Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Loosely translated, that means "please", "thank-you", "no", and every other word in my vocabulary, when I have a mouth stuffed with gauze.

I had four wisdom teeth removed yesterday. Three and a half to be specific, but I am choosing to ignore the presence of the last .5 of a tooth, a stubborn little beyotch which the oral surgeon said mocked his attempts to extract it.

I spent the rest of yesterday and most of this morning bleeding, drooling and throwing up from the effects of the pain killers and drugs they used to put me to sleep. And wondering what the hell is next.

When I was a kid, I was the healthy one in my family. Both my younger and older sisters seemed to have been born with a determination to stretch every benign case of hiccups into a visit to the emergency room. The very act of my older sister being born sent my mother into a coma for three days; my younger sister once spent a week in the hospital because she was the only child in the western world to contract a weird, infected strain of chicken pox which nearly killed her. They both have breathing problems... my younger sister is in fact very much in need of someone to invent inhaler necklaces and jewelry. They were poster children who fell and couldn't get up, while I hardly even sneezed.

I once stood outside of a stained glass window as a basketball was being thrown through it; all I got was a few stitches and a mickey mouse bandage for my trouble. I once leapt off our front porch and landed on my knee, pulling back the skin so deeply the cut wouldn't even bleed. It is really not good to look at one's own white meat. I was witch hazled and gauzed and sent back outside to play. I was what some might call a sturdy child.

And then I grew up. Since turning seventeen, I have been hospitalized, medicated, opened up, remodeled, renovated and practically hosed down. I have had enough blood taken from me to shore up the Red Cross Storehouse of a small village. I don't just get sick anymore; I get searing pain do you have anything stronger than heroin how much does short term disability pay let's see what throwing up water feels like illnesses. My doctor writes me prescriptions as if she aspires to land one on the bestseller list. I never leave her office without one. Sometimes I don't even fill them. My medicine cabinet currently has enough drugs in it to create a whole new variety of addiction. At this rate, not only will I never feel pain again, but I could very well choose to live in a permanant state of numbness were I not concerned about needing to feel such things as needing to pee.

Meanwhile, my sisters are walking around surviving on diets of Chik fi let and Gladys Knight's Chicken and Waffles and feeling perfectly thin and fine. I am not quite sure where the turning point was. Save for my younger sister's asthma, I have somehow becomes the spokesmodel for Things Which Can Go Wrong.

I should have known things were different the year a lump formed in my head and I had to have it surgically removed (things are always dramatic, but never life threatening. I went to my doctor in tears because I could feel a lump in my head and was convinced I had brain cancer; she gently, if slightly giggling, explained that the presence of my skull would prevent me from feeling a growth which was in my brain). Or a few months ago when the doctor diagnosed a heart murmur, showing me an ultrasound image of my heart waving at me with one of it's valves instead of closing it up tight like everyone else's. Or when they told me that while I wasn't exactly a diabetic, they had perhaps seen less sugar in that morning's cereal bowl than in my bloodstream, and could I please lay off the carbs?

And then there's my oral surgeon, who couldn't extract the whole of a tooth which was essentially mush inside because I'd waited so long after it died to have it removed that it was beginning to fossilize itself. Attractive.

It may be too late in the year to make New Year's Resolutions, but I am going to add one to the mix anyway. I resolve to not need another needle for the rest of 2006. I will eat my leafy green vegetables and brush religiously after meals, even at work. I will walk the dog more often and park in the spot nearest my destination less. I will watch my sisters wolf down ribs and biscuits with only the slightest bit of jealousy.

And if all that seems too hard, then I have a really good, strong, smart running head start on a New Year's Resolution for 2007.

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