Building toward the future

If it’s possible to “get used” to having dental surgery, then I am getting used to it.

I had a graft done on my upper jaw Tuesday morning, a procedure that last about two hours and left me with a web of stitches where three of my upper teeth used to be rooted.

Since I had the bone graft on my lower jaw, more than a few people have asked me: Where on your body did they take the bone for the graft?

The answer is that the new bone didn’t come from me. The process is borderline unbearable, but that would make it much, much worse. The new bone is a mix of synthetic bone and cadaver bone.

Now, I’m taking antibiotics three times a day and back to a diet of soft foods. I’ll return to Perryville for a follow-up visit next Tuesday. With a process like this, one graft doesn’t always do the trick. I’ve learned something new during each of my half-dozen trips to the oral surgeon’s office so far, and this time I found out that only about 50 percent of the bone material added during a graft actually stays in place and becomes part of the new bone structure. Much of the added bone gets reabsorbed into the body, which is a natural part of the process — and makes grafting more difficult.

But there’s so little time for healing these days. Settlement is tomorrow on Kacey and my new house, and move-in will commence once that process is official. We picked the house back in the fall, so it’s been a long time coming, especially after construction was delayed by the frigid temperatures and constant onslaught of snow this winter.

After living in someone else’s house and perpetually reusing about a week’s worth of clothes for 3-and-a-half months, moving will be a welcome change — but one that will require more adjustment, patience and hard work than I can imagine now. It’s frustrating to me that I can’t do any heavy lifting with my hands still healing, but there’s nothing I can change about that, and I’ve found out that frustration doesn’t get you far.

Every day brings new challenges, and now there’s another one right in front of me. And it happens to have four walls and contain a lot of hopes and dreams.

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