The Last Thing

It has been seven months and two days since the deck collapsed, and we are all, for the most part, returned to normal. My dear mother-in-law Linda rarely complains about troubles with her hip and, to look at her, you’d never know she had to have it replaced. My neighbor K.C. had the staples removed from her head months ago, and her cracked vertebrae have healed just fine. Her husband Mark still wears a brace on his knee, and maybe he walks with the slightest limp (does he?), but he never complains about it.

Laura has healed beautifully. She had to have her spine fused, but her gait is as graceful as ever. She says she’s doing well, and it seems to be true. Carlo’s arm healed within weeks after it broke; Guiliana’s chipped tooth, being a baby tooth, will eventually fall out. Our neighbor’s deck has been replaced with a beautiful– and sturdy– new one, and they have some lovely new deck furniture, too.

Sometime in May a neurological exam cleared up any concerns about lasting brain damage (spare me the jokes, please), and the scars from my head injury suddenly disappeared one week in late June. My foot still complains from time to time. This week it seemed a little inordinately sore, and I wondered if it was from going barefoot on uneven sand all last weekend at the beach. But I’m taking walks and doing tae-bo and telling it, basically, to just quit its whining when, from time to time, it whines.

And today I got my chipped tooth fixed.

Somehow I had missed the tooth. I mean, regaining consciousness there under the grey sky with vision blurred and head and foot throbbing, I gave no thought whatsoever to my teeth. Even later, lying in the hospital, with all kinds of time on my hands, I failed to notice the chipped tooth. It wasn’t until days after the accident– like Wednesday– that I detected the problem.

We were waiting for the orthopedist, Bill and I, and I was sitting on the examining table with my foot up next to me, just sitting there, waiting. And I thought I felt something sticking to my tooth. I tried to rub it off with my thumb; I scraped at it with my fingernail; I said, “Hey, Bill, what’s on my tooth?” Bill looked and said that nothing was on my tooth but that, in fact, a small corner of my tooth was missing. Gone. Broken right off.

It makes me curious again about how I hit the ground that day, something I’ve not been able to remember. I mean, I must have landed on my foot and then… my head? The contusion and lump were plenty big enough. Did I also somehow bang my teeth together? And if so, then how is it that I only lost this one little part? this minute, insignificant corner? right in the front of my face? on– as were the other injuries– my left side?

Well, anyway, today I got it fixed. I went to the dentist and he bonded some plastic right on there, and you’d never know– unless you got up Really Close And Personal (and you Won’t– not that close) — that it was ever missing in the first place.

It took about an hour and some novocaine and now it’s All Done.

I am amazed, again, at medical and dental science, at the things they can fix, and set to rights, so that we can move on with our lives. I’m getting used to how this tooth feels, this same old tooth, newly repaired. And I am grateful for healing that, in its myriad intricate ways, makes us stronger than we were before.

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