Had gum graft surgery the other day. Another gift that often comes with the aging process. But not so bad. My dentist is the Queen of No Pain, the worst parts of the procedure being the numbing needle and the screams of my face muscles as they supported an open mouth for three hours. As I said, not so bad in the large scheme of things.
I came home laden with antibiotics, probiotics, Advil and and a collection of “soft foods” that would be my regimen for the next few days. The ice pack was already in the freezer ready for duty. And dosage schedules were written down. Let the healing begin.
Aging has its advantages. In the past, the younger me would have considered this an unwanted disruption of an already busy, chaotic life. How was I going to keep track of medication doses while teaching? Carpooling? What a pain to have to be careful of what I ate! I so wanted to try that new recipe. I couldn’t even work out because it might pull on the stitches – and just when the workouts were starting to kick in.
Yes, I would have viewed it as quite an inconvenience that needed to be squeezed into my life somehow.
But my current older self – free from so many of those Important Things – now appreciates that this experience IS my life. There’s a contentment from knowing that there’s “nothing to do, no place to go”. I am more able to savor each moment as it comes and to experience life at a deeper level than ever before. I notice sensations, and the feelings they may bring up. I allow them with interest and acceptance. I’m grateful that the surgery will help ensure healthy teeth in the years to come. I’m kinder to my body: if it needs to rest, I allow it to rest. Aging even allows me to adapt easier to a soft foods diet and laugh about it. (Before the numbness totally wore off, I was even drooling a bit…arrghhh)
Contentment, gratitude, adaptation, acceptance, cheerfulness…Who would have thought that dental surgery would prove to be a practice in Mindfulness.