Yes, I shamefully confess that last weekend I brushed my teeth with Preparation H!
I know, I know. Disgusting.
I’d like to say that I did it because it was dark, it was late, we were out-of-town and I just wanted to snuggle under the covers. But that wouldn’t be true. I’d like to say that I did it because I was in a hurry or that I was praying so fervently that I didn’t realize what I had in my hand. But that wouldn’t be true either. And I’d like to say that God has used what I did to show me a deeper truth about Himself and how much He loves me. But unfortunately that would be a big, fat, gob-smacking lie too. Urghhhh, the truth is, I just wasn’t thinking. I was daydreaming, my mind off with the fairies (or, more likely, with the top ten boys on So You Think You Can Dance).
And because I wasn’t thinking I didn’t follow the instructions that were clearly printed in plain sight. Not a single one. According to the packet I should have cleansed the affected area by patting or blotting with an appropriate cleansing wipe, but there was absolutely no pre-cleansing involved. I should have used it four times a day, especially after a bowl movement. Nope again. It was definitely just that once. At least I wasn’t pregnant or breast-feeding because the instructions said I should have consulted a doctor.
As I started to brush my teeth the lack of minty, fresh taste in my mouth told me that something was definitely wrong. I looked down at the tube of what I had assumed was my travel size Colgate Total toothpaste (with added whitening) in my hand.
Despite being a rectal cancer survivor I’ve never heard of the word “intrarectal”. I mean it doesn’t even sound like a real word, does it? I wont describe what it means (I had to look it up didn’t I?), suffice to say that it doesn’t involve putting it in your mouth.
I guess it was only a matter of time before it happened. Being organizationally challenged and often in a rush when I pack to go away, I sometimes throw my “medicinal creams” in with my “anti-aging” creams and other toiletries. I can assure you that that’s definitely the last time I do that. It’s a locked box with a security code for all my rear end gear from now on.
To add to my disgust, in that split second, I had become one of those people for whom those ridiculous warnings are actually written. All of my life I’ve read warnings like “this knife is sharp it may cut something” and scoffed at the stupidity of the people they are written for. To my horror, I’d joined their gang. I was now one of them.
As I ran out of the bathroom, foaming at the mouth and screaming for some real toothpaste to get rid of the taste, I confessed my error and announced how horribly disgusting it tasted. My calm, dry witted son didn’t flinch a muscle. He just sighed, threw me his tube of Crest and helpfully mentioned that the manufacturers of Preparation H probably didn’t have taste in mind when they developed it. Thanks son. I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t at all surprised by my crazy antics. That’s a tad worrying don’t you think?
Ever since that night I’ve been trying to figure out what God might be teaching me through this crazy “I can’t believe I really did that” moment. When I Stole a Bra (yes I really did do that) He showed me how much emotional baggage I was carrying around with me. When my rather stupid dog Chester Sucked Down a Storm Drain (yes, that happened too), He showed me how to look ahead to solid ground. What on earth could He be teaching me now?
Sadly I haven’t yet felt God teach me anything deep or profound other than “Don’t put your Preparation H where you normally put your toothpaste”. I wish it was more spiritual than that – that I suffered this trauma and horror for a deep and weighty revelation. But I think that sometimes that’s life. God let’s us make our own choices, like where to pack our creams, and sometimes, unfortunately, we just have to live with the consequences.