In October of 2015 I came down with a tooth infection that did quite a number on me. I remember having to go to work using copious ammounts of Anbesol and entirely too much ibuprofen to combat the pain.
I made call to my dentist’s emergency number two days prior and made an appointment for the morning of of my last shift. I had worked the night before being in severe pain and when I got off that morning and made my way to the dentist’s office I was already exhausted and this weird bubble had formed above my tooth at the gum line where the gums and the cheek come together. Way up in there on the right side top.
Here’s a fun little factoid: Novocaine (spelling?) does not a thing for numbing when the area in question is badly infected. To put it simply, it was the worst pain I had felt in my life, 39 years at the time. I know the experience will be difficult to describe with words, but I’ll try.
When I sat down in the chair, my dentist went immediately to work trying to numb the area. The shot was way more painful than normal due to the infections and had me wound like a clock spring by the time he finished. The numbing medicine did not work. Regardless, the only thing to do was to move forward.
His plan was to complete a root canal on the tooth and get the infected root out of there and pack the area directly with some powerful medicine. He succeeded but not without much trauma to me. The pain I discovered during that visit was a pain that I don’t expect to meet at any other point in my life. I don’t know if it is just because of the close proximity to the brain that the the pain from the teeth is so intense or what, but it is a different kind of pain. It is so intense that at the high peaks there are no other options; your eyes slam shut and your breathing stops, you sweat buckets and all of your muscles tighten like a piano string and tears come out of your eyes no matter how much of a man you are. I had such a grip on the arms of the chair I was in that I’m impressed that they just didn’t break off. I imagine it’s like sticking a white-hot wire through your tooth into your brain and then wiggling it all about up there before extracting it to reheat it and do it all again.
By the time he finished I was broken, mentally and physically. I was a shell of the human being I went in there as. I was soaked in sweat and I had developed and unshakable shiver, I couldn’t stop shaking, though I tried to hold myself together as best I could.
After getting some instructions and some pain killers from the dentist, he released me and told me to call immediately if things change or if need be go to the hospital emergency room if it came to that.
It came to that.
After I left the building I sat in my car for about fifteen minutes shaking uncontrollably. Every five minutes or so one of the nice ladies at the reception desk would come out and check on me. Finally I got the energy up to start my car and make the ten mile drive back home.
My mom knew I had an appointment that morning, she was at work at the time but she was aware of what was going on. When I got home I texted her to tell her that I made it through and that I was home.
I was completely exhausted. I felt like I had been beaten by a group of healthy teenagers that had stuffed bars of soap in socks and then hit me with all their might 10,000 times. After working all night and then spending half of the day getting my ass kicked at the dentist’s office, all I wanted to do was sleep.
Here’s the thing, though: I had the feeling of doom upon me. If you’ve ever had the feeling, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, we’ll, I’ll try to explain it. In my life I have never had a feeling that I was 100% positive of something. There are many things that I was pretty sure of as all people have, but very few things give you a feeling of positivity. There is always a chance that things won’t turn out the way you think.
With this feeling, I was 100% positive that if I lay down to sleep at that particular time, that I would not wake up ever again. I had the distinct feeling that if I fell asleep, I was going to die. I was positive of it, completely sure, and I was afraid of it.
So, Mom texted me back asking me how I was and to lay down and get some sleep. Remember, she was at work at the time. I had no problem relaying my fears to her. I texted her back and told her that as much as I wanted to sleep, that I couldn’t because I was certain I would die if I fell asleep.
Her next text read: “I’m coming home.”
I got my jammies on and sat shaking and broken in my bed staring at nothing, and keeping my eyes wide open.
The mom walked into my bedroom where I was sitting on the bed shaking uncontrollably. She sat next to me and placed her hand upon my back.
I exhaled a sigh of relief because at her touch, my shakes went away and I was filled with a surety that I was going to be okay. I was not going to die that day. Because my mom was there now. The way she always had been in those times off need ever since I was a baby. I knew I would be okay and I knew it when she touched me.
I think there must be an unbreakable bond between a mother and her children. Some hidden instinct, some incredible power there that I can’t understand or explain. Maybe it comes from the days when we are the tiniest. The days we are the most vulnerable and she is there to protect and comfort us. I don’t think that ever goes away, that ability to comfort at the smallest touch. That is one thing that is completely unique to a mother.
Everyone believes that they have the greatest mother in the world and I’m no exception. I believe I do. I think in our own ways, we all do have the best mothers. But mine is special in a way that is inexpressible.
I love you, Mom. You are the greatest human being I know and I continue to strive to live up to your examples. I fall short, I know, but that’s what makes me unique. I continue to try.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you! Thank you for all that you are.