So I was at the orthodontist the other day…
I know, right?!
I am and have been a full-fledged adult for a veeeeeerrrry long time and I’m still required to see my orthodontist every six months. As if wearing braces for 2.75 years from fifth through seventh grade was not enough, now I have TMJ and the constant specter of jaw arthritis** if I don’t wear my splint — a pretty sweet, very jaundiced piece of hard plastic I have to wear nightly over my bottom teeth. Every once in awhile, the plastic needs to get built back up because I have ground it down with my clamping, crocodile jaws.
I still have a top retainer, too, which I occasionally stick in my mouth and when I have both gizmos up in there at the same time I sound exactly like Sylvester the Cat from the old Looney Tunes cartoon shows and if that isn’t evidence enough that I am indeed as old as I claim to be, then I don’t know what could date me more unless if I admitted I wore leg warmers in middle school. Or, at least I would have, had I been cooler.
Anyway, back to my visit…
I dutifully put in my splint and then punched the top retainer into place to demonstrate that it still fit. It popped right out.
I put it back in. It popped out again.
My orthodontist shook his head.
“I swear I wear it once a month!”
“Every night!” he said in the stern voice he uses (usually) for his preteen patients. “You have to wear it every night. Do you want braces again?”
He pointed to the screen, which showed my age — and even included the months, nice way to twist the knife — and said that teeth start shifting when we get older and so I have to wear my retainer every night, just like the good old, old, OLD days.
Well, THAT would have been good to know! This was not in the Geezer Guidebook.
Neither was the part about how, because I had foot surgery years ago, one that is typically done on people in their 70s, that I will need a do-over surgery since, in theory anyway, I have lots more years ahead of me.
Yup, parts of me — at least a quarter of my body — are aging a lot faster than others.
Once upon a time, we went to concerts and white-water river rafting in Colorado and out to eat after 6 p.m. and now when we want to have fun, my husband pulls out a blood pressure cuff and we hold competitions to see whose blood pressure is lower. I always win.
Freakishly low blood pressure has always been my special gift.
I remember going to the doctor once and watching that black band squeeze tight around my arm and the reading was so low, the nurse asked if that was usual for me. Later that same week, I was watching a hospital TV show and a dude who was flatlining HAD MY EXACT SAME BLOOD PRESSURE—90/60. So maybe that will keep me feeling young? Or, at least it will if I pass out from chronically low blood pressure and smack my mouth, which then messes up my teeth and forces me back into braces all over again like way back in middle school.
*It was actually a little old man who said this and it was pretty hilarious.
**I feel like that could be shortened to jawthritis and be perfectly OK.