In medieval times, cruel people invented a nasty form of torture known as thumbscrews, in which the victim’s fingers or toes were placed, and slowly crushed with the turning of screws.
Nowadays, we have a more sophisticated, though no less excruciating, parallel method: orthodontic braces.
And we pay to have it done to us!
Once every 4-7 weeks, I am reintroduced to this torture. I walk of my own volition up the steps of the old Post Office building, now the orthodontic office of Dr. Shok. I cheerfully greet the receptionist. I sign in on her state-of-the-art touch screen. And I sit down to wait. When my name is called, I rise, walk buoyantly after my torturer, and seat myself confidently in the dental chair she points out.
Minutes later, I leave. Some days I have experienced pain; some not. The real effect is delayed until two or three hours later, when my teeth start screaming.
Three hours later, it hurts to talk. It hurts to eat. It hurts to smile. It hurts to live. My face becomes a mask; my words become slurred. I pop Tylenol. I go to bed. Anything, anything, to baby the sore places and avoid the pain.
Within a day or two, normalcy seeps back into my life and I know that I’m glad I’m on this track. It’s almost over! But for those few days, I think the evil-hearted lords of the 1500’s had nothing on Dr. Shok.
This braces-torture has many facets, many complex parts, of which I shall name only a few. There are Wires: new wires, stronger wires, tighter wires, heat-responsive wires, wires with (and I quote) “unusual bends.” There are Elastics. There are Compression Chains. There are Drastic Measures: “Doggone it, this thing isn’t closing, let me push harder.”
Today they took things to a whole new level. They put in Buttons—looking like half a snap (the pointy half, but sharper) stuck to the insides of my teeth for a change, to hook bands on. And then some steely Hooks up top. I feel like I got tongue piercings I didn’t sign up for. And then I started eating…!! Oh Lord. Nothing like your unsuspecting tongue rolling against little needle points.
For the first time in my life, I said holy cow out loud, in public. It was that bad.
This calls for a 9:00 bedtime and a stiff dose of painkiller.
Even so come, Lord Jesus.