There’s a Toothache in My Heart

A very well known and loved Rabbi, Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, (who incidentally was one of the many Rabbis who participated in my wedding), used this phrase, there’s a toothache in my heart, when refering to a friend and colleague who had fallen from grace…enough said.  The saying struck me as so poignant and descriptive because we all know how brutal toothache’s can be, and that is exactly how it feels in our hearts when we are saddened or deeply troubled about something.

At 12:30 today, I have an emergency dentist appointment.  I have no idea what’s wrong, but I see stars everytime I eat or drink something cold, or for that matter, room temperature.  I have to warm yogurt or fruit on the right side of my mouth before I can even think about using the left side.  It’s brutal, it hurts, and boy am I annoyed.   The pain has been consistent, persistent and at times excrutiating.  Ari asked me if it was going to fall out as he wiggled his own at the breakfast table.  “I certainly hope not, sweetie…that shouldn’t happen to grown-up teeth.”   I told him.  “I hope not.” I mumbled to myself.  There is no doubt about it…toothaches are wicked.

The pain in my tooth, however, is nothing compared to the pain in my heart, when my sweet Ari suffers not only with multiple food allergies, but eczema as well.  The eczema seems to take on a life of its own, especially in the summertime with the oppressive heat and humidity, and today was no different. The nurse at camp mentioned how sorry she felt for him because he is in there everyday for the incessant scratching that has completely ravaged his skin.  For those who suffer from the eczema affliction…I feel for you.  My son is covered with it and will probably have to take oral steroid for a few days just to get it to calm down.  We slather him like a greased pig morning, noon and night.  Benadryl, Zyrtec, topical steroid, Caladryl, Aquaphor and Cetaphil are frequently used items in our home.  We have bottles/tablets of Benadryl in practically every area of the house like you would have decorative tissue boxes in every room. 

The nurse also mentioned how the counselor thinks that Ari is just doing it for attention. Hmmmmmmm.  The nurse assured him that he is truly suffering.  I can’t blame the counselor, I mean what do I expect of a 17 year old kid who doesn’t understand the situation and has to take the itchy kid to the nurse several times a day.  I get it.  I suppose I was like that too at that age. But, it pains me that my son truly does suffer,is such a good sport about it and still that’s not enough to warrant a little sympathy.  Nevermind that Ari can’t eat the food at the camp BBQ and has to bring his own lunch.  He can’t even eat the potato chips because they come out of a big bag and could potentially be contaminated with some kind of allergic residue from multiple hands reaching in.  Yet, Ari remains a steadfast trooper and while I am thankful for that, the toothache in my heart never seems to go away.