up on the inside that now is festering and causing pain. But the good thing is — I’m in the process of drilling in and getting that gunk out. It’s painful at times, but a relief to start to completely get the “infection” out, instead of medicating it in a variety of ways and hoping it goes away. I’m still cleaning, drilling, and filing. It’s uncomfortable and I’m impatient, but the infection was deep and so somethings will keep oozing for awhile. It won’t be gone overnight – some things take time to heal. But someday the inner decay and infection will be gone and I’ll seal the top. Still not perfect – definitely changed – but whole and healed.

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