Saturday, July 10, 2010

Loki's magic gumball

Our eldest daughter, Shaura, and her partner, Neil, arrived from Sheffield, England, a week and half ago -- tired, cranky with each other, and both recovering from recent visits to the dentist. They got past the tired and cranky quickly but the legendary problems of British teeth were not so easily vanquished.

Shaura had recently had a root canal; Neil had an abcessed tooth pulled the day before takeoff. Shaura did fine. Neil's abscess continued to fester and he developed dry socket, too. Both are painful and possibly life-threatening because of the close proximity to the brain. I went online to see what we could do and found a little bit of advice and much admonishment to call a dentist as soon as possible. Things weren't looking good. Besides that seeing a dentist on an emergency basis was beyond the financial capacity of all four of us combined, we were heading into the 4th of July weekend.

Improvisation was needed.

A friend volunteered a few Vicodin, which we split in half to make them last longer. I took the one piece of not-stupid-sounding advice found on google for abscessed tooth (put a tea bag on it) and combined it with my experience with honey. Honey is my favorite method for avoiding trips to the emergency room for stitches and other forms of medical torture -- I successfully reattached a nearly severed fingertip with honey and I still have feeling in it, too.

Honey is antiseptic and a growth stimulant. Every wound I have treated with honey has healed extraordinarily fast and with little or no scarring. Little cuts and burns that I can't be bothered to treat take much longer to heal and leave scars that last for years because I scar rather easily.

So, I combined the abscess-drawing property of the dry, powdered, black tea with the healing powers of honey by cutting the end off of a rolled up tea bag then wrapping it in a patch of gauze soaked and slathered in honey. Neil put the "gumball" in the empty socket at night and once or twice during the day. The tea, we found, kept the gumball in place (we'd tried just honey and gauze before I found out about the tea). Before the weekend was over, the abscess had drained and the socket was beginning to fill in with new gum-flesh. Despite that Neil was present when I cut my fingertip (he was helping me butcher a goat), he seemed as surprised as he was pleased that the gumball worked. But I trust that since he says his Facebook photo of himself with Peach the scrub jay perched on his shoulder makes for great storytelling at the pubs, that his gumball cure story will soon be up there in his favorite recountings of his adventures in the wilds of Oregon. (Unless, that is, he or Shaura has a close encounter with a mountain lion while she's doing her Vision Quest. She's going "up on the hill" as I write this.)

One final note: Neil says he thought the 1/6 teaspoon of tea in the gumball made it a little hard to sleep. This may have been jet lag, but if you have any concern about this, you can try finding decaf teabags should you ever need to try this remedy.

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