Holy Molar! (Part Two)

Life happens.

It being Sunday, I went for a run this morning. A Sunday run is not that unusual, you say … well, except for the fact that I’ve been barely conscious for the better part of a week and a half.

The nine klick run through the near-freezing suburban trail system was a mix of joyous relief and pounding pain.

Relief, because after ten days in a perscription-induced fog of pain and sleep and blurry half-aware hum, it was wonderful to be back out on the streets feeling the air and the asphalt and the buzz of adrenaline.

Pain, because my tooth felt every jolting footstep like an earthquake aftershock, and oh right we had one of those a few days ago, too. The teeth are unforgiving bellwethers of health and prosperity, it seems.

I try to keep things light and upbeat on this blog as much as I can, but given that a tooth infection that left me all but bedridden for more than a week also found me AWOL from writing the same, I figure I owe a small explanation.

I recall, but you may not that about six months ago I lost a filling.

I had it repaired, took some antibiotics, and went along my merry way.

Or so I thought.

The thing about lost fillings, tho, the thing that doesn’t get mentioned (or if it did didn’t get heard or understood because there was a lot of background noise, everyone was wearing pandemic masks, and my face had just undergone two hours of emergency dental work back in March) is that infections are a real possibility and a big ol’problem.

They creep up on you.

You are busy minding your own business, planning your running training schedule, looking forward to some new snow, and pushing through work hectics. Then the pain starts, at first as a mild headache, then later as a throbbing migraine-like mist over your brain, and then ultimately as electric shocks running up the side of your face that hurt like so much angry bacteria ravenously feeding on the nerves of your molar … until your wife needs to drive you to an emergency dental appointment in the middle of the morning where they do x-rays and give you stack of prescriptions an inch thick and send you along your way with a fresh appointment for an upcoming root canal.

I’ve been popping a cocktail of drugs to kill the infection, sooth the pain, and reduce the swelling, and it has left me tired and numb and so much disinterested in finding interesting things to write about here. So I didn’t. Sorry.

Did I mention that life happens?

Well, life happens.

And yet somehow I woke up this morning feeling almost … almost … back to normal, a few days prior to that root canal appointment later this week, and decided I could probably handle some time on the trails.

It turns out I was right.

I just wish sometimes these lessons came a little less painfully.


This morning I made a heart-aching drive to the veterinarian clinic to drop off a one-year-old puppy who, over the past almost-a-year has filled that same heart with joy … and for whom I’m returning the favour by having her reproductive organs surgically removed.

As per our agreement with the breeder, and in consultation with my friend-now-vet, the day finally arrived for this simple yet important procedure. We’re having her spayed.


It’s for her health. It’s for her happiness. It’s for her well-being.

I had thought the term was common, but my next door neighbour had never heard the term before and I had to spend a few minutes explaining it.

Any time a friend or family member (and a puppy is both, isn’t she?) goes under the knife it gives one pause for reflection and soul-aching empathy. My (very human) daughter has had minor surgery twice in her life and both times, even years later, are etched into my memory as if carved into steel with a diamond chisel.

The risks are, of course, the surgical process itself and the lingering feeling that I’m surgically altering my friend for what (at this exact moment) feels like a bit of a selfish, very human reason.

The benefits as I understand them are important: lowered risks of infections and cancers, and simply a life with fewer hormonal fluctuations. Plus, she can then safely attend daycare or local indoor dog parks and play with other dogs in a warm indoor space even as the winter rolls into a deep, immovable cold.

In the next few days we’ll be resting and recovering, chilling with lots of attention and careful pets … and maybe a few less belly rubs for a week or so.