It starts out as a pretty normal day. I drive to work and prepare my notes for meeting with the boss. We cover a lot of ground and I’m off to a good start. Next, I catch up on email and set up a couple meetings of my own. And then … it happens.
My thoughts are interrupted by a niggling sensation which reminds me that I have to find a new dentist. I figured that I had recovered quite nicely from last summer’s bleedathon and my mouth was on good behavior. Not. Little pricks of pain jabbed at my weekend. I knew I had to do something. Let’s face it. Ignored pricks just seem to hang around and make life miserable.
So I ask the local office staff for some recommendations. My boss suggests I pop upstairs and check if the dentist who shares our space takes my insurance. He wasn’t listed as an online provider but what the heck. I walk up and present my card and the receptionist says “Okay, we take your plan. You can have a 1:15 appointment.” Did you ever walk into a dentist’s office and get seen almost immediately? It was looking good. At least I thought. Be careful of what you wish for.
I’m ushered into the back room and a couple x-rays are taken. I hear the new doc conferring with his bright-eyed assistant as my nerves start to kick into high gear. Mr. New Dentist returns and shows me my x-rays on a television set above my head. How clever I think until he points his laser at the dark spot on my back tooth. I’m so hoping it’s a fluke, a smudge of carbon on the film. Not. He proceeds to tell me that it’s either root canal and more crown work or an extraction. He gives me a couple minutes to think it over. Chinese water torture or a quick shot to the temple. I can’t believe that I’m sitting in a chair in a strange office with people who have never before seen my not-so-pearly-white but they’re-my-own and I’m-damned-proud-of-it molars and we’re already talking desperate measures. Where’s the lecture on flossing and general cleaning? I don’t want to choose what’s being offered. Isn’t there a third option? I really need some chicken soup and fluoride for my tormented soul. Doc returns. What will it be? I want to bolt. And yet I put on a good show as my super-ego squelches my id and calmly says: “Yank it out. Let’s get it over with.”
Zap, removal of a tooth which has seen almost five decades of faithful service. Hell, it lasted longer than my marriage. Sic transit gloria mundi. And all with local anesthetic.
I’m home now. The novocaine is gone. The pain is working itself up and tickling my eye socket. If my eye doesn’t start to twitch, I may be able to ride it out. I lost count of how many stitches he was merrily sewing into the top of my mouth. I can now feel some of them with the tip of my tongue. My brain warns “Don’t go there.”
I slurp down some soft food and baby myself a bit. Doc says not to go to work tomorrow. Does he know something I don’t know?
I think it’s gonna be a long night.