Ruminating on rumination

I had all four wisdom teeth taken out last Tuesday. The recovery period is longer than I would have hoped or even imagined.

One thing I am really fighting against is my inclination towards self-diagnosing. I am a hypochondriac, self-diagnosed (LOL). Usually when I get sick, it’s symptoms I’ve had before so I know what to expect, even if I’m wrong about the timeline or progression.

But I have never had a tooth taken out before. So to have all four wisdom teeth out, I don’t know what to expect.

The other day, I thought I saw puss on the lower extraction site and got worried that it may be an abscess. I even called my oral surgeon over the weekend to assuage my fears. Dr. Google is not reassuring. After about 5 hours, she called me back. By then, I realized that the white stuff was not puss, but in fact a suture (sutures? I don’t know. I have a graduate degree in Religion). I was able to pull it out and figured that that neat little knot could not be puss. But I don’t know; I only took 9th grade Bio.

When I started feeling a dull pain in my ear, I was worried that it may be a dry socket. But by then, I had resolved to not obsess over what the different dental websites were saying. I can say that I have not Googled my latest round of issues for at least two days. But I have to actively resist that urge. I don’t know why I we do this to ourselves, this incessant worry that we know deep-down does no good.

Worrying in general is such a waste of time, for one. But it also has physical manifestations as well. You don’t get any answers. You just make yourself and the people around you miserable. I know this. I am able to write this now only because I took some Ibuprofen a few hours ago.

Sleeping for the past couple of days has been difficult to say the least, as well. I’ve written about my insomnia before. I’ve never had trouble falling asleep at night; the problem has been waking up – sometimes unwillingly and other times willingly (for fajr) – but not being able to go back to sleep. For the last two nights however, I haven’t been able to sleep until 2 AM, that too with my soccer-mom medication flowing through my bloodstream.

I’m slightly worried that I may be becoming immune to the pain meds and then… NO! Rafia, you are not going to Google this!

Recovery can take about a week, according to the sheet my actual doctor gave me. Due to my “advanced age,” recovery might be a bit slower than what I was assured by colleagues before the extraction. But that’s okay.

I wish I could say I fully absorbed my current lesson on bearing things with patience, but I am a work in progress. Aren’t we all? I just have to take it day by day, not trying to assess myself based on what others may have experienced. I am slowly eating more solid foods, so that’s good. Although, I’m not going to lie, I feel like a baby eating my applesauce. I’ve used applesauce to sweeten my oatmeal for almost a decade, but I have never eaten applesauce for its own sake. It’s not that bad, but it’s not filling.

And that’s another thing. This whole recovery process has forced me to let go of my weight obsession, or at least keep it in check, especially during a time when I obsess over it even more than usual. Even though I no longer literally count calories, I do keep them in mind on the weekdays (all bets are off on the weekends though). But because I needed to have a high protein and high fat diet to help with recovery, when we went to Costco yesterday, I ended up actually putting things in the cart, instead of mulling over the ingredients like I usually do and then ultimately put them back on the shelf. Halal? Check. Soft enough for me to eat? Check. It’s going in!

I will probably go up a few pounds. I am not looking forward to seeing my primary care physician tomorrow. Not just because she’s already “fat-shamed” me before, but because I know I am going to see a weight that I wish were lower. I wish I had come farther than this by now. Didn’t I resolve back in 2017 that I wasn’t going to focus on my weight? Well, I ain’t gonna solve it in a blog post. I’m realizing that this will be a lifetime struggle for me.

But right now, what’s more important than any number is getting better so that I can actually eat foods I want to eat. It’s a funny cycle, no? I’m miserable because I can’t eat the stuff I love. But I am miserable also when I do eat the stuff I love (well, after anyway, because let’s face it, I can eat more than the average woman and often do).

I do want to end this post on a positive note though: My appreciation for cows has only increased. Did you know that cows rarely have issues with wisdom teeth? It’s because they’re always chewing! Because the modern diet is saturated with soft, processed foods that are designed to keep us stuffing and slurping, human beings don’t really chew their food like they used to. Perhaps I can blame my early eating habits for this wisdom tooth crisis. But I have a newfound gratitude for teeth and the importance of chewing. Whether I will stop inhaling my food after I am all back to “normal,” only time will tell. But my love for cows has grown, so that’s something!

“Yeah, I eat with my mouth open. Whatcha gonna do about it? I chew better than all y’all humans.” Photo Credit: John Haslam

Also, I get to write a post with this awesome title: ~*Ruminating on rumination*~.

If ever I decide to get a new blog name – it’s not a matter of if, actually, but when – The Ruminant will be it. It’s PERFECT for a pseudo-philosophical bovinophile such as myself.

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