Got my wisdom teeth out last week. That brings the total number of teeth extracted from my mouth to a whopping eight. I opened wide today in front of the mirror and tried to imagine another eight teeth in there. Looks pretty crowded as it is.
I had four removed when I got my braces, and a few years after that lost one of the upper wisdom’s to an infection. Last week the final three fell to the whims of a biological dentist who insisted they were just going to give me trouble.
Isn’t it amazing how we humans can remove all sorts of parts and still manage life just fine? I guess there are some parts, like your liver that are pretty important. Lose your liver, lose your life. But rupture your spleen in an accident and they just take that puppy out and the next week you’re truckin’ along, with nary a care in the world.
Then there’s the appendix. That one is so common, its hard to find people who haven’t had it out. Both my brothers have. The younger of the two, who is a little hard-core anyway, did a twenty-eight mile hike like three days after his surgery. Course he’s also the one who just got through climbing Mt. McKinley for the third time, at the advanced age of fifty-eight. Some people.
I lost my uterus when I was still in my thirties. With the exception of my darling daughter, that sucker had given me nothing but trouble. Can’t say I miss it. The ovaries went with it. I did miss them, when I had to start slapping an Estrogen patch on my back twice a week to avoid menopause at thirty-six. The upside to that whole event was how much better Grant and Lisa said they liked me after the surgery. I was apparently a “much nicer person.” Its pretty hard to work up raging hormones with nothing more than an Estrogen patch.
All this makes me wonder why we even have these parts if we can do without them. If my extra teeth are “just going to cause problems,” why did God design me that way? And if the gall bladder is completely disposable, what’s it doing there in the first place? I drive myself crazy with these kinds of questions.
Since I’m on a roll, I guess we should address the concept of adding parts or replacing parts. Its rare nowadays to find anyone over the age of seventy who’s not sporting at least one titanium joint. The procedure is practically a day surgery now. People bring it up casually in conversation, as if it’s no bigger deal than getting the oil changed in their car– “I’m getting my knee done next week.”
Even Tucker has a plate and six screws in his pelvis. We figured out today that even in terms of dog years, he hasn’t yet made it out of his teens. I keep waiting for him to ring the buzzer on the airport security scanner, but the microscopically tiny amount of metal in his hip must not be enough to build a weapon or a bomb big enough to take down an airplane. The traveling public is safe from Tucker, at least for the time being.
And while people like me are taking teeth out, others are getting new ones put back in. I watched my poor Mom suffer with a bridge and a partial plate for years. These days, they’d just make her a new tooth and screw it directly into the bone.
Have you seen the latest in hair replacement? Not only do they have all sorts of drugs and creams to make the hair grow, they are implanting “plugs” of hair from other parts of the body, into the skin on the scalp. It looks a little like “Barbie scalp,” but hey, I guess it beats a comb-over or a sunburned pate.
Hopefully I’m done with my teeth. I’m pretty happy with the ones that are left. The dentist and the oral surgeon are not griping about any of them. The troublemakers are gone and don’t need to be replaced. I’m going to do my best to keep what parts I have left. I’m pretty attached to them.