FROM THE ARCHIVES: On root canals, mid-life crises and the New Year

Things have been busy around my house for the holidays. There's been no time write, so I offer the following from 2014 - when I was still writing a column for my local newspaper. 

I’m trying not to think of it as a harbinger, but it’s hard not to wonder what calamity the New Year holds in store for you when you kick it off with a numb face.

Actually, it wasn’t my whole face that was numb, just the right side of it.

But it doesn’t really matter whether it was the right, the left or the whole thing. It’s the fact that I essentially started the New Year drooling uncontrollably that has me uneasy about 2014.

The turn of the year is traditionally a time to look toward the future with a positive attitude, with the optimism that inspires resolutions.

But I haven’t made any for this year. It’s probably because I’m having trouble leaving the old year behind, hence the numb face - I had to have another root canal. Call it unfinished business from 2013. It was diagnosed a couple of months ago.

The dentist got out her needles and drills and went to work on my recalcitrant tooth on the second day of the year.

Guess what I did on the third day?

I saw my eye doctor. It was time for my annual exam.

Unfortunately, I don’t really need my optometrist to tell me my eyesight is getting worse. The other day, I was in the parking garage at work and had trouble recognizing a familiar colleague who had just gotten out of his car. He looked fuzzy and it wasn’t because of the new growth sprouting from his chin.

As I stood there squinting as hard as I could to make him out, he mischievously asked if I had forgotten my glasses.

He’s a funny guy.

The way things stand now, it looks like 2014 is the year I get to know my health care providers better.

Turning 50 in a few months might have something to do with that. It’s one of those milestone birthdays that my friends on Facebook seem determined I not forget.

The other day, an old friend posted a note on my wall telling me all about how she unexpectedly ran into a kid who recently graduated from my old high school. She said she started to mention me, then realized there was no way we would know each other because, well - let’s just say I graduated “back in the day.”

Facebook is reminding me of my impending half-century in other ways, too.

For example, one of my classmates from “back in the day" posted a picture of the AARP membership application she got in the mail, sparking a debate on whether it should be thrown out.

I’m of two minds on the subject. The younger me sees no reason to hang onto it. The older, cheaper me is looking forward to the senior discounts.

Dealing with the whole AARP membership thing and the various other changes associated with getting older seems a sure bet for 2014.

However, that’s nothing a sporty, new, fire engine red convertible can’t handle.

But then a mid-life crisis would just give my wife another reason to roll her eyes.

Besides, I have a root canal to pay for.


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