It seems to be the hallmark of sainthood that one be humble. I gather that from the invisible halo that is no wheres apparent to anyone but myself. Yes, indeed, I mentioned it some weeks ago, and I got my halo, arriving by Fed Ex just minutes ago. Alas, as I said, no one can see it but me, so I’m shopping the Internet looking for the “Saintly” clothing store so everyone can see what I have accomplished in so short a time.
I’m not good at the humility thing, and God seems to have made an exception, since I can report that the halo is quite lovely and very golden and hovers quite perkily about two inches above my head. It has a jaunty tilt that makes me look, hmmm, how should I say, I bit on the impish side.
You are no doubt dying to know that tipped the balance finally over to my new status. I’m sure you most likely have guessed that it has something to do with the Contrarian, and indeed you are right.
This started a few days ago, when the Contrarian announced that his “tooth was acting up.” Said tooth has done this a good many times over at least a two year period, so we were ready for the drill (no pun intended). A few days of minor discomfort with perhaps one that was really annoying.
No such luck, this time it just got worse and worse. I offered to pass on a list of chores and meetings in town yesterday, but he assured me all was quite well. I returned home last night to a severely in pain man.
Of course, not according to him. He is Mr. Stoicism with a capital S, and that rhymes with guess, and you can probably figure how things went from there on. He was up and down most of the night, and thus, I got little sleep myself. I got on the phone at 8 am and found a dentist who would take him that day. Just so you know, look for the word “emergency” in the want ads.
We arrived at “Gentle Dental” a strange place with the most uncomfortable chairs ever defined as “chairs.” On the walls were a plethora of animal skulls that traversed some twenty feet or more of wall space, with a walk through the world and mini info plaques of each animal. Having never seen a giraffe skull, or a armadillo skull, I was most impressed, if not a little confused. Teeth, I could understand, but skulls, hmmmm, I was inclined to view this as macabre.
The Contrarian was rapidly called and disappeared. I settled down to read a book I had brought along. About an hour later, he emerged. “Did they remove it?” I inquired. “Uhuh,” he nodded. We stood waiting for the bill to be prepared and were given prescriptions for pain pills and antibiotics (it was infected). All the while the Contrarian in a muffled voice related what he had endured.
“They have only a curtain between the chairs. I was between two children who howled incessantly between brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, brrrrrrrrrrr, whaaaaa whaaaaa, brrrrrrrrrrrr, brrrrrrrrrrrr. It was inhuman. Take me someplace where I can watch fingernails being removed with pliers or where someone scratches a blackboard with nails, it couldn’t be worse. The dentist left after the Novocaine and then forgot me, probably planning his Club Med vacation, and by the time he got back the Novocaine had worn off. Then. . . .”
“You can tell me all about it in the car. Why don’t you go out there now, and I’ll take care of this,” I pleaded softly.
“No, no, you might get lost. You’ve had enough trouble with windshield wipers today.” he offered.
Now I think there must be weird drugs in the Novocaine, since the windshield wipers are not related to anything.
“We’ll go to Walmart for the meds,” I announce. He mumbles something.
“Wait in the car, I’ll be back as soon as I can.” “Hurry, my mouth hurts! I thought it wouldn’t after the tooth was gone,” he complains. “I know, just hang in there,” I reply.
Just as I’m coming away from the pharmacy, drugs in tow, I spot him. “Why didn’t you wait in the truck?” I ask. “I thought you were shopping! I am in pain here,” he grumbles. “I had to wait, I wasn’t shopping,” I answer in defense.
“Okay, the pharmacist said the pain pills may cause an upset stomach, so you may want to wait until we get home. The antibiotic you can take now. ” He gulps down one of each. “They said the pain pills were about medium strength.” He looks at me in horror, “That doesn’t make me feel very secure.”
A full mile down the road he exclaims, “My MOUTH hurts. These pills aren’t working. I knew the medium thing was a bad sign.” “You just took it, you have to wait a bit,” I reply rationally.
“I”m the epitome of stoicism,” he announces brusquely. “Yeah, sure ya are,” rolling my eyes and wishing he would fall asleep.
“They said I should take some time off from daily work. There is no end date for that. You suppose they mean the rest of the summer?” “What would be new there buster?” I cackle.
As we are going down the freeway. “Remember when I told you about the pilot I threatened to shoot in the leg in Vietnam if he didn’t bring the copter down to a lower level? When my wisdom tooth was infected?”
“Your point?” I ask. “Just be careful driving up any hills. But I don’t have a gun you know.” Oh boy, he’s a space cadet.
I am regaled with tales of Marathon Man and how he was sure that that was what was in store for him by the dentist as he sat in the chair. I nod, and keep driving. “Do me a favor and take a nap when we get home,” I daydream.
“I’m rather like a Vulcan you know,” he says. “I compartmentalize pain, and move on. I have done so.” I realize that the pain meds are starting to kick in.
As we arrive and get in the house, he sits down and flips on the tube. “I’m really handling this quite well, you have to admit,” he announces in a quite satisfied voice.
I shake my head in ironic disbelief. Yes, no doubt you do my husband. I’ll just get these snivel rags and crying towels and get them in the wash, while you stoically bear up my love. I give my halo a little pat, smile, and give a wink to God. Thanks there Big Guy.