I’m sitting in a lovely apartment home on the hills overlooking the lights of Bogota, contemplating life, especially my last five days. I have just had two days of the most intense physical pain I believe I have ever experienced. (And I delivered a breech baby naturally, not today, but never the less.) At times the pain these days was so strong I couldn’t focus enough to understand what was being said to me. The culprit of this painful event, a crown gone bad.
I flew from the states to Colombia Monday and the pain in my jaw, glands and ear was so intense I cried, tears. I always cry over other stuff, emotions, frustration, etc., but physical pain? I don’t remember ever crying over that. I couldn’t eat or drink, not even water. I did manage to suck a single pack of almond maple butter. I arrived late Monday night and went to straight to a pharmacy. The young pharmacist gave me some weird anti-inflammatory drug, saying it would work and was safe. If you know me, my medicine cabinet consists of tea tree oil, a plethora of essential oils and good old aspirin. I took two of the prescribed ‘something-flams’ and then googled it. After reading the side effects I was mortified, hoping I didn’t bleed to death internally as I hopefully got some sleep.
Without going into all the gory details, this crown was the result of a series of unfortunate events and dental faux pas. When I say faux pas, I am the one who made the error by consenting to probably unnecessary work, i.e., changing out a childhood filling, which eventually had to be changed again and then the crown. My whole life my dentists have raved about my teeth. I didn’t have braces, only had one cavity and the only thing had done was extracted my wisdom teeth. I barely remember it, I guess because of the painkillers. I just remember the cloves packed in, feeling miserable and having to express and toss my milk since I had a sixth month old I was nursing. Horrible timing then too and I had totally forgotten how painful dental issues are. Nature gives us the blessing of forgetfulness so we can move on, it’s part of the healing process. I even sort of forget how painful it was two nights ago. It’s already fading. It is the blessing of concealment.
Yesterday was so bad, and I pulled my favorite Sanskrit card, ‘Kripa, Grace’. Indignant as I can be when I feel scared, tired and hurt, I thought, “how is this Grace? How will I teach tomorrow? How will I sleep tonight? How can I eat and drink? Why can’t I see the dentist today? I’m not taking these weird ‘anti-something-bleed-to-death-flams’. How is THIS Grace?” and then my Heart voice whispered, “you know it’s True, everything is Grace.”
It is true. So far, the Graceful blessings I have extracted (no pun intended) from this dental ordeal is a profound feeling of compassion for all my friends who have had serious dental issues, or root canals or any pain. I get it now. I apologize if I ever was nonchalant when you shared your story. I may forget the pain, and I won’t forget the feeling. I realized that pain can be so debilitating there was no way for rational anything, no meditation, no affirmations. I know this logically in my head, now I know it by direct experience in my body and heart. All I could do was connect to the pain, and experience it and feel it. That was Grace too. The fact I didn’t feel a thing for the three hours I was teaching this morning, Grace reigned and the class rocked. The dentists here are amazing. I have a possibility of using anti-inflammatories (that wont kill me), and antibiotics if necessary to get me through the month. It will be the third and hopefully last time in 25 ys. I have all my loving family and friends to support me, and I still have a mouth full of very healthy, straight, white teeth.
I have a 7:30 am appointment with a dental surgeon tomorrow before I teach. I hope she gives me the news I am envisioning. Whatever she says, I know for sure, it will be perfect and full of Grace. I will not forget compassion down the road and while the memory of the pain will fade as Nature’s plan of concealment, the only extraction happening will be the blessing of compassion, Grace revealed.