It's not about the house.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Here's Where I Admit That I'm A Big, Big Baby

continued from the post below

Nothing hurt. Nothing that he did in what turned out to be just three measly hours actually hurt. The novocain made my heart pound really badly for a while -- does that happen to people? I thought about telling him, but then I figured if it was going to kill me I'd be dead already so I just shut up.

But here's the thing: I'm 38 years old. The very first filling that I've ever had in my whole life was Tuesday. This tooth that I am now re-root-canalling? I broke it -- just a little bit -- biting into something hard and stupid that I don't even remember anymore, and I just didn't get around to seeing a dentist till it abscessed. That was the only thing I've ever had go wrong in my mouth, ever. Even my baby teeth. The endodontist who did it eleven years ago actually said to me that he would never see a dentist either if he had teeth like mine.

So when Dr. German really looked into my mouth for the first time, he gasped. "Your teeth are beautiful!" he enthused. "And virgin!"

I don't remember the last time any part of me was described either of those ways.

But I'm starting to get a little bored with this (as Sandy called it) epic tale. And since I've still got three hours of it left, I'm going to just give you some highlights:

-> I have to wear plastic goggles over my eyes so the bits of the old crap that he's drilling out don't blind me. He wears them, too. That's reassuring.

-> Another student comes in to peek and spends ten minutes saying how re-treats are such a pain in the ass and how the scheduler must really hate him for making him do this. Dr. German gives her a proper Miss-Manners cut.

-> Once he's got the old crap out, he has to vibrate the post that's in there to wiggle it loose. He does it with a teeny-tiny, well, vibrator. He does it for about ten minutes, alternately yanking on it with a pair of teeny-tiny pliers, but it will not budge. He says if this won't work we'll have to use a tool that's called -- get this -- a "post remover." Huh. How'd they come up with that? Finally he calls for the instructor to ask if we should use that, but he calls it something else and painful-sounding (the nerve-shattering, scream-inducing, agony machine - or something like that) but the instructor says no, keep using the wee vibrator for 5 or 10 more minutes; it will work. He's right. Except for it takes 25.

-> At some point, I have a giggle fit because I imagine myself with one of those sheets draped like they give ladies when they have caesarians -- the blue ones, propped up, so you don't have to see the gore. I picture a napkin-sized one draped across my nose, so I don't have to see what Dr. German's doing. Then I remember I can just close my eyes. (I did not have nitrous oxide, in case you're wondering.)

-> Dr. German tells me I am really very smart for figuring out that the chloroform he's using to dissolve the rubber that's inside my tooth, could also disintegrate the rubber in the dental dam. He does not repeat himself when this actually happens and the disinfectant goes running down my throat, making me feel like I swallowed one of those giant pills I drop down the back of the toilet, and I gasp and cough and choke and splutter and try to spit it out right through what's left of the dental dam even though my mouth is propped so wide open that trying to spit is like trying to move my hair.

-> He puts a little chloroform in there, lets it sit for a minute, takes a special tool and pokes around. This yields the tiniest, eentsiest little speck of rubber -- which he feels obligated to keep showing me; I'd rather he didn't but I'm in no position to argue. Then he puts another drop of chloroform in there and waits again. The whole process brings to mind the two years I spent stripping woodwork in the living room.

-> Long about hour two and a half I decide that if they're going to make you sit in these things for this long, they really ought to make them massage chairs like at the pedicure. Maybe not up around the shoulders -- wouldn't want my head rolling around while the Doc's in there with all his whatevers -- but between this appointment and the next two, I could have probably got rid of my back crick once and for all.

-> Oh yeah, so "next two." Because we ran out of time before we ran out of rubber in my tooth. So instead of one more of these appointments, I will have two. Plus the other two for the other fillings. Hm. Maybe I should ask about the nitrous, after all.

-> Except I don't actually have the appointments yet, because we were there so late all the receptionists went home. I was supposed to call first thing yesterday, but I didn't. I will call as soon as I post this thing, I swear.

-> And when I got back to Chuck, he'd got himself a parking ticket. It's not his fault. When I put the quarters in the meter, I didn't know that I was never coming back.

I just called. Goddammit. My next appointment is on Wednesday at 1:00. Next one with Dr. German, that is. I've got another filling going in Tuesday at 10:00. I really picked the wrong month to quit sniffing glue.

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