Friday, January 16, 2009

Deep freeze

This has been one of those weeks in which I work hard, accomplish little due to factors beyond my control, and do not experience the human warmth that even a small amount of appreciation would provide.

To make life even colder, the temperature this morning was -17 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the actual temperature without wind chill factored in. That said, a little winter chill like that doesn't faze me nearly as much as the lack of acknowledgment of the value that I struggle to remember I have.

To top it off, once again I experienced PMS-like symptoms that caused a lot of physical and emotional discomfort. Since the UFE, I've had no recognizable periods, although there have been occasional signs. This week one seemed to try to get started, but went nowhere. I feel all of the misery and none of the relief.

Thanks to a cancellation, I got in two weeks early at the dentist's, where I learned that, unbeknownst to me, I've had pockets and gum recession for a while. The former haven't been a topic of discussion because they're stabilized, while I'm told (but am not convinced) the latter is the result of the teeth clenching I did before I started to wear a night guard. Although I can't say for sure, I suspect all these problems are attributable to midlife orthodontia, which fixed my bite so that my teeth meet, and I am now able to clench effectively. To give you an idea of how forcefully I bite down involuntarily, I've bitten through the night guard and broke off a piece of enamel. (Imagine waking up to a gritty sensation between your molars and slowly realizing that it's part of one of them.) The dentist and hygienist suggested I take a tropical vacation and work on reducing my stress level. Unfortunately, I'm not in a financial position to make either bit of well-intentioned advice happen, so I am stuck with my cracked bed partner and its future replacements for life.

Speaking of bed, this morning I was in so little pain and was so comfortable that I had a difficult time getting out of mine. Earlier in the wee hours I had had a dream that has come to me before, in one form or another. I am within an area crisscrossed by train tracks, with trains constantly coming from different directions so that I am afraid to move for fear of being hit. Despite the terrifying aspect of the scenario, there was something pleasant or interesting about it that made me reluctant to leave the dream behind.

When I finally woke up a little after 6 o'clock, to the temperature reading of -17 degrees Fahrenheit mentioned earlier, I looked out the window. Below, a figure strode in a determined way toward the lakefront—without a dog, the only reason other than work or an immediate need for a commodity that would get me out the door so early on such a morning. Perhaps he was like me one Saturday morning in college, when I walked over to campus and back and noted that it had seemed a little colder than usual. I found out only later that the wind chill had been a negative number so low that even now I am not sure I believe it.

I no longer have that marvelous and sometimes useful sense of obliviousness to the world around me.

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