Dental School

Last week I went through the most physically agonizing experience of my adult life. I had a tooth abscess develop at the root of one of my molars. Now I have discovered that there are two types of people in this world: Those who have had one of these and those who have not. For the latter, let me assure you: It ain’t no walk in the park. In fact, this one infection completely incapacitated me for days, with virtually no relief even after taking the strongest pain narcotics, until I finally had the tooth removed.

But this post is not concerned with teaching you about tooth abscesses. Instead, I want to warn you about a dangerous phenomenon that I experienced throughout the process.

When the pain was at its absolute worst (i.e. when my pain meds wore off), and the agony was at its peak, I was singularly focused on – and border-line obsessed with – fixing what was wrong. There was no room for debate. The pain was my body’s way of stimulating me into action, and action I was going to take.

However, during those few moments when I found even the slightest bit of relief, I began to go soft on my commitment to fixing the problem. The relief made me complacent with a false sense that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were.

Perhaps you could argue that maybe the pain was driving me to irrational solutions while the pain meds offered me a chance to think clearly. But the fact remained that even though I couldn’t sense its presence during those moments of reprieve, a dark and sinister menace lie waiting to unleash new waves of attack against my body that would only get stronger and stronger and threaten my health more and more unless definitively dealt with.

So what’s the molar moral of this story? Well, I’m not really sure. That’s sort of up to you. I merely offer you this little anecdote and ask that you draw your own conclusions. I suppose there are about a million different life applications/lessons you could take from this, and even if just one of them is helpful to at least one of you, then I will feel as though my suffering was not in vain.

P.S. Enjoy that disgusting illustration above.

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