A Conversation with Tubby 5: 2012 Clearance

As I opened the folder labeled: My pictures/2012 and started flipping through the pictures, he was looking over my shoulder, giving me sideways looks as I smiled at certain pictures, and stopped to reflect on others. Then, when he could no longer keep up the silent observer act, he blurted out:

Tubby: That looks like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

Me: Yeah, feels like ages. It’s amazing how many things could be squeezed into one year. How come time seems to go by so fast yet so slow in retrospect?

Tubby: Well, it sure wasn’t a boring year then.

Me: Not at all. Crazy things happened this year. You know, I developed unlikely obsessions, unlikely feelings towards unlikely people or things… so, no, it wasn’t exactly a drag.

Tubby: Yes, but you know, for the most part I wasn’t surprised

Me: What’s that supposed to mean? Are you saying I’m predictable?

Tubby: Oh no, it’s just that, you know, I know you too well. I mean I was caught in the war zone between your ego and your superego. I saw it all, and I must say I was impressed at times, disappointed at others.

Me: Why do you sound so wise all of a sudden? Anyway, I know I’ve let you down on some occasions; I’m not going to defend myself. But I’m hoping that somehow things will work out fine eventually.

Tubby: Well, that’s something 2012 hasn’t changed. I say you should take your optimism down a notch. You can’t do the wrong thing and say let’s see what happens.

Me: Okay, you’re treading on my turf now, back off. And for your information many things have changed and I feel like I’ve really grown up in the past year.

Tubby: I’ll hand it to you.

Me: Of course you will. And to walk the talk I’ve been doing an inventory, a clearance of sorts; throwing out all things and people that need to be out of my life once and for all.

Tubby: Are you sure? Because, I’ve seen this movie before, you know

Me: Positive! Tubby, I’ve never been so in peace with it like I am now. I know I’ve often struggled with such things but this time it’s different, because it happened in a gradual manner, with little effort. You see, I’m finally out of the denial phase and in the sweet heaven of acceptance. I don’t even know how I got there but thank God I did, I see things in a whole different way now.

Tubby: so, what do you intend to do now?

Me: I’m turning the page. No, not only turning the page on them, I’m taking all these people, things, feelings, whatever, and I’ll put them in a room, seal the door shut and then set the whole thing on fire. Scorched earth, just like that, thank you and goodbye.

Tubby: wow. Just like that? But didn’t you just read in that book you’re reading, whatever it is, that “the harder you try to forget something the more you think about it” or something like that?

Me: True, but that’s the trick. I’m not “trying” to forget them, I’m just blocking them out. That’s very different. I don’t even want to think about not thinking about them. Tested and proved.

Tubby [clears throat]: well, good luck with that. But, say, don’t you think the people, the human beings in that group deserve a little more than just being set to flames? I mean, after all they were part of your life and all.

Me: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Maybe I should slide a note under the door before the fireworks start. Do you have a pen and a paper?

Tubby: imaginary pen and paper, I assume. Sure, here you go.

Me: Okay, here we go: “Dear misfits…”

Tubby: Misfits?

Me: Relax, it’s not an insult. They are misfits because they don’t fit in my life anymore. So, from the top:

“Dear Misfits,

Out of all 7 billion+ people in the world, our paths crossed, and for a short period of the age of the universe we got to meet, interact and become a part of each other’s lives. Be that as it may, it’s my sad obligation to inform you that this relationship has run its course and it’s time we parted ways. So, I bid you farewell for now, taking into consideration that we may or may not see or hear from each other again for as long as we shall live, being citizens of a very big yet very small world, so… go figure.”

Tubby: Not bad but, go figure? That’s no way to end a goodbye letter to individuals that left footprints on your life, you can’t just get rid of them so unceremoniously, you owe it to them.

Me: So… what do you suggest?

Tubby: How about, sincerely, with love or whatever?

Me: I can’t say that, I’m not sure how I feel about most of these people. But, how about this: “With whatever feelings or lack thereof I have for you, however undeserving you may be”

Tubby: too politically correct for my taste but it does the trick.

Me: Okay, so, here’s the note. Now, what?

Tubby: It’s your call. But I can swallow the key if you want.

Me: Oh, that’s so sweet of you.

Tubby: My pleasure. What’s more important is that you make me privy to your 2013 plans.

Me: Oh no, no plans.

Tubby: No plans?

Me: No plans. Because if the last couple of years have taught me anything it’s that “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”. So I’ve decided to play it by ear and prepare to be surprised at any given moment.

Tubby: Well, that sounds like a plan.

Me: I appreciate the irony, but really we’ll have to wait and see, and most importantly hope that this no plan is actually a good plan.

Tubby: well then let’s end 2012 on a high note and get on with our “burn after meeting” plans

Me: After you, sir! Lead the way…

The Dentist Diaries

The journey started 3 years ago when I saw a video on The Doctors about how ignoring teeth problems could have serious consequences on one’s health, even causing heart disease. So, knowing fully well I had that elephant in my room I decided to pay an overdue visit to the dentist, something I hadn’t done in 12 years. Yes, 12 years, and I realize that was very wrong but you don’t need to point it out because I got to learn the hard way.

So, I went to that doctor who my father and other members of the family used to go to and she was well-known for being a good dentist, everyone liked her. But it seems that she got sloppy in those last years, something my father pointed out but I can’t remember if he did that when it was too late or I just didn’t listen and decided to go with her anyway.

So, she told me I had several cavities (no kidding), which was really understandable, I’d been nurturing those cavities since I was 12 or 13 and I’m sure I didn’t take much care of my teeth as I do now so there must have been a price to pay obviously. Well, that wasn’t a problem, because the problems were yet to come. After she was done drilling and stuffing in the course of several separate sessions, I thought I was good to go. I still had toothaches but I thought that was normal. Of course when the pain persisted I knew that wasn’t normal, and it wasn’t just any kind of pain, it was the kind that puts you on painkillers 24/7. I was popping Ibuprofens like candies.

So, I went to another doctor and she said I needed a root canal. Great! Anything to take the pain away. So, I had a root canal and I thought that was it. But no! I continued to have severe toothaches. Another doctor said there was nothing wrong with my teeth and that maybe that was my wisdom teeth. Okay, take them out. I had the 4 of them removed on the same day. Thank God my doctor was a very good one that I didn’t go through the horror stories I’ve been told about wisdom teeth removal. It was a piece of cake.

You’d think that was the end of it, but No. The pain came back. I went to my doctor again (how many doctors have I mentioned so far?) but he said there was nothing wrong and recommended some oral hygiene products, not that I lacked oral hygiene but he thought maybe using hydrogen peroxide for example could make the mysterious pain go away. Well, it was alleviated a little, but then it came back and I was at my wit’s end.

So, I continued to live on painkillers and it was no surprise that I felt that I was starting to have stomach problems due to that. I didn’t care whether I took Ibuprofens on an empty stomach anymore. Thankfully, before things got any worse a friend of mine recommended a dentist –who later on became her husband- but I’m sure that wasn’t the reason she recommended him because that was THE dentist that would figure it out.

So, I took an appointment, he examined my teeth, made x-rays, but like everyone else he said there was nothing wrong with my teeth and that they looked like pretty strong teeth too. So, he thought maybe it was my gums and prescribed a medicine. I took the medicine but as you’d expect the pain persisted. When I went back he seemed perplexed and decided to try something else. He decided to open up the tooth that I particularly complained about, although it showed no sign of cavities or any abnormalities, and he was in for a bloody surprise.

That tooth, which the first dentist had treated, was badly infected and the infection had reached the nerve. It didn’t show on the x-rays nor was there any visible sign for it. As soon as he opened it up there was blood and stuff. But I didn’t care, I just wanted the pain to go away. So, the mystery was finally solved and I happily had a root canal, and another one after it. To tell the truth I got used to the whole thing that I longer had any fear of dentists or needles or what not.

Anyway, I stayed away from dentist for 2 years after that, until I recently started having mild pains again. Of course most of the time I’d dismiss it as nothing and it would go away. But this month I decided to go, because I learned anything from that saga it was that you shouldn’t wait until the pain is out of control to check it out.

So I went to the dentist, told him one of my teeth hurt and I thought it had a cavity and that another 2 teeth had a big gap between them and it was annoying, I hardly had any pain though so you can imagine my surprise when he told me the tooth I thought had a cavity was fine and the gap between the other 2 teeth was actually a broken tooth which developed into a cavity that reached the nerve and I was in need for another root canal.

And there we go again! Honestly I thought that after 2 years I’d be afraid again, having forgot what it’s like to have a needle piercing through the lining of your oral cavity but it was easier than I thought, thank God. Another silver lining was that all the flossing and brushing and gargling seemed to pay off as I only had that one cavity which was due to a broken tooth, my other teeth were fine.

Anyway, I can sum up what I learned from this in a few points:

1-    If have a toothache, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rush to the dentist. Sometimes all you need is an ibuprofen and to take it easy on that tooth for a couple of days. It’s better to check it out though, it depends on the intensity of the pain and how well you know your teeth.

2-    Not having any toothaches doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth are fine. If the pain comes and goes then you’d better check it out before it gets ugly.

3-    Make sure you have a good dentist

4-    If you’re a girl who’s getting married or planning on getting pregnant then you’d better have your teeth checked up. You don’t want to have a root canal or have a wisdom tooth removed with no or little local anesthesia.

5-    If you’re having a root canal in the morning then make sure to have a good breakfast. Took me 5 hours yesterday for the anesthetic to wear off, I was starving. However, I didn’t have that problem when I had my wisdom teeth removed because I was too disgusted to eat or even open my mouth the whole day.

6-    Drink green tea and other herbal drinks, they are natural mouth cleansers. Use mouth wash twice a day at least, brush your teeth twice a day at most because too much brushing could destroy tooth enamel. And give flossing a shot, it’s annoying but it’s worth it.

You don’t need to have perfect looking teeth so don’t listen to every dentist that tells you he wants to replace your real teeth with synthetic ones because it will make you look better, you know dentists make money out of that so don’t let them mess with your head. Look in the mirror, you like how your teeth fit into your face, check. They’re healthy, check. On to something more important.