A tooth extraction, pain and onions! Finding the relationship between a tooth extraction and pain is easy but what do onions have to do with pain and a tooth extraction?
Recently, I had a scheduled tooth extraction. Before the extraction I was given the standard list of all the possible things that could go wrong and then the standard piece of paper to sign and initial stating that I knew full well all the fine print. I arrived at my appointment a little nervous because dentists terrify me more than any other doctor. I have no idea why! I was ready to just get it over with.
After just a few minutes into the procedure, it was obvious to me, although the dentist had not yet said anything, that things were not going well. My thoughts were confirmed when my dentist exclaimed that I had very good bone structure and the tooth was very difficult to pull. She began giving me several more shots in my pallet, gums and wherever they stick shots, to numb my mouth. Then she began the surgical removal of the back molar which seemed to last forever. When she finally removed the tooth in pieces, she said she would have to make sure I did not have a hole in my sinuses. Yes, this is one of those things in the fine print. She squeezed my nose, asked me to blow and to my astonishment, I could blow but not through my nose. It was now coming out of the newly formed hole in my sinus that lead through the hole in my gums. I was blowing nasal air through my gums. So, as you can imagine, this was going to be painful for a while. She gave me two different prescriptions for pain, an antibiotic, and medicine for nausea. My husband drove me home and off to bed I went.
I don’t do well taking pain medications. I was able to handle 800 mg of Motrin only for 24 hours then I had to go down to 400 mg. The dentist told me that I had to take care of myself or I would have trouble healing and the hole in my sinuses would not heal and could cause future problems. While taking the very strong dose of Motrin, I couldn’t feel the pain. It gave me a false sense that my wound was healed or non-existent. I decided to do a little laundry, pick up around the house and eat. Well, it didn’t take long for the pain to come back and with a vengeance. What I realized was that the pain medication was masking the pain and if I didn’t feel the pain I thought everything was better than it actually was. As soon as I started taking the lower dose of Motrin, I was able to see the value in being able to feel some pain. I knew that I needed to take better care of myself so that my path to complete healing would be quicker and in the end less pain for less time. Which brings me to the onion.
Ever wonder why onions make us cry? Here is one of those pieces of knowledge that you may or may not have ever wondered about and could possibly go your entire life without even giving two thoughts about it. Dr. Block, a scientist who studied onions, says this about onions, “onions originated in a very tough neighborhood in Central Asia north of Afghanistan, and they evolved some serious chemical weapons to defend themselves.” He goes on to say that when the onion’s tissue is breached by biting or chopping the onion will deploy its sulfur based defense system of highly irritating chemicals. In some ways we are like the onion.
Many of us were brought up in “tough neighborhoods” and have some wounds that are like sulfur, they stink. We can be pretty and colorful on the outside with all those layers that protect and hide our wounds deep within us. Sometimes, so far within, we forget they are there until, like the onion, our skin is breached. And like the onion, when our thin outer layer is breached, our defense weapons come out. Then we have to deploy whatever means we have been using to keep them hidden. We hide the pain. We don’t want to face the cause of our pain because it becomes more painful each time we peel off a layer. But after an onion is chopped and in particular when it is sautéed in butter, it becomes incredibly sweet and adds so much flavor to the food that it is added to. I don’t know anyone who never uses an onion to flavor their food to perfection or anyone who doesn’t want to be the sweetness and flavor to our sometimes seemingly hopeless world or more so their families and friends.
Why does it take some people so long to be healed of their wounds, both old wounds and wounds that are being made at this moment in life? Truth be told, the healing process is sometimes too painful to bear or even just the mere thought of it is just too painful. We have to admit that the wound exists no matter how painful. Sometimes it’s the simple fact that we are just too ashamed of the wound, especially if we are the cause of the wound. Whatever the reason may be, healing is available 24 hours a day. Our great physician never sleeps, Jesus is waiting with all the endless mercy God has to bestow upon us. The Bible is full of stories of people who have, in faith, asked for Jesus to heal them from every kind of sickness, disease and even from death. He can do that for me and for you.
Everyday Missionaries in conjunction with several church parishes in two different Dioceses, will be hosting days of reflection for women and an all day retreat. There we will learn of the healing of the woman in Mark 5:25-34. We will hear her story and learn that our story may not be so different. We invite you to join us along with Sister Mary Madeline Todd, OP, STD and Mary Michael Fox, OP who will lead us through teaching and reflection on the woman in Mark’s gospel. For more information, click on the link, www.everydaymissionaries.com/retreats.
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