One of our older/oldest cats, Biscuit, born late September, 2006 and his oldest human parent, yours truly, born late September, 1954, are both having teeth issues. In fact, the exact same teeth issues: the 1st molar and the 2nd bicuspid in the “upper right quadrant” are causing us problems and have to be extracted. Biscuit’s teeth extraction will be done by our regular veterinarian. Mine will be done not by my regular dentist but by a specialist, an oral surgeon. Unfortunately, the two practices are not related so there’s no chance of a “BOGO.” Nor is there any chance that the two procedures will be about the same cost. My teeth extraction will be double at a minimum, perhaps even quadruple, if I’m lucky. (I made inquiries.) Accordingly, Biscuit’s extraction will occur/has occurred first.
What’s of interest to me is the coincidence that Biscuit and I need the same teeth extracted at the same time. Which when you consider that Biscuit and I are approximately the same age, is not really a surprise. It’s really more of a fact of life/aging – for both of us. Perhaps there are other behaviors and/or physical/mental indicators in Biscuits day-to-day activities which might clue me in to my own aging process. After all, we are living similar lives.
So far, Biscuit’s post-teeth-extraction recovery has been uneventful. He’s been spry and energetic. He’s been on the kitchen counter, various window sills, the dining room table, the ironing board and all the other furniture; he’s knocked over the wicker trash basket in our bedroom three times and he’s been eating like a dog. In short, he’s “back baby.” He almost appears to be smiling – except when we attempt to give him his post-procedure pills. As per usual, during the day he’s sleeping on the back of the couch and at night he’s curled up in the laundry basket; and he’s still the first cat – of five, an hour early, I might add, for breakfast and dinner, to place his order/meow his presence. He’s as ready to eat as ever. He hasn’t missed a beat or a step. If I had to summarize/characterize his actions now, I’d say he has a real joie de vivre, “an exuberant enjoyment of life.” So what am I waiting for? Godot?
As for my procedure, I’ve been told it takes 30 minutes or so. Local anesthesia is used (unlike Biscuit who was totally sedated/anesthetized). Moreover, the post-surgical pain is not terrible and the chance of infection is minor. And though I’ll have a space in my gums where my teeth used to be, no longer will I be anticipating the pain and discomfort that cracking or splitting either of these two teeth would cause. The only pain I’ll likely have is the pain of payment. (See 7/26/17 column entitled “Taking Care of Business” for associated details.)
I guess my curiosity/concern is whether I trust anything I’ve observed from Biscuit’s dental experience – considering we’re the same age. Is what’s good for the cat also good for the human – all things being equal, sort of? Is Biscuit’s return to normalcy so quickly and so easily – and so vigorously, a lesson to be learned? If seeing is believing and I do see extremely well for someone nearing his 63rd birthday, then Biscuit’s ‘experience’ and the comparison between his pre- and post-extraction behavior should be an inspiration to us all, especially those of us of similar age with one and the same, two actually, teeth which need to be extracted.
I mean, the procedure I’ve been putting off is not exactly brain surgery, it’s oral surgery. I’m not admitted to a hospital. It’s outpatient. I’m in and then out. Same day service, just like the restaurant where my wife, Dina works. I don’t even need someone to drive me home (unlike Biscuit. I had to drive him home.) And now that Biscuit is home, safe and sound, I suppose it’s time for me to buck up and schedule my appointment. After all, it has nothing to do with cancer and everything to do with quality of life. I’d say that’s a win-win.