The Pudding Diaries or Soft-Serve Recovery

Well, hello there! It’s been far too long and I have all kinds of pointless stuff I’m dying to talk about. Let’s hope this makes sense.

I had dental surgery three days ago. It was painful and just the beginning of a long road. Currently, I look like a shoe-in for landing a gig as either a soloist in a local jugband or a backup dancer for Deliverance! The Musical. I will not be sharing photos of my yanked teeth or any more details however. I recently had a Facebook friend who documented every gnarly moment of his foot surgery through a SERIES of videos which included wound management and bandage changes. Gross. I check Facebook to see who from high school turned out to be crazy or to see what old crackhead friends are up to, not to see the insides of someone’s foot. Suffice it to say, old teeth are gone and new ones are in the mail, metaphorically speaking of course.

In the meantime, I’ve leaned into this whole recovering thing. I’m catching up on my backlogged Hulu (The Voice! Revenge! House Hunters International!). I’m finally sleeping without intense tooth pain. And I’ve been enjoying my strict diet of soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and lots of pudding. The stars lined up for me to take several days off and I’m following directions. Well, for the most part.

I got a Vicodin prescription for the pain and I didn’t  use it. Not because I’m trying to be some sober bad ass but because I figured I’d try to handle with Ibuprofen first. So far that’s been working. The pain, they warned, would get worse the more I healed. And lordy they were right. I feel like someone punched me in the face while I was sleeping. But I’m going to make do until I feel compelled to do otherwise. The reality TV and lots of pudding prescription followed by an Advil chaser is working just fine. Besides, I’ve checked out more than once on Vicodin and used it recreationally more times than I can count. (I mean if you can remember how many times you’ve used prescription drugs recreationally, than clearly you’re doing it wrong.) So this feels the like easier, softer way for sure. My parents have been amazing. Bless their hearts. Being the parents of an HIV-positive person is challenging on a regular Tuesday let alone when there’s a medical emergency. Yeah they know I’ll be fine and that people don’t die from the condition I have but they’re still my parents and they worry. I’ve been calling and giving them updates and it seems to comfort them. And oddly enough it makes me feel better too. Our close relationship and love for one another is truly a gift of sobriety. I’m lucky beyond words.

Annoyingly, there is no dental magic wand that makes all the pain go away while giving me a supermodel smile in under 4 minutes (trust me. I asked.) So like recovery from drugs and alcohol, it’s all one day at a time. When talking to my mom, I said all of this was good because I wanted to handle my teeth before I turned 40. I just should have been more specific when I manifested that requested. Oops. The big thing is, I’m being gentle on myself and giving myself a break and enjoying the pudding diet while I can. It’ll be back to deadlines and brussel sprouts before I know it.

You Can’t Handle the Tooth

First things first, my blogging and overall online communication has taken a dump this week and I hate it.  I’ve  really missed the exchange with readers, bloggers and fellow whackadoodles.  And it’s all the fault of one very angry tooth.

My teeth, like the grills of so many ex-drunks and junkies, tell the story of neglect and abuse. They have needed attending to for years and have become painful over the last few months. The past ten days, however, have been unbearably painful. It is abundantly clear that I must once again face the proverbial music and get down with my bad self. When  my face was throbbing this morning as if a rhino had done double dutch on my jaw, I was thinking to myself, “This is good.” I then laughed because this is far from good. I’m in a shitload of pain, don’t have insurance, and know this process will eat up money and time I do not have. But this is good. I know from experience that pain always brings about necessary and positive changes in my life. It would be nice if I could have taken preventative measures and taken action before it got to this point but that is not how I roll. I have a thick head and like doing things the hard way so big-time oral surgery and a full mouth makeover is how this is most likely going to play out.  I’ve already put my sister, who has been sober for seven years, on notice that she’ll have to police my meds after I get my work done. I was never really a pill popper but when it comes to me and addictive substances never say never. The money, the insurance, the particulars are all things I let the my HP take care of.  He’s more qualified for that stuff anyway.

In the end, I’m grateful I am sober and for being in a position where I can face something”scary” like an angry tooth. In yesterhaze gone by, I would have just drank until the pain went away (which would have never happened) or I would have cooked up a hair-brained scheme to rid myself of the tooth. I shudder at the thought. Again, life is good today and angry teeth can easily become happy teeth if I stay in a solution.