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Suburban Island

Weekend Toothache
Monday, Oct. 25, 2004, 9:29 p.m.

QUESTION: No popcorn?

WHAT I LEARNED: No one likes a toothache.

I had lots of plans for this past weekend but they were mostly set aside for moping about with a dull toothache that just wouldn’t go away.

It wasn’t a horrific toothache but rather a nagging, irritating, low-level kind of toothache that made you worry about the possibility of spending lots of money at the dentist on Monday to make it stop. It was the kind of toothache that you think is maybe going to go away if you just follow a few sensible rules. Like if you just stop chewing on that side for a few days, take some Aspirin/Advil, lay off the cold liquids, avoid the ultra-hot liquids, get into bed and rest a bit, and just read with a heating pad resting on the sore side of your jaw. I wondered if rubbing whisky right on the gums like they used to do sometimes in the olden days for teething babies would work, or just sedate me, or more likely do neither thing very well. I never looked for the whiskey. I went to the store and bought the kill-the-toothache-pain-dead tube of medicine for 6 bucks. It kind of worked and kind of didn't much work. I thought about the whiskey again but decided on a beer. It didn't dull the pain but it put me to sleep.

There was an upside to all of this. I did get some reading done this weekend due to the achy tooth problem and I recommend Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell if you are looking for a big magical read. Thanks to spritopias for the literary suggestion. I'm so impressed - he’s already finished it and that's no small feat since this book is 800 pages long. I’m slogging through this wonderful tome a la toothache fashion – which means slowly. I actually got some sleep on a Saturday night too – going to bed and falling asleep before 11:00 PM - a miracle for me. My kids were dumbfounded. They’ve finally outlasted me.

I also watched a follow-up 2-hour long special to The Office, which I had taped - poorly. Although this special was repeated over and over again throughout the night and evening at 3 hour intervals on BBC America, I chose to start to tape the show in the middle and consequently never quite get the whole thing in sequence. I may even be missing a bit in the middle. I guess I must wait for the DVD. I think I need the subtitles anyway to get some of what is being said in the British mock-umentary of office life.

I did find out that if you have a real doozy of a toothache you can crawl into bed to watch the mock-umentary or read the book in bed if you so please without getting too much flack – like your husband asking you what you are doing now or your kids asking you to drive them around because the other parents are too busy today. You are in major pain and you get a pass on the weekend chores. That is not the case with the dull achy annoying toothache. Instead, you get to work on clearing out the paper piles in the family room, straighten up around the house, go shopping, pay the bills, and do other tasks as needed. No one knows where you put the adult strength Anbesol. You drink cold Diet Coke and regret it.

On a more cheerful note, I did get to go to the movies with my son. I was only a little afraid of the popcorn and yet deeply drawn to it because of its buttery character. I also discovered that besides being leery of popcorn (although I did have some of the super-buttered pieces in the end), when you have a toothache you have no desire for: toast, chewing ice, apples, gummy candy, or steak. I did find out that a latte is okay. I did not eat the chocolate candy my daughter brought me home from the Godiva Store. That was tough.

Today, my tooth is feeling a bit better. I ate the Godiva chocolate.

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