He went on to say, "Before antibiotics people died all the time from these abscesses. When I read history I'm always amazed at how many people died of infections, consumption, TB, pneumonia. Then there were the flu epidemics. We take it for granted but antibiotics changed the course of history.”
The evil was now gone. The thought of the pus though left me feeling dirty. The sickly smell of anaerobes in the room. The scent of contagion. The shame. I'd been defiled and not even known it. I felt apologetic for kissing her days before. I felt betrayed by my body. Smaller. Human.
The nightmare was all but over now. I felt I was no longer on the down elevator, not moving up yet, but no longer descending.
There followed a tense moment as Doug moved along to get out the back root. He heaved and pulled, a muscular activity, with steady gentle persuasion.
I thought of thousands of years and millions of toothaches. The sheer misery in the world untold, before the advent of modern dentistry, precision tools, anitibiotics, anesthesia, guild and professional training. A toothache can be so humbling. We are an ungrateful species. I'm the worst, so utterly self absorbed till life literally slaps me in the face.
The offending tooth and all it’s parts were gone. The whole body strained. Doug had been asking me how I was doing through out the procedure. I'd only grunted. Now I felt good. It's been a long time since I felt good.
I'd just read that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to her royal baby boy, serendipitously, on St. George's Day. A great time of celebration.
I had a fleeting thought of Dr. Doug Lovely as St. George, white shining dental armour, great dental lance, the evil dragon tooth putrid tooth stabbed dead through the middle.
My own mortality has been ever present. It’s been a bad winter of sad blues tinged with poor rockabilly. The tooth flaring last week moved the whole universe symphonically. It became a regular Tchaikovsky then crescendoed seriously Richard Straus at the end. Now there’s hope again. I'd loved a little Bach, maybe some Handel's, Water Music. I’d give anything for Strauss but that’s reaching in these shallow godless bureaucratic times.
Hope's like peace of mind. And faith. They’re so utterly precious. They colour the universe. Without them life would be just black and white and grey. I didn't quite see them slip away. Somewhere in the night. That 19th version of Dark Night of the Soul,the comic strip despair.
We'd watched Monty Python last week, the Crucifixion Scene, the men hanging from nails, whistling and singing, "Always look on the bright side of life." It's hard not to be cynical.
All those people who survived the jihadi van attack. A new born baby boy.. A Royal couple pleased as any commoner. The cycles of life. The blessing of spring.
There's a certain absurdity to a molar abscess. The dentist as St. George. I take life too much for granted these days. I need to be more thankful for small mercies. The cracks that Leonard Cohen described are the places where the Light shone in. The gentle touch of the sacred can still be felt beneath the burden of the mundane.
I heard the bird songs today. The scent of cherry blossoms was in the breeze. Salvation and Modern Dentistry. Hooray for St. George.