Career Calling

December 11, 2011

Sabbath, December 11, 2011

Filed under: Sabbath — claycerny @ 8:12 pm
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[“Sabbath” is this blog’s Sunday feature on work and life.]

Things We Take for Granted

A few weeks ago I had a wisdom tooth extracted.  No big deal.  Then I developed an abscess and went on antibiotics.  The swelling went down, and it seemed like my path to recovery was clear.  Not so fast.  About a week ago, my jaw swelled and it started to hurt.  My dentist did some x-rays and discovered something he did not expect.  My jaw was fractured.  The solution?  My mouth is wired shut for the next 3-4 weeks.

The procedure took place four days ago.  Over this time, I’ve discovered that there are many things we do without thinking about them.  One big annoyance for me has been reading the paper without being able to lick my fingers to separate pages.  When I mix a drink for my fine liquid diet, I instinctively go to lick the spoon.  Can’t do it.  I also find myself reaching for snacks at home and at the store.  None of these “problems” are important, but they’ve helped me realize I do many things without thinking. 

Eating and speaking have been the biggest challenges.  After the first couple of days, I’m adapting to both.  Eating is simple.  My diet has to be liquid.  That doesn’t mean it has to bad.  I’m blending soups and shakes, trying to use this incident as a way to cook differently.  Eating less meat might be a big part of a new diet after the wire is removed.  Over the last four days I‘ve felt more energetic.  I’ll never become a vegetarian, but this procedure could help me change the way I eat.

 I’m also learning to speak more clearly and for prolonged periods of time.  On the day my mouth was wired, I had trouble getting out a few words.  Yesterday, I met with clients and had fairly decent conversations.  Sometimes I still can’t get a word out or have to take a quick drink of water to lubricate my tongue.  That said, things could be a lot worse.

This event has caused me to think about friends and acquaintances who are dealing with things much more difficult than this.  Imagine what it is like to go through life without sight or hearing.  People do it every day.  I had a client recently who was raised by two deaf parents.  While his hearing is perfect, he also understands the world of those who can’t hear.  He is fluent in sign language and has worked in jobs related to that skill.  His parents’ disability has become his strength.  At the same time, he respects his parents who have built careers and a home despite their inability to hear.  He describes them in one word: strong.

His story and my current situation have really made me think about taking things for granted.  Simple pleasures like eating or talking to friends can be lost.  Luckily for me, my condition is temporary.  Others have to adapt.  It isn’t easy, but it’s life.  It’s all we have.

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