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Wisdom teeth gone, yet all the wiser

My new 'most physically painful experience' has been not quite redeemed by ice cream, Percoset, and the help of family and friends

Who knew Hell involved so much ice cream and TV? And painkillers.

I’d always pictured it hotter, frankly. But here I am, having hit the bottom of yet another pint of Ben & Jerry’s, practically overdosing on Percocet, and just begging for someone to put me out of my misery.

Until last week, giving birth without an epidural was #1 on my “Most Physically Painful Experiences” list. Well, move over, labor. Wisdom tooth extraction’s got nothing on ya. And instead of a baby as a consolation prize, you get to look like Luke Wilson on steroids. Not to mention all the weight gain from that damn ice-cream.

As I sit here feeling sorry for myself, a Mister Roger’s quote repeatedly comes to mind (blame it on the drugs):

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” 

Like the angel oral surgeon who rearranged his entire schedule to fit me in after seeing my alarming panoramic x-rays.

His hand-picked, soothing (and sometimes ironic: “Save Me” by Remy Zero, yes, the one from Smallville 🙂 choice of music playlists to distract me from the 12 shots of anesthetic and subsequent ravaging of my mouth.

The thoughtful “Patient’s Prayer” he handed me to recite before the surgery (“Only in Israel, Only at Dr. Katz!”).

The fact that he pre-removed the tags from the tea bags he sent me home with to stem the blood flow.

His Erev Shabbat call to see how I was feeling, and to wish me a speedy recovery.

My amazing sister-in-law, incidentally still recovering from wisdom tooth removal herself, who drove across town to give me the rest of her Optalgin drops.

Or my dear mother, who rushed out to pick up my baby from gan and watched her for two days straight, while I was an invalid, taking care to send pictures of her wearing the strawberry costume she came home wearing.

To the moms of my other two daughters’ friends, who filled in for after-school pickups, gymnastics carpool, and even buying my daughter a treat on the way home from school for being “Student of the Month” — Thank you.

To my incredible neighbor who, upon hearing about my wisdom tooth saga, immediately sent down the most delicious chicken soup for Shabbos — which I’ve been eating ever since, in between ice cream.

To my sweet father, who landed back in Israel late Thursday evening, yet still sent over full, scrumptious homecooked Shabbat meals (including special treats for the kids!) so I wouldn’t need to lift a finger.

To my precious kids, who, sensing my dire situation, have toned down the cattiness and even cleaned their room! And are always available to change my ice packs. I love you guys.

To my boss, team manager, and thoughtful co-workers who took over my work, sent caring messages, and sympathized with my pain — Thank you!

To my friend who lent me a great, 600- page novel which has certainly distracted me from the pain, even if only a little — Thank you.

To my awesome neighbors, who answered my late night whatsapp pleas for “STRONGER DRUGS… PLEASE!” — and delivered in a way that is intriguing and concerning as to why there is such an abundance of opiod possession in our building.

To my neighbor who made a late night call to his dad the dentist, to ensure my excruciating pain was “normal” — Thank you!

And finally — to my husband. The love of my life, who, although under the weather himself, has single-handedly run the house, from cleaning to cooking, to laundry, to bedtime, to school drop offs and pickups, to ice cream and applesauce supplying, to filling prescriptions — all the while soothing my whining and empathizing with the searing pain that is having four infected, impacted wisdom teeth pulled. I haven’t heard a single complaint, word of resentment, or anything negative at all. Despite the fact that I have laid in bed for the past four days and my sole contribution has been to NOT DIE and eat through multiple pints of Cookie Dough, and have not changed a single diaper, filled a bottle, poured a bowl of cereal, picked out clothing, or made a lunch. He is my everything and there aren’t enough words to express my gratitude and appreciation. May everyone be blessed with a “in sickness and in health” partner like this.

Yes, this pain is Off. The. Charts. Yes, I have never felt less productive. Or nauseous. No, I am not exaggerating (although I wish I was.) But the opportunity to see the pure love that my fellows humans have to offer in my time of great need is comforting and gratifying.

I’d still rather be the one helping, though.

About the Author
Nechama Eisenman is a six year consecutive winner of the "World's Okayest Mom" title, and never met a carbohydrate she didn't like. She rejoices in finding G-d in the mundane, is madly in love with her husband and 3 little girls, and relies on spurts of infectious baby giggles to get through the day.
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