ode to a fig

“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning,
when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite
pleasures of the Mediterranean.”

Elizabeth David


(this past summer’s plucking–a fig resting on a bed of fresh herbs / Julie Cook / 2017)

There’s eating figs, figs stuffed with blue cheese, fig preserves
and then there’s “giving the fig”….
I liken the latter to our shooting of birds….but this is not about that

But according to Wikipedia, to give someone the fig means:
The fig sign is a mildly obscene gesture used in Turkish and Slavic cultures
and some other cultures that uses two fingers and a thumb.
This gesture is most commonly used to deny a request.

In Brazil, use of this gesture wards off evil eye, jealousy, etc.
Often worn as a good luck charm.

In ancient Rome, the fig sign, or mano fico, was made by the pater familias
to ward off the evil spirits of the dead as a part of the Lemuria ritual.

The hand gesture may have originated in ancient Hindu culture to depict
the lingam and yoni.

Among early Christians, it was known as the manus obscena, or “obscene hand”.

Recently, a Ukrainian word for this gesture “дуля” (dulya) has also become
a jargon to refer to Control-Alt-Delete. (“…you need three fingers to
press the buttons. So it’s like telling somebody (a computer in this case)
to get lost.”)

So you should know that this little tale is not exactly a story about
offending gestures—
yet the notion of a fig, even cursing a fig, does play a dominate role…..

This morning when I left the house at 9AM, headed back to my dentist—
I had a full set of teeth.
Well actually I am minus one back upper right molar that was pulled
years ago due to it causing chronic sinus problems—-and as I was born without
wisdom teeth, other than that, I’ve had a nice head full of teeth.

About 4 weeks ago one morning, I had grabbed a couple of fig newtons to act
as my breakfast of champions.
Whereas I’m not keen on eating fresh figs, I do did enjoy Fig Newtons—-you know,
that whole debate of is it a cookie or a cake—-
potato, potaaato sort of thing.

When I took a bite of one of the Newtons, I bit down on something chunky and
hard—it wasn’t one of those pesky tiny seeds but rather a piece of stem.
And when I did, I immediately felt as if I’d broken my tooth.
I raced to the bathroom grabbing a mirror for a closer inspection.

Nope, the tooth was intact and looked ok.
Even the filling was still intact.
Whew…..

Yet there remained a nagging pain.
I figured I’d probably just bruised the area around the tooth.

I have had several teeth with root canals and crowns but this was still an active
tooth that happened to have a filling.

And as you may remember I am adopted.
I learned a few years back that my biological mother,
despite being a nurse, hid the pregnancy as long as possible.
No prenatal care there.

Of course this was the 1950’s and she was not married and that is a long story
for another day…but I was born premature.

Years later our family dentist explained to both me and my (adopted) mom
that in utero, my teeth had not properly fused—-leaving them prone to cavities,
and even cracking, etc.
Thus I have have treasured my teeth, working hard and being fastidious
in their care—-yet…..

The next day following the stem incident, there was a good deal of pain
when I drank anything hot or cold….as in sensitivity.

“Crap” I groused cause I knew what that would entail.
I called the dentist.
I went in and she did an X-ray.
“Nope Julie, I don’t see any cracks…it’s probably just really bruised.”

Whew—a dodged bullet!

Another week passed and still the sensitivity persisted.

Another anomaly fact about me is that many of the roots of my teeth run up into
my sinus cavity. Hence may age old conundrum—-
is it the sinuses infected or is it the teeth being aggravating??
I’ve had two sinus surgeries, with one having done wonders, the other not so much…
so my doctors and dentists pretty much roll their eyes when they see me coming…
as in here comes the oddity—-they would deny that but I know better…

So a week later I went back to the dentist who did another X-ray.
This dentist didn’t see a crack but wanted me to go see an endodontist.
This particular endodontist has seen me before, having done a couple of root canals.

He x-rayed as well but didn’t see much within the tooth, but the sinus cavity
on the other hand showed a cloudiness, indicating infection or swelling.
He did the cold test which definitely caused pain.
He removed the old filling and found the interior of the tooth to be what
he called inflamed.
How the inside of a tooth is inflamed I’m not sure, but I believed him.

This was Thursday before Christmas.
He did a root canal right then and there and sent me off with an antibiotic
and pain pills with an appointment to come back in January to have the
tooth permanently sealed.

Well I still felt terrible.

So the day following Christmas, I was in the ENT’s office.
He x-rayed my head, saw inflammation and changed the antibiotic to something
stronger plus gave me a shot.

The following day I was feeling better and found I could actually chew
without pain.

Ahhhh…..

Fast forward to this Thursday night— I had roasted a nice turkey breast.
I lay bacon over the breast to help keep it moist and self basting as it cooks.
Once the turkey was done, I took it out to allow it to “rest”
Roasted things need time to rest so their juice fill back up keeping the meat
nice and moist.

And as I happen to adore bacon, I grabbed one of the pieces and took a bite.
I tend to chew on my left side where the culprit tooth is located.
Not a wise choice.
Biting into the bacon, I immediately felt as if something had pieced my gum,
then all of a sudden out came a part of my tooth….

AGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Again I race to the bathroom for a mirror….what to my wandering eyes did appear—
the culprit tooth spilt totally in half…

AGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

The interior split half was piecing into the gum in the roof of my mouth.

I called the endodontist.
He calls my dentist.
The plan, be ready by 7AM to be seen by the one or the other.

I get a text the following morning at 6:30AM—be at dentist at 9AM

The dentist is here in town.
The endodontist is in a neighboring town about 20 minutes away.

The dentist takes one look at the split tooth and tells me that since it is Friday
and their office closes early, as well as the local oral surgeon’s office—he opts
to send me to another town, about 30 minutes away, to a different oral surgeon
who he knows works all day on Fridays.

Post haste I drive.

Long story short….3 shots in the roof of the mouth, one on the other side….
a lot of pulling, twisting, and odd noises emanating from my head,
while someone is holding my head and another is suctioning
tooth bits, all the while my eyes are tightly shut as I keep saying the
Jesus Prayer over and over and over…
then just as quickly, #13, what they call a pre molar, is gone.

Replaced by a wad of gauze….and later a tea bag whose tannin helps
to control bleeding, or so they say.

My husband was a bit taken aback when he walked in the door this evening only
to be greeted by a wife with a wet tea bag stuffed in her mouth complete with
both tag and string blowing in the wind.
Tetley tea anyone…..

And you should know that if I was telling you this tale in person–
the word tooth would sound like ‘poof’ as in the novocaine and cheek full of
gauze are doing a number on my speech….
did I mention the uncontrollable drool???

Following the pulling of the tooth, the oral surgeon did a bone graft as we will be
going the route of an implant…much as I hope that it will work but just
as much to my chagrin.
My husband has had an implant—it was a year long process and a small fortune.

So the moral of this long and wending tale,
besides the fact that I now have a hole in my head, copious amounts of drool,
and tea bags stuffed in my face….

Always be careful when opting to give any one the fig and be even more careful
when biting down on a Fig Newton!!!
You never know what might bite back..

And oh…be good to your teeth!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,
whom you have received from God?
You are not your own;
you were bought at a price.
Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

40 comments on “ode to a fig

  1. hatrack4 says:

    I have a few ‘holes’ in my head, also. I have many acquaintances that suggest I get more. I hope you are feeling better soon.

  2. phyllissnipes says:

    I can’t bring myself to simply click “like” on this one! Most entertaining story for anyone who is NOT you!!! Praying for your sinuses, your tooth/teeth, and a quick and painless remedy! (For real!)

  3. atimetoshare.me says:

    I wrote this post several years ago, but it still applies – Ode to Teeth
    “We come into this world without them. It takes a few years before they appear. They get pushed and nudged out by new ones. A few become unrecognizable and begin to disintegrate into oblivion. As time goes on they disappear into nonexistence. One by one, the years take their toll. Some of them have all but vanished from within us. Before we are laid to rest, many of us have experienced the loss of many or most of them. It makes one take pause. If we came into the world without them and leave without them, why do we have them?’

    I can totally sympathize with this since I’ve all but five of my own teeth left. Growing older sucks and losing teeth seems to be part of the process. Consider yourself blessed to have so many left. I’m sure this isn’t funny, though your comments always are. Just belly up to the bar and have a happy new year.

  4. atimetoshare.me says:

    What I meant to say is I have five of the original set of teeth remaining.

  5. David says:

    Ouch, ouch and ouch Julie. I am no stranger to dental pain. Sorry you had to suffer.

  6. Tricia says:

    Oh Julie I am so sorry, this sounds awfully painful and unpleasant! You managed to spin a great story out of it though, it was an entertaining read. Good luck with the repairs and keep us posted.

  7. […] via ode to a fig — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  8. Oh, Julie. I felt your pain but just had to laugh at the same time. My teeth were just like that and my dentist always scheduled enough time to do multiple extractions or just for simple cleaning. He constantly told me my root system was so screwed up he never knew which one to follow. You sure hit a bunch of memories with this one, and I reblogged it on Kentucky Angel Flies Again, http://kentuckyangelfliesagain.wordpress.com
    I hope you have a better year next week and all the coming months. And I sure hope you have better luck with the rest of your teeth. Oh, yeah, I broke one several years ago on spaghetti! At my Mom’s house, thank God. My dentist was at home — Saturday night, of course, but his wife, also a dentist, knew all about me, thanks to her sweet hubby. Mom loaded me up and drove me to another town, in another county, about 40 minutes away, and I think I’ll write that story myself. Nothing worse, is there?
    Happy New Year. Angie

  9. ColorStorm says:

    Copious amounts eh? Nice.

    Can I recommend the most excellent tale of Captain Jack the Scout and Old Fort Duquesne where that same word was nicely used….

    Where was I? Oops, bit of a detour with the fig stuff, If the Newtons cookie inspire so much, you should eat them all the time. Good stuff J 😉

  10. Wally Fry says:

    I get this. My mom was quite remiss in prenatal care, smoking and drinking the whole time. My teeth are a mess.

  11. Citizen Tom says:

    Glad you don’t seem to be depressed. That’s would just make it worst. Will be praying for you.

    Just got a dental implant myself finished up about a month ago. Biggest headache was finding dentist I had some confidence in. If you are past that hurdle, that’s a very good thing.

  12. Oh, so awful! Just now reading the complete story… 😦 Praying your pain finds relief soon! 😦 What a terrible time of year for dental problems, too! The holidays! Ugh. Love you and sending gentle hugs!

  13. Karen says:

    Your wonderful sense of humor has to help but probably not too much when it comes to the pain involved. I couldn’t help but chuckle thinking about the Tetley tea tag blowing in the wind. I’ve been in that situation as well many years ago. Hope this will be all behind you soon.

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