Monday, May 11, 2009

Gum Surgery Extracts New Frugal Lessons From My Head

Oral surgery has left stitches in my mouth and a new frugal pattern on my brain. I've learned to be more frugal with time, money and words. This is what I have learned:

  • Talk less/work more: How much work can I get done when it hurts to talk and smile? A lot! Oral surgery deposited more time in to my work day. I'm sure that the folks in the offices and cubicles around me also worked harder because my constant chatter was MIA.
  • Have empathy (Part I): I used to smile when people complained about "oral surgery." Oh please, I wanted to argue, it's just another trip to the dentist. I now know the difference between oral surgery and a routine trip to the dentist. It's like the difference between having a baby and getting a pap smear exam. Both are uncomfortable, but one involves a lot more pain and labor.
  • Plan ahead: Why didn't I eat a huge dinner the night before my oral adventure? Why didn't I have a proper breakfast and coffee before taking on six shots of Novocaine, one ice pack and several stitches? I have to do a better job of planning. On a positive note, fasting has given me a head start on my goal of losing five pounds.
  • Be creative: With limited oral skills, I became creative about communicating and working. I learned to say a lot by nodding my head, lifting my eyebrows and shrugging my shoulders. I found other step-saving solutions.
  • Take a break: Immediately after surgery, I went to the office. I wasn't looking for sympathy. I wasn't trying to make nice with my boss. I'm not masochistic. I was a) clueless about how yucky I would feel when the painkillers first wore off and b) too stubborn to admit that I had made a mistake by coming in to work.
  • Rediscover thrift: I saved a lot of money because looking at food made my mouth buzz as if an angry hive of bees had landed on my gums. Therefore, I avoided most of the food, snacks, drinks, candy or other junk I am tempted to buy. And I was in no mood for recreational shopping.
  • Appreciate treats: I love salads, but after surgery, my menu was limited to yogurt, broth and smoothies. Therefore, I learned to appreciate all of the yummy, crunchy, chewy food that I had taken for granted.
  • Have empathy Part II. A friend of mine recently had major surgery, with a three-day hospital stay, blue gown and flowers. If gum surgery left me feeling sluggish and full of aches, I can imagine how she must have felt after open surgery. In fact, I feel like a brat as I review this list of complaints. It was just a bit of dental work to prepare my mouth for a new crown on an old molar.


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