I seem to be losing teeth at an increasing rate, these days! Soon I shall be like ageing Plough, denizen of the field in front of Elpha Green above Sparty Lea, a grand old man of the equine tribe, who finds it challenging to pull up grass and hay. But he copes, and so do I.
‘Why are you banging your head against the wall?’ An old schoolboy joke with the inevitable riposte: ‘Because it feels so good when I stop!’ But that’s the kind of joyful relief I felt yesterday, when the kind dentist gently extracted my infected wisdom tooth that had been causing debilitating pain. Knowing how challenging it can be to gain a dentist’s care, I was so relieved that I’d initiated the process nearly six months ago. And, of course, that my tooth managed to stay merely grumbling in the background over that period, until I was seen, and taken on, by the dentist in Castle Douglas. But it was still a surprise when it erupted into unalloyed pain, preventing any chewing, only a week after that first appointment.
To my relief, however, the tooth had been identified as doomed at that visit, and so it was only a simple matter of a few anaesthetic injections (ouch though!) and then a gentle rip, tear, pull and out the offending molar came. Even through the numbness I could feel the relief. I did require significant rest and recuperation throughout the late afternoon and evening, but writing this now, pain-free, feels like a joy I cannot blithely ignore.
With such mundane joys, life carries on, even in the midst of mourning for the late Queen.throughout this coming week. As some columnists have remarked, the death of Queen Elizabeth II elicits an examination of our own families, and with the passing of my folks, this past year, the occasion is deeply resonant. Not Victorian in the grief-wallowing, but a kind of unaffected sorrow in the inevitability of an eventual end. Every such reminder reinforces how precious life really is.
As prosaic as it seems, I might feel an echo of that pang of loss as I say goodbye to yet another tooth, and carry on looking for joy in the time yet available.