mindfulness perspective positivity

When Pain Knocked Me Out, and I Woke Up to Some Harsh Truths

Ever been in gut-wrenching pain, that made your face all crinkly?

Ever tried to move your body parts, and have it refuse to listen, like a broken toy?

Ever gave your full energy to conduct a simple everyday habit, and failed miserably?

No? Lucky, lucky, you! And pray till kingdom comes, that you never know what that feels like.

Yes? Aah fellow sufferer, nice to meet you! See if you agree with my Full Full message at the bottom.

For me, the story started quite simply. With a lot of confidence. As you may already realize, it didn’t end with as much of it 😉

I had to get a wisdom tooth extracted. Alex tried to prepare me a bit for the surgery, mentioning that people he knew had swollen cheeks for a few days.

Now that didn’t sound too bad, right? So my cheeks will be swollen, big deal. I had had dental work done before, and knew the feeling of anaesthesia. So I would lisp for sometime, and heal in a day or two.

So quite nonchalantly, and may I add very chirpily, I went to the oral surgeon.

As he and the nurse rattled off the usual, cautious, prep messages, warning me about the pain, the swelling, and the bleeding, it finally dawned on me. This surgery may be unlike something I had ever faced before!

“Ready?”, he asked.

“Noooooooo!”, screamed my head.

“Yes”, said my smiling face.

By the time the surgery started, I was shaking like a leaf, especially when I could hear the doc drilling away at my tooth, trying to break it down into pieces.

As soon as I was out of there, I gobbled down some painkillers, and since I didn’t have much pain yet, I told myself I would be fine.

That evening Alex got some ice cream, and feeling lucky at the prospect of indulging with a justified excuse (hey, I could only have liquids and semi-solids, ok!), I polished off half a tub and called it a day.

But the next few days?

Boy oh boy! Pain was an understatement.

My cheek and neck were so swollen I looked like I had a double chin. On one side of my neck only!!

I couldn’t open my mouth more than 2 mm. Turns out, I had an infection and then something called trismus, where your jaw kind of locks up, and while trying to move it, the pain was so blinding I was sure I would pass out.

So I could only sip and slurp stuff. I think I am turned off smoothies for life, and if I have to take one more spoonful of ice cream, I will punch someone.

I knew for the first time how it felt to wake up at night because of physical pain. Simply because I couldn’t swallow.

Once I sat and stared at a piece of bread for an hour, willing it to somehow modify form and become 1mm in size, so I could shove it into the gap between my jaws I was calling a mouth.

I wanted to have a bite of some simple chicken and mashed potatoes. That’s the picture above. I had to cut them in pieces too small for a toddler, so I could, over 5 minutes manage to insert into my mouth, chew, and swallow. That bit of food took me an hour to finish.

In one week, I had probably only eaten only as much as I would do in 2 days.

So what’s the point of all this? Is this a complaint? Where is the Full Full anyway?

My biggest realisation through this experience was that I was still lacking something I thought I had mastered. Gratitude.

Yes I am grateful for a good life, lots of love and friendship, all the abundance in the world. And generally, for good health.

But I never gave much thought to some simple things I am able to do everyday.

Eat. Brush my teeth. Rinse. Floss. Move my mouth. Speak. Swallow.

Come on, you can’t tell me that you give any thought to it as well. What about being able to perform your toilet functions? Being able to take a shower? A walk? Ever felt blessed that you could do all of it?

We only understand the value of something when we don’t have it. When we do, we take it so much for granted, it’s ridiculous.

I took the picture above so that I never ever forget what I went through for over 10 days. How the pain and the helplessness reduced me to a baby, tears and all. It may not be the most attractive picture, I know, but this is a stark reminder of some times I never want to forget.

Of course some good things happened too. As I said, I lost some weight (never mind the fact that after getting all my bodily functions back, I celebrated with enough food and alcohol to more than compensate for the initial loss, ahem!).

I was taken care of and spoilt rotten by my loving husband. Talk about being a lucky girl!

My wisdom tooth had been giving me some occasional pain, and now it’s gone forever, even if it had a hell of a way to say goodbye 😉

I couldn’t avoid a wisdom tooth extraction, happens to a lot of people. But there are so many things we take for granted about our bodies, and not pay attention to the torture we make it go through sometimes. And that torture can at any time, cause us a ton of pain and suffering. But you know what, by the time we realize it, it may be too late.

I had so much pain because I had an infection as well, and in the spirit of being confessional, let me admit, I don’t always floss. Hell, who does? Who listens to the doc all the time?

And after all that pain, guess what? Now I try to do it. I try to take care of my teeth as much as possible, so even cavities can be avoided. I was lucky enough to recover eventually, but if I don’t feel grateful about my healthy body, and take care of it, one day, who knows, it can just give up on me.

This realization was a wake-up call I guess I needed. So I am grateful to those 2 weeks of pain as well, for making me fall more in love with my body, for being so good to me.

My FF thought of the day:

Not everyone has a healthy body like you may have today.

And are you treating that healthy body like crap? Stop it. Feeding it junk and not moving it much? Stop it. Inhaling smoke for pleasure? Please, pretty please, stop.

Or are you hating it, criticizing it, and being ashamed about it because it’s not as perfect as the world says it should be? Just spare a second to realize how lucky you are to have the health. Think of the millions who don’t, who have to make innumerable visits to the hospital to be treated, or who spend their days stuck in a hospital bed, desperately wishing to just be able to walk again. Guess we can safely assume they care less about how their body looks, and would give a fortune for it to just function normally again.

They say your body is a temple, so you need to worship it.

I think it’s more like a loved one. Imagine if you love someone and if that person leaves you or refuses to be in your life. Now that’s a pain and loss many of us know about.

So just like you shouldn’t take your loved ones for granted, just like you should love them everyday, love your body, nourish it well, cherish it, be grateful for it. And it will return the love. Be #PowerfullyYOU.

*FF = Full Full. The glass is not half full, it’s always full full: 1/2 with water, 1/2 with air, even though you can’t see the air. In short, there is always something good in everything.

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