The New Year did not necessarily start off well, though it did start with a bang. "BRRNNGGG!" That was my phone at 6 a.m. Either someone was still celebrating, I cursed as I dove over four sleeping animals to my telephone, or it was an emergency. Oops...emergency. It was a semi-tearful friend on the other end of the line. She was away on vacation until after the holiday. Her mother was with her, and both their house keys of course were with them. I was the only other person with a key and...the police were at her house. Her alarm had gone off three times, they had had to go to her house three times and they were-not-happy. Could I please go into the house for a walk-through? Oh, and call the security company if it was a sensor problem? It was, I did, and then I zoomed off to...the dentist. I had already noticed that a little sensitivity I had been feeling in the upper left hand corner of my mouth was no longer little. The gum and roof of my mouth seemed to be turning into a growth the size of a small lemon and were oozing blood. I've never had an abscess, but a little bell in the back of my mind said that I by golly had one now. So off I went. I basically had a mouth full of blood, which the dentist discovered as soon as he lanced it. I spent quite a while hanging over the sink. Then I went off to check levels to be sure I wouldn't exsanguinate from a tooth extraction and get some Vitamin K to be on the safe side, since until recently I was on anti-coagulants and my clotting doesn't seem quite back to normal. Later in the day, it was back to the dentist. Needless to say, I never made it back to work, though I had managed to put in about a whole two hours.
It probably wasn't bad, as such things are reckoned. Forty-five minutes and a whole lot more bleeding later, after a caution not to drive unnecessarily because my hemoglobin might be a little low, I walked out clutching my jaw and my antibiotics, $118 poorer. Oh, and the phony tooth to be put in two weeks later would be $680, by the way. Apparently that's a bargain. One of the titanium jobs that screws into your jaw bone is $3,000+ and that sounds like just way too much money for the pain, so I figured I'd settle for the cheapie. We'll see how it works out. I don't have many dental problems as a rule, so I'm charting unknown territory. But I cracked that tooth years ago in a fall from my horse so hard that I whacked my jaws together with a force that probably registered on a seismograph somewhere.
Those were the good old days. I don't do stuff like that any more because, let's face it, I'm just too damn old. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I was a dynamo in my younger days, all too willing to pack up the hamper and go freeze my tush off at any football game, climb a mountain or foxhunt until I was shaking with exhaustion. This would have delighted many husbands, but did I pick one who appreciated my finer points? Ah, well...no. My husband would dutifully meet me at the door when I traipsed in covered with muck, kindly inquire if I had had a good time and pour me a sherry, after which I would collapse under a comforter and watch football on the TV, which is what he would have preferred me to do in the first place. That was where he watched football, if he watched at all. No, I married a man who could spend hours happily wandering through the grocery store. He was a food broker, so I understood that this was professional fascination, but he could also, God help me, do it in the mall. The Mall? The place I passionately detested and avoided like grim death? I bless whatever fate decreed I would be born in the age of on-line shopping, but my husband LOVED malls.
That was only one small example of the differences between us. Our marriage lasted despite them, maybe even because of them. And as I sit here at 5 a.m. cradling my aching jaw, I wonder how many times that works out. Dave never learned to foxhunt and I still hate malls, but we managed. Do marriages of flaming opposites burn themselves out or smoulder into comfortable old age? Should we view these vast chasms as challenges to be overcome...warning signs of trouble ahead...intellectual exercises...opportunities to broaden our horizons? My spirit was always duty-bound to make a challenge out of climbing things--or jumping a horse over them. Are some of us marital thrill-seekers? If so, do we ultimately enrich our lives? What do you think?