Sunday, July 06, 2008
I Love My Body, It Has Been So Good To Me
Written Saturday, July 5th, posted Sunday
Several years ago, after a dental checkup, my dentist, an excellent physician, told me he discovered two teeth that had slight cracks. They were next to each other in my upper right molars. He told me I should have crowns placed on both of them, and then gave me a price that I knew was high, and I backed away from the procedure. He said “it is better to have it done now than have them fracture and have to make a more expensive bridge later.” I went to another dentist who told me the teeth did not seem in danger.
Yesterday, I drove with Carol down from the mountains to have my tooth pulled out because the fracture had spread to the root and the area had become infected. As I lay in the chair and the dentist was pulling my molar out, I felt a passing sadness to lose a part of myself, even if a tooth.
Today, I have dull pain, and my tongue often goes to feel the hole left in my gum where my tooth was. I realize something else about this day. It is the anniversary of Naomi’s death, nine years ago (See the website for my book, A Heart Traced in Sand.) Whenever I have pain or discomfort, I remember her, and think that whatever happens to me is not as bad as what happened to her, and she never complained. As I pondered about her last moments, I thought about how she died. Cancer had spread over most of her body, one leg was swollen almost twice as big as the other, and she could not walk. She had lost so much weight as to be almost a skeleton, with eyes like gleaming orbs in hollow sockets. Overwhelming pain had plagued her for over a year, robbing her of rest. Her lungs slowly weakened from disease until she suffocated. Incredibly, some of her last words before she died at the age of nineteen, were, “I love my body, it has been so good to me.” Naomi practiced loving with such conviction and ardor that she overcame all negativity, and this is a lesson that I will always carry inside my heart.
I go to Florence, Italy on Wednesday, 9 July to meet Sarah. I will need to get a temporary tooth put in, so the way things are playing out, a Spanish doctor pulls my tooth out, an Italian puts a temporary in, and one from India implants a permanent false tooth. How is that for international cooperation?