I’m getting an implant for my front tooth, but this is a long process and may take as long as a year to complete. Last Friday I had what was left of my front tooth pulled. Then the dentist needed to do a bone graft which has to heal before the implant can be placed. The bone placed in the space as the matrix around which my own bone will grow was (yes, wait for it) cadaver bone—yes, the bone from someone who donated his/her bone for this purpose.
When the dentist told me this, I was startled. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that some unknown person’s generosity and personal physical gift would help to boost and sustain my ability to finally get my tooth repaired properly. After Friday evening’s procedure was completed, my dentist asked if I wanted what was left of the cadaver bone, that he couldn’t use the remainder and would have to throw it away. Of course, I wanted it.
As I heal this weekend from the extraction (and as I build the requisite bone), I am feeling honored, humbled, and nourished by the magnanimity of a stranger. As I begin to absorb this unidentified person’s offering to me, I lit a yahrzeit candle in his, maybe her, honor.
(top photo by JB)