Thoughts on a Toothache

Ren & Stimpy's Gross Toothache episode
Ren & Stimpy’s Gross Toothache episode

How is your week going? Good, I hope. Have you ever had a toothache? I never did…until three days ago.

“What? Do I have a toothache?” Of course, I had to  poke at the offending tooth, which made it ache even more. Being a do-it-yourselfer, I thought, “You know that tooth is really achy and I think its a bit wobbly. I bet I could pull it out.”

I know, I know! But I was thinking how I used to  pull out my baby teeth. This is one of those not infrequent times when I REALLY question the IQ tests which say I’m pretty smart. Smart people know that trying to pull it would only make it much worse.

I thought of a good friend, Dr. Moody, who had gone to Haiti on a Christian medical mission. For ten days, he pulled the teeth of dirt-poor Haitians who lay on a wooden bench (un-numbed) for the procedure. He kind of got teary-eyed when he talked about it.

What did people do in the old days? Didn’t George Washington have all his teeth pulled? How did they do that? By last night, I started to suspect a person could die from a messed-up tooth, and by 2:00 AM dying didn’t seem all that bad compared to the toothache.

As soon as my grown kids found out, they took the whole business in hand and got me to a dentist.

But while I was moping around thinking about all the people throughout history who had also had toothaches, I once again felt grateful to be living now and not then, and in America and not Haiti. And once again I wished all people everywhere could have at least basic medical care.

I asked the dentist how people removed teeth in the old days. “Whiskey,” he said, “Lots and lots of whiskey.”



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