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The Silver (Amalgam) Lining

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Six days without a post from me? Unheard of. Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't.

Let's see. Do I have an excuse? Not that I need one; we bloggers blog or we don't, as life commands.

Nobody told us when we were chewing ice cubes and jawbreakers and grinding our teeth all night that those fillings we had done at age 13 were going to fail, fail, fail.  Well, actually I remember my mom begging me not to chew ice cubes. She did it herself and suffered the consequences, sitting for hours in a chair at the Dental School in downtown Richmond, and coming back traumatized and silent. God only knows what was done to her in the 1970's; the students learned on her.  I thought that was something that only happened to old people, that would never happen to me. Now I wish so hard that I could go back and give a long hug to my 50-year-old mom, put a cool cloth on her forehead, and pull the curtains, ask her what she needs. In the solipsism of youth, I never could have grasped that my beautiful big white teeth were going to fracture, too. That, like my mother, I'd learn to drink by sucking warm water delicately over my tongue like a pigeon; that if even tepid water contacted one of those fractured molars, I'd gasp and pirouette around the kitchen with my hands over my face. That my kids would stand, stricken, watching me, but not imagining that could ever happen to them. And maybe it won't. They don't chew ice.  Jawbreakers are unknown to them, as is soda of any kind. Their perfect young teeth were sealed as soon as they came in; they've never had a cavity--never had a cavity!!
Excuse me. May I have a do-over with my teeth?And while I'm at it...

Like my kids, I never divined that  someday I'd hurt so badly and for so long (since December) that when I finally realized that those teeth were cracked all the way to the root, and they weren't going to get better, and found an endodontist who would see me in a timely fashion (all the ones in my area were either on vacation or offering appointments in May) it didn't matter that he was 2 1/2 hours away. I would look forward with joy to climbing in that chair, lying back and trying to relax.

By chance and synchronicity and pure magic I found the most awesome endodontist, and I'm convinced my little voice (and his five-star rating) helped me pick him out of the online directory. I walked into his office to see Plein Air and Audubon on the glass table. There was no television in the waiting room. And that no television was not set on Faux. There was a bird feeder outside the window--in an office park--and he had the right seed mix for downy woodpeckers, Carolina chickadees and house finches! There was a field guide on the windowsill! The music on his system was just exactly right, stuff I knew, could hum along to in a muffled, throaty, forlorn way behind my bright blue rubber dental dam.  And when I met him, he was warm and empathetic and handsome and also--get this-- a badass plein aire oil painter. He's in the office two or three days a week and painting on the other days. It's refreshing to meet someone who has figured out how to do Life. To commit to his art and his work equally. And boy does it show.

You must see his work.  Do go. But come back for the rest of the story.

Here's a teaser: 
"Grandview," a Columbus neighborhood. I'm sure the title's a bit ironic. Holy smokes, he paints. Three days a week, he paints. He paints for keeps. From

Jim Murrin did what he could with my two cracked molars, which is to say he reamed 'em out and filled 'em and now I'm waiting to get them crowned, and I can eat again, and drink cold--Cold!!-- water without shrieking. Grateful doesn't begin to describe how I feel about that. 
The  Little Voice was speaking loudly when, in Whipple on the morning of my first appointment, knowing absolutely nothing about him other than that he was a good endodontist, I packed a copy of Baby Birds in my bag to give to him. I had a feeling he'd appreciate it. I had no idea then how much he'd like it. 

Look at the sky in "Point Cabrillo Light." Look at the light.

Long story short, I feel I've made a friend. And it's odd--I feel I have known him all my life. This is when the past-life stuff kicks in, at least for me. Maybe I've known him all my life, in some other life. There will be times when you feel that you've been guided by instinct to someone's door. But maybe something larger is guiding you. Some higher power is directing your attention in all the right directions. Getting older can suck, for sure. Cracked teeth and crap like that. But finally being inwardly quiet enough that you're able to hear and heed the Little Voice is a beautiful thing. And knowing when to be grateful (always) is everything.

All the while, both pre-and-post root canals, I have been filling orders for Baby Birds, because it is the kind of work one can do while in pain. Writing blogposts, running, taking joy-filled photos,  waxing poetic...not so much. But thanks to Jim I'm pain-free, and coming back.

I am heartened and delighted by your response to the new book. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Lord knows you could get it cheaper elsewhere, but you can't get it signed or Chetpawprinted elsewhere, and you get that; you make the choice to buy your book from me (see right sidebar for order button) and I'm forever in your debt. The orders keep coming in and I am working hard to scratch up the money to buy more books. Thank you! I had thought I would turn around and put the money you're sending me into buying more books, but my old molars had other plans.
I'm determined to make it work. 

I think it was John Lennon who said, "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." 

"Message from Home" by Jim Murrin
Go see Jim's art. He's got some new stuff coming from a trip to Cuba!!


Teeth I can Relate to. Sounds like a book title.
Glad the book is doing well.

He's good, as a painter. Hope his other skills are as great. But his paintings I really admire

What a treat. Not your teeth, of course, but your find of an endodontist artist...or should I say artist endodontist?
Here's hoping the teeth come through as well as you.

No TV in the office! Reason enough to sing his praises! And a painter, too! May your future contacts with Dr. M. be about art, wildlife, and friendship, not resulting from dire consequences of ice chewing. Heal quickly.

Posted by Minnie Fleming March 31, 2016 at 8:14 AM

A kindly, gentle root-canalist is a treasure.

--Five implant (I hope not your next step) reader

Oh man! That's awful.

As a side note, I had zero cavities until I turned 29, 7 years ago. I was very, very dismayed when that news hit. I put down my Tom's toothpaste and went back to Sensodyne. Now, I've got a mouthful of them. I blame turning 30. (and the little fact that I took a few years off from the dentist! oops!)

Sounds like your dentist is definitely doing things right.

Love the title

OH MY GOSH, do I KNOW what you're talking about! I waited 6 weeks after my initial pain started, thinking it was just increased sensitivity around my receding gum area. By last Friday, holy moley, YIKES! Pirouetting and lots of face holding. Dentist on Tuesday said nerve is dying = "ROOT CANAL", but first antibiotics. Wouldn't you know it - the last 2 days pain has gotten exponentially worse!
Even my eyeballs hurt. Thanks for the laugh. I needed it ...time for more Ibuprofen.

The 'little voice', 'the Higher Power', I can relate to both. I can also relate to meeting someone that becomes an instant friend or someone that you instantly connect with. Everything is easy, the words just flow. I wonder what that says about you or about them. Serendipity! The paintings are stunning. I'm glad you are out of pain. My children have never had cavities either. Guess I did something right as a parent.

1. I had no idea you were in pain in February - you hid it well.
2. I'm married to a mouth full of root canals and capped teeth but have so far avoided the experience myself. Yikes.
3. This guy you found is PERFECT!! Off to look at more of his work now.

Sorry for all that pain. But isn't it lovely to run into a friend you didn't know you had?

I feel your pain (both physically and financially) re: the dental work. I too am paying the price for various youthful indiscretions, and I too am on my own dime for dentistry. At least my current dentist has outfitted me with a mouth guard for the tooth grinding. Dunno whether it'll save the teeth, but at least it's cut way down on the jaw pain.

And finding a specialist who is that good at everything he does--dental work, birding, and art--is indeed an instance of synchronicity, or the celestial spheres in harmony, or something. Felicitations.

You know I love this story. And I also love when two people I admire and respect so much meet and feel like they were long lost friends! Despite some pain along the way, things do have a way of working out.

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