Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I am thankful because...

I went to see my friend Rose to get a new pair of Massachusetts Academy of Ballet sweatpants. The sweatpants say M.A.B., short for the school that she and her husband, Charles, own.

While we sat on her porch and talked, she mentioned a suggestion she saw in a magazine: Every day, write down five things that make you thankful. We all know about the benefits of counting your blessings every day, and it's something that I try to do (except when I feel really really crummy), but for the idea of writing them down grabbed my attention. I suggested we exchange our lists.

When you need to write these blessings down, you spend some time thinking about them, which takes over from time spent ruminating or worrying. Here's mine from yesterday:

1. Fresh local peaches
2: Dancing with the sprinkler, accompanied by a butterfly
(Trying to position the sprinkler without getting totally soaked)
3: Joe getting me a piece of pizza with mozzarella, basil and tomato
4: Katie sounding happy at Brandeis
5: The fact that I will see Ben next week...and
6. Yesterday's lunch by her pond with Rose!

Today's list started well:

1. Having enough hair to get a hair cut yesterday.
(I've done this many times before, but it still gives me a kick.)
2. Walking to the coffee shop in the Mount Holyoke library and getting a free cappuccino and blueberry scone based on my collection of receipts showing how much I spent this summer, then sitting outside at a table and sharing pieces of the scone with Maddie.
3. we will take a slight detour and come back to #3, which will have the "Thankful for" part as an antidote to the "I'm upset about" preface.

Today, the dentist made me cry. Through no fault of my own, I hadn't gone since 2007, when I relapsed. My platelets were never high enough to go to the dentist; at 90, they're still low, but they're at a safe level for getting a cleaning and checkup. (One time in the hospital when my platelets were plunging, I flossed my teeth and was a bloody mess.)

The hygenist took some x-rays midway and then finished cleaning my teeth. She said I didn't look bad. Still, she said, I needed to make an appointment with the dentist to formulate a treatment plan. Huh? I bumped into him on my way out. We've always had a good rapport, often laughing and discussing politics while he works on my teeth.

Today he was somber. "It's not your fault, but you need a lot of work," he said. He told me it was probably from the chemo. And then there was the length of time between appointments.

"I thought there were just a few cavities," I said. He answered that there were more than a few. Plus I probably need a couple of root canals, and I might lose some teeth. We had this conversation while I made my next appointment for Friday to get started on the cavities.

"You're making me upset!" I said. I thought he might lighten up a little and throw me a few words of encouragement, but he wasn't going to sugar-coat it, so to speak. He just shook his head, said "See you Friday," and strode off.

One root canal costs about $950, the receptionist said. My insurance has a $500 cap for dental.

Like on top of everything else, I need to spend thousands of dollars on dental work and have multiple root canals and maybe lose some teeth. I like my teeth.

I drove home, went into the air-conditioned den where Joe was (it's been in the upper 90s and even hit 101 yesterday), and cried. Maybe I overreacted, but this comes at a time when I'm dealing with Katie having gone to school last Sunday and Joe leaving tomorrow.

So back to the list, number 3, 4 and 5 read something like this. I am thankful because:
3. Despite having gotten bad news from the frowning dentist, I'm still alive and otherwise doing well.
4. If I go broke, I can always live in my sister's basement (ha ha).
5. I have a son who listens to me cry and calms me down, then eats leftover Chinese food with me and makes me laugh.

I talked to Katie later and told her about my teeth.

She sympathized and then said,

"They fixed your blood. They can fix your teeth."

To quote my father, the late great Al Gordon, for the umpteenth time,

Good clear thinking.

1 comment:

Susan C said...

I'm thankful that you have a son who can make you laugh when you're feeling down.

Commiserating with you on the dental work and accompanying bills.