Until it’s gone…

3 Dec

Health.   It’s something we take for granted.

As I’m aging, I’m learning that each day is a new day, a new AND, often unexpected, journey towards “the end”.

Of course, I’m not THINKING about the end of anything when the unexpected limp, painful tooth, or weird headache happens.   Usually, I’m not thinking much about these experiences at all…they come, they go.

But, living here in The Villages, where you see the elderly everywhere you go…I guess I do understand now why many people who, upon hearing that I live here, often say, “but it’s just a bunch of OLD people.”

I’ve written before that many of these “OLD” people are so full of life that it’s inspiring.   I’ve written about the “never say die” attitude I’ve witnessed.  I made living in The Villages my goal, and I achieved that goal.   And, oh the things I’m learning…

I have a lot of friends in The Villages.   Some are crippled with arthritis, some have had knee replacements, one a hip replacement.   Heart bypass operations, cancer survivors, people who have lost children they fully expected to outlive.

Most of my friends do not lament about any of these aforementioned experiences…they seem to have learned that it’s just LIFE.   You experience it and you move forward.   It seems that dwelling on anything, less than positive, has been found to be a complete waste of time…on the surface.

When it’s cold outside, like it’s been the past couple of days…when living indoors becomes the norm…the resulting time to think, and reflect, offers the opportunity to focus on the inner self…and the cold also brings with it aches and pains that have been hidden away during the warmth of summer.

In the past week, I’ve experienced an aching right jaw…on a scale of 1-10, it’s often been a 32.   Excruciating pain.  Gone just as quickly as it arrived…leaving me to wonder, “what the heck happened?”     A bout of pressure in my ears, from out of nowhere while shopping at WalMart, so intense that I actually asked 2 different people if they were also experiencing the same sensation.   Nope, just me.   The pressure dissipated just as unexpectedly as the jaw pain.  Strange.

I watch TV and I notice that my teeth feel like they are compressing on top of each other…the pressure so strong that it feels as if my teeth could start popping out of the sockets.   But, no popping.   Just aching teeth, sometimes the lower right jaw, sometimes the upper left…what is going on?

I’ve had what I think is TMJ on the left side of my face since LAST Thanksgiving…my jaw dislocated while I was eating Thanksgiving dinner with my family.   My sister was sitting across the table from me when it happened, she saw the perplexed expression on my face as I gingerly tried to grasp what was happening.  I was able to complete the chewing process and the jaw returned to it’s location, but I’ve experienced pain in the region for the entire year.

On top of the, off the chart, pain scale of the right side of my jaw earlier this week, now the ongoing painful left side of my jaw is given me concern because, even when I’m sitting still, not doing anything, it feels as if my jaw is trying to escape it’s socket.   And, yes, it has popped out as recent as today.

So…I sit watching the TV and not really paying attention.  My mind is focused on “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?” to my head.    Followed by, what could be causing these incidents?    And, if I let my chatter left unrestricted, it just gets worse from there.

I started reading, “One Minute for Myself” by Spencer Johnson, this week…one of the things the book suggests is that IN THE MOMENT, whatever moment, you stop and ask yourself, “How can I take good care of myself in this moment?”

So, I’m stopping the sinking into depression, during this freezing cold spell in “sunny” Florida, to write down my thoughts.    I started this post on the subject of,  “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” …with the “it” being good health…and, I’m closing this post with thoughts of gratitude for the summer of NOT hurting and for the gratitude of a WARM place to live, with a TV and a kitchen where I can open any can of food that’s in the pantry and heat it up.

My Villager friends have shown me that, in the midst of failing body parts, of loss, and of sorrow, there is always, ALWAYS, tomorrow that is left to live.   It can be lived joyfully, IN SPITE OF ________, or it can be a curse.

CHOICE.

It’s a choice.

It’s my choice.

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