thankful for a tooth ache


another handful of pictures from ecuador. it always surprises me when i look at my pictures, how my heart overflows with love for (often) complete and total strangers. definitely a God thing. with every trip you come back with new stories, new friends, new testimonies... and eyes opened wider than the trip before. 

 i have seen things that i cannot un-see. witnessing true poverty,  can make a person live in a constant state of thankfulness. which makes me grateful for the things i cannot un-see. like this lady sweeping the dirt in front of her one room house. 


it is arrogant to assume that my life as an american is better just because i have more stuff.  i am convinced that my life in america is much more comfortable. 

a tooth ache is what sent me searching through my ecuador files for this set of pictures. i have made it many years without experiencing a bonafide tooth ache. one day my tooth hurt. two days later and i wanted to pull it out myself. 

it made me wonder what people in developing worlds would do in my same situation.

monday morning i called my dentist. two hours later i was looking at my dental x-rays from a comfortable chair, listening to my dentist sum up my situation. the root was infected, infections are dangerous, and my two options were a root canal or an implant. he would be referring me to a specialist (because why would anyone ever want to deal with my level of crazy when you can refer me elsewhere!?) 

before i left i asked my dentist the question i had been pondering. he thought for a minute and said, "well. it wouldn't be good." i asked him if he had ever been on a medical mission. he told me that his brother had, he had not.

a few hours later i was sitting in a fancy endodontist's office being offered coffee and bottled water... a tell tell sign of the price tag that would likely be attached to this procedure.

the endodontist delivered the same news. so i asked him the same question. "what would people in developing countries do if they had my same exact of infection?"  he thought for a minute and said, "untreated they could easily die." my question led to a longer than expected conversation. it quickly turned to medical missionaries. he had not been on one either. 


it was a whirlwind day. an hour later i had another appointment, an antibiotic, a sedative, pain medication, insurance approval... and of course another bottled water ;) i hopped in my car, turned on the air conditioner, called my husband and drove home. you know where i am going with this.

in one day i had received more medical care than the majority of people in the world would receive in a lifetime. i wasn't doing cartwheels in the parking lot... i am terrified of dentists. my experience was a reminder of the never ending list of things to thank God for.

tomorrow i will take my sedative, my husband will take off work to drive me... just in case my nightmare comes true and i die. or kill someone. basically he is coming for legal reasons ;) when the music that's playing over the loud speakers in hell turns on (drills) i am going to do my very best to have an attitude of gratitude! with prayer, valium and nitrous oxide anything is possible - right?!

my hardest day pales in comparison to the majority of the world!


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