Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's that smell I'm hearing?

We were having our usual Tuesday morning coffee the other day when not-his-real-name Walter said to me: “Do you ever feel like just chucking it all? Like saying, enough is enough already?” My “Yes” came so quickly, had it been a physical object, it would surely have taken an eye out.

He doesn't like his not-his-real-name, by the way. Walter. He doesn't seem to have anything against the name, per se. I think he might just have wanted something with a little more flash, or elan.

I considered changing it, although he never made a formal name-change request. I don't remember what other names came up, but I'm sure they were in the Steel, Storm, Sherlock, Igor, Fabio vein, which, let's face it, in the wrong hands can sound... well... just plain wrong. But here's the thing, brothers and sisters, I liked using Walter. He doesn't look like a Walter, what ever that might mean but he certainly doesn't look like a Steel either. And, I don't have any Walters who at one time or another have been close to me whom I would want to remember by using their name. Nah. I just like the sound of it. Walter. Nice.

Back to his question, though, and why I was so willing to answer in the affirmative so quickly. First off, I don't really know what he meant. Chucking what? Enough is enough of what, already? To me it certainly didn't mean throwing off this mortal coil, or any variation thereof.

I think my response was simply saying that I didn't really want anything else to go wrong for/to me, especially of a physical nature.

Oh, I haven't had the chance to tell you, have I? While I was trying to deal with the pain in my ribs caused by my recent swan dive into the lawn, I broke a tooth. Not in the same fall, but just... just because, I guess.

Yeah. Breaka bone, breaka tooth. And I had no heartwarming little tale, no amusing anecdote to go with this one. Most of my damaged-teeth stories are filled with, at the very least, discomfort and sorrow. As my Kilbirnie granny always used to say, “They hurrrrt when they come in and they hurrrrt when they go oot.”

It was the fact of the broken tooth which prompted not-his-real-name Walter's inquiry. I guess my “Yes,” was every bit as much a “Why me?” as anything else. “Why now?” “How come?” “Are you kidding me with this?” All the most popular imponderables, with a “Gimme a break” thrown in just so I can say “Hehe. Get it?”

And, because of my multiple myeloma, there was a twist. How could there not be? As part of the treatment for my cancer, I'm given monthly doses of Zometa (zoledronic acid), which inhibits the release of calcium from bones. In the case of my cancer, it can help heal some of the damage done to my bones by the multiple myeloma. In terms of my broken tooth, it can take longer for the “hole” to heal. You know the hole, right? The one your dentist tells you not to stick your tongue in thereby assuring that you'll be putting that puppy in there like you were practicing a certain kind of kissing. (Can I write that in a family newspaper?)

Off to the dentist we go, who sends us to the oral surgeon, who plans to remove the tooth in mini-sections. He thinks it should be easy, but there is always the chance that one of the offending roots could go through into my sinus cavity, which I'm guessing is bad. I hear you say that I could have simply asked the oral surgeon for details. He was very good, by the way, and very professional. And, I did ask him, so there. Of course, in a classic you-bring-this-on-yourself moments, I don't think I asked real good: “Does the root in my sinus cavity mean I could end up smelling through my ears for the rest of my life?” Hey, it seemed like a valid question to me. The doctor just smiled and moved on. I think he wanted to pat me on the head, but, as I said, he was very professional.

I'm a person who believes that God doesn't give you more than you can handle at any given time. In the course of my illness and its accompanying bits and pieces, I have had occasion to wonder about that, more than once. But, I have always remained steadfast. I think the trick is to always look around at others and consider what they have to deal with.

For me a short list would include my friend Peters (not his real name, but it doesn't matter because it was his professional name and now may actually be his real name) who has been color blind as long as I've known him, who now has eye issues which he describes a feeling like he sees everything through a smear of Vaseline.; a friend who has had ten back surgeries; not-his-real-name Walter's wicked smaht wife who has some sort of fusion going on in her neck, and anyone with ALS.

Besides, what could be a better way to stop thinking about how bad your ribs hurt than thinking about how bad your face is going to hurt after oral surgery? You can't think of anything, can you? Enough said.

Anyway, like so many other things, the surgery itself was virtually painless. I had the chance of being sedated, but opted for Novocain instead. I didn't want to miss anything I could have used as column material. In about 15 minutes, or so, the work was done. And afterward... no pain to speak of and no need for even an aspirin. Yeah, baby.

I could now return my attention to the constant pain in my ribs, and with a new hole in my jawline to be putting my tongue in, despite being told not to. What can I tell you? I'm a rebel.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere