I’m being haunted by snippets of movie dialogue. For the last five minutes I haven’t been able to get “You must cast it back into the fiery chasm from whence it came!” out of my head. I did watch the whole Lord of the Rings movies back to back recently, so it could be that . . .
EXCITEMENT: I got to eat solid food for the first time in over a week yesterday! One of my periodontist’s assistants (the one who removed the dressing from my gums a couple of days ago) said I could eat food as long as it wasn’t hard or crunchy, or required biting into (sandwiches, chicken parts, corn on the cob, etc.) if I cut it up into small pieces and chewed it carefully. So we went out to dinner last night and I had to-die-for meatloaf, garlic mashed potatos, and the best steamed veggies ever. The liqui-mush diet I was on last week caused me to lose a few pounds, so I felt justified, y’know?
This recovery-from-gum-graft-surgery. Let me tell ya. My last post was just the beginning . . . My lower face (mainly my chin and part of what will surely someday be my jowls) started swelling, and over the next 36 hours I attained an entirely new facial structure. I’d never actually wondered what my face would look like if the lower half took on the physical characteristics of a box, but I got the chance to find out. I also started channeling Spongebob Squarepants when the VERY LARGE AND BRIGHT MUSTARD YELLOW BRUISES began to materialize on either side of my chin and just underneath it. In fact, I had no chin. I experienced chinlessness.
I also didn’t leave the house for five days.
However, I had the opportunity to watch a butt-load of movies, including Men Who Stare at Goats, started reading the book Wicked, and worked on my napping skills. Sleep was a problem at first. I had to sleep on a couple of large pillows (ostensibly to reduce the likelihood of swelling–HAH), had to stay on my back, and had to remember to take my antibiotics every six hours. The first couple of nights I slept–or attempted sleep–on the living room sofa. The cat joined me when she wasn’t in another room getting stuck in the window blinds while carrying out her nocturnal sentinel duty.
I also tried to keep up with meditating, and discovered that I couldn’t do it. This puzzled me at first. But by the third day post-surgery it occurred to me that I felt like I’d been rocketed around on an emotional/psychic version of the Mickey Mouse rollercoaster in Disneyland’s California Adventure. A little battered and bruised. I was kind of depressed, actually. Some of it may have had to do with another reminder of mortality, via the slowly increasing failures of the body. It has been a weird year for me in that respect. First there was the unexplained shortness of breath (still a mystery to my doctor), then there was the news that my cholesterol had gotten scarily high, followed by a prescription for a new med.
And ZEN . . . zen zere were ze disappearing gums . . . So maybe this is a kind of preview of what it’ll be like when I’m really old . . . everything does come full circle. You enter the world and shortly thereafter commence eating mush, you live (hopefully for a good long while), and eventually you’re eating mush again before you exit the physical realm. If nothing else, it’s humbling.
More and more these days, when I see an elderly person walking alone somewhere in public–particularly if they resemble either my mom or my dad–I feel a rush of emotion. Protectiveness, maybe, mixed with sadness and love. First there’s the visual reminder of my parents, each of whom I miss very much. And maybe some of it is a kind of empathy that comes with the recognition that some day, there goest I . . . there goest all of us . . .
So perhaps the Elrond quote I started with was actually not just a random bit of cerebral debris that floated to the surface . . . whether or not it’s a fiery chasm–because who knows?–maybe the end of our mortal journey does cast us back from whence we came . . .
. . . to stardust?