Friday, January 18, 2013

Downtime, thanks to dental surgery

Periodontal surgery – specifically the infamous gum grafting, in which (gross-out alert: the squeamish should stop right here) a section of the roof of your mouth is excised and grafted onto your receding lower gumlines, after which sutures are applied to both the palate and the gumline – is probably not the idea way to score a couple of days off, but I have to admit I’ve been savoring the downtime.

After scheduling the dental surgery for Wednesday morning, I blocked off Thursday and Friday on my calendar as well, and I prepared ahead, bunching up on interviews and deadlines in the first half of the week so that I could leave those days entirely free.

I’m glad I did, too. After arriving home from the periodontist’s office around noon on Wednesday, I just wanted to go to bed. And it was great not having to tell myself “Bed, yes, but while you’re lounging around, finish that arts column….” I’d planned ahead, and it paid off.

The day and a half that followed were truly restful, despite the discomfort of recovering from dental surgery. Yes, my mouth hurt, but the house was warm and quiet, and I didn’t even think about trying to do anything productive. The first evening after the surgery, Rick made me a bowl of milky oatmeal; the following day I ate a vegetarian stew my mother made with tomatoes, spinach, onions and cous cous, cooked to a soft pulp that required no chewing. And then I went back to bed and read a book I’d been trying to get to for months.

I suppose I should plan life out better, so that it doesn’t take dental surgery for me to be able to lie around reading all afternoon. I suppose there’s an argument for doing that even when you feel fine. But at the moment, that’s just not how things are for me. My life is not unusually hectic, not at all, and yet between work, creative pursuits, family time and housework, there’s always something laying claim to my attention.

But not this week. This week I’m indulging. Aspirin, ice pack, pillows, novels. It’s still not quite enough to compel me to rush to schedule another dental surgery. But it makes knowing that I need to undergo another one a year from now seem not so very unappealing.

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