Warning: spontaneous and unrevised post 🙂
This week, as part of a consultation for possible dental work, I was given a full skull x-ray. It’s humbling and a bit creepy to be reduced to bone, eerie white slabs stripped of the skin that makes my face tolerable to look at. Teeth bored into my jaw with roots deeper than I imagined; repaired teeth showed white and opaque. My nose appeared thin and blade-like, bereft of the fleshy putty that softens its edges. On either side of my upper jaw, my sinuses curved, empty hollows that scooped towards my jawline. The bone here, the dentist informed me, was only 5mm thick–the dental procedure I wanted requires 11mm, so that’s out. Five millimeters is less than 1/4 inch–how is it possible that chewing doesn’t crack my jaw?
Five years after I’m dead, this is what I’ll look like. This is what I look like now.
Another reminder of mortality: on Friday, I suddenly developed floaters in my left eye. What’s it like? Remember in high school, when you squinted through a microscope, one eye shut to avoid your eyes crossing into a hazy muddle, to look at transparent paramecium wriggling between slide and cover? Like that. All the time. I discover that “at my age” this is “normal,” that “everyone” gets this when the jello-like vitreous gel liquifies with age and wobbles and slides like my own personal paramecium, always before me. Vitreous detachment, not retinal–yet, but keep an eye on it, she says, straight faced, unironically.
I could be bitter, I guess. But today I’m thankful for skin and a clear right eye. I have fewer years in front of me than I’ve used. But I’m good.