My wife had an enormous hole jack-hammered into her jaw yesterday. Her dentist implanted a post, on which a crown will later be placed. The procedure’s a bit pricey, but compared to what she’s worth, the cost is 1 divided by infinity.

The dentist numbed the area with a bucket-full of Lidocaine. My wife is one of the happy few whose mouth resists anesthetic. So by the time she was ready for the procedure, she was deadened from her esophagus to the back of her skull. Then they opened her jaw like she was an anaconda and worked on her with the world’s tiniest hammer-drill. For the final step they jammed a shiny silver post into the hole. It reminded me of the spike driven at the meeting of the transcontinental railroad.

The nurse brought her to me in a wheelchair. She needed it. The dentist had wanted to protect my wife from anxiety, so he’d prescribed Ativan for her to take before the procedure. One of my friends took this drug for anxiety a while back. The dentist gave my wife eight times as much as that fellow took, so she was unable to walk. However, she was able to stumble from the wheelchair into the passenger seat of our car. On the drive home she chatted with Buddha and the Tooth Fairy about what a bitch Glenda the Good really is.

We arrived home. As I guided my sweetie into the house she mumbled about needing to clean the litter boxes and wash clothes, as soon as she sits down for a few minutes. I told her it’s all taken care of, and that she’ll probably sleep the rest of the day. She then drifted into the kitchen, where she sagged against various kitchen counters and prepared her ibuprofen, her antibiotics, some tea, and other necessities, while I hovered, trying to aim her at a chair and making sure she didn’t put rat poison in her tea.

At last she sat enfolded in her favorite recliner, which we call “The Womb.” She had a small table beside her holding tea, water, ibuprofen, and an icepack. On the other side sat tissues, two TV remote controls, and an iPad. Two cats drowsed across her legs and tummy. I crept off to let her sleep. She called me back, wanting to know how long she should leave on the icepack, how long she should leave it off before putting it on again, and what time she could stop using the thing altogether. I answered her questions and resumed my creeping.

Over the next few hours, when I checked she was sometimes asleep and sometimes not. The TV played programs occasionally interesting enough for her to look at. I brought her some yogurt, which was good exercise since she had to repel a cat attempting to seize it. Evening found her vertical and in the kitchen, stable on her feet, and talking about food.

“I don’t know why I’m so tired,” she said with perfect sincerity.

“You went through a lot today. And you had a lot of Ativan.”

As she selected a tomato she did not reply, and she gave no sign that she accepted my hypothesis.

I tried again. “It’ll probably take a little while to recover. They carved a big hole in your head.”

She didn’t look up from slicing her tomato. “When I had my tooth pulled I didn’t feel like this.”

“Well, this was a different procedure. This was probably harder on you.”

She didn’t respond.

I considered reiterating that she’d swallowed enough Ativan to kill a pony. But I realized that my arguments meant nothing stacked against her determination to press on and function, even if wild dogs were chewing off her leg. She’s a rock. You can drill a big hole in a rock, and it just keeps rolling.

So, instead I kissed her head on the side away from the new hole. “I imagine you’ll feel better soon.”

She flipped me a smile that was a bit pained on the left side. “Thanks for doing the kitty litter.”

1 thought on “My Wife’s Middle Name Is Igneous

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