Back when school had just started I had a filling fall out of one of my back molars. The nerve is exposed and this causes a lot of pain for me at times. I haven’t had time to do anything about getting my mouth fixed (I am soon) but I think this might have been a good thing.
This throbbing sore in my mouth, this ultra sensitivity has taught me some very important lessons.
Lesson: Some things you are just born with.
My teeth are genetically weak. I don’t eat a lot of candy or drink very many sodas. Some of my friends with perfect teeth drink multiple sodas every day and I doubt I consume more than 1 or 2 a week on average. Candy bars are a rare buy for me, (though I do love cookies). My dentist told me that though I have great oral hygiene and strong gums, my teeth are just weak and will stay that way no matter what. Just like my mothers teeth. Isn’t that the pits? I have built-in weak spots for no other reason than I was born. And not just in my teeth.
Lesson: Choose wisely.
Now that the nerve is exposed I have to be very careful about how I treat my mouth, what I eat, and when I eat it – this is actually a good thing. Because of the pain, I have become more aware of what I am willing to allow in. I eat healthier food, and I make sure to take extra special care of my mouth. I was also painfully aware of how much sweets my nephews were eating today, making me realize that pain makes us better choice makers and better care takers. Weather it’s food or people or projects or attitudes, our pain from previous situations can be a helpful guide.
Lesson: Pain talks.
I have had to learn a whole new set of coping mechanisms to deal with the sudden onset of unexpected pain. Anything can set it off, cold weather, a headache, stress, or soup. ANYTHING, so I have become an expert in pain management. Okay, not an expert. But day before yesterday I did learn a new trick.
I was driving to my sisters house and my tooth flared up. This was one of the most painful flares in a long time and I was driving and couldn’t really do anything about it. I tried ignoring it, turning on loud music, thinking about something I had to do later, but nothing helped. In fact ignoring it only made it worse. So, instead I began to focus on it. Really focus all my energy and thought into that tiny little nerve ending. As soon as I would do that the pain would lesson, then moments later flare up again. I kept doing it. Kept listening to my mouth. Acknowledged that it was saying “something is wrong back here, your tooth is messed up.” Every time I would finally get really focused in, the pain would lesson, I would relax and then it would start back again. But as I kept practicing the pain slowly got less and less terrible until finally it was completely gone.
Pain, both physical and emotional is our body and or mind/soul telling us that something is broken –not functioning right – and needs to be paid attention to. Acknowledge your pain, face it. Emotional or physical, listen to what it has to say. Honor your pain, give it space. Then move on. Rinse. Repeat as necessary.
Lesson: Time doesn’t heal all wounds and neither can you.
Finally, the last lesson from my mouth is that some things won’t heal over with time. In fact some wounds when left unattended or un-extracted will continue to rot and cause you pain. Most things in the human body and spirit will patch themselves up, and some are even stronger for it, like broken bones which mend stronger at the break. But other things, like teeth just don’t grow back at all. I need a dentist to fix my teeth, or probably a surgeon to take it out all together. Sometimes we need extra help from people and tools who and which are better equipped for the job of handling our pain than we are. Sometimes you just have to walk around with a hole in your mouth, or a hole in your heart, where there used to be something whole. But if you can still chew you can still eat and if you can still breath you can still love. Even with broken parts. And in the mean time we cope, we learn lessons, we listen to our pain but somethings we simply can’t fix alone. Other people are part of a healthy life.