Monday, April 10, 2006

root canal is actually four words

Today started out just about as lovely as a day in early April could. Birds, sunshine, mild breeze, buds starting to appear on trees, a pegasus flying across the puffy popcorn clouds and blue sky...okay maybe not the pegasus thing.

Then you go to this silly place called a dentist because you've had a minor pain in one of your tooths for about, oh, three months. You figured you'd just keep flossing and everything would be okay. Then you start to wonder about it possibly being a broken filling. You dismiss from your mind the two most dreaded words in the world of dentistry almost as quickly as you thought them. And you go to the dentist.

Then you sit in the chair, put your pretty bib on, and wait. You notice the floor needs a good mop and question the cleanliness of the man's teeth tools. Dirty floor=Dirty Drill? Possibly. You choose to not think on it. You choose not to think about a lot of stuff when you're sitting there.

Your dentist barely pokes at anything before he announces that you do not have a broken filling, that indeed you have a broken TOOTH. Indeed. His hands are still in your mouth so the only socially appropriate way to respond to this news is to widen your eyes to the size of hub caps. You resist the urge to throw his hands out of your mouth and exclaim, "Shut UP!"

Then the dentist explains that the likely reason for a broken tooth at your age is, and I quote, "a monstrous cavity." Oh bliss. Dentist goes away, and dental assistant comes in to take a couple pictures of your tooth. He lays that heavy x-ray blanket thing on you, and STILL your mind refuses to rest on the dreaded two words.

Dental assistant goes away and you wait. You listen to John Mellencamp sing about how he can breathe in a small town, but wonder if that's really true since the man smokes about 15 packs a day and probably hasn't been able to take a deep breath since he was 7.

Dentist comes back with "bad news". Your countenance changes to helpless victim in one last effort to prevent the reality from happening. Feebly you utter the words, "does this bad news involve two words?" He nods in the affirmative. You smile out of pure denial.

In your particular case, however, two words doesn't quite cut it. Dentist Man throws in a third word: "Emergency". Ah. Good. A word that always puts one immediately at ease. As if the two words, without the qualifying "Emergency", weren't enough to open the anxiety floodgates. Dentist asks if you've been in pain. Well, yeah sure you have. Dentist asks why you haven't come in sooner. Carefully you explain in as polictically correct a way as you can that you simply don't like his kind. You think all his kin need to be rounded up and shot. He takes the criticism well...for a dirty, good for nothing Dentist Man.

Okay, so now you've got THREE words vamping over and over in your brain as Dentist says something about calling this specialist, this Extra Dirty Devil Dentist Person, who is "really nice", that can perform the now three-worded deed for you. Dentist recommends this be done this week. Oh please. What is this...advanced cancer? No. It's a tooth. But then Dentist speaks to you with added concern as he issues another fun phrase: "pain you have not yet experienced in this lifetime."

And an hour later from now, you walk back out into the gorgeous New England afternoon to enjoy the rest of your half sick day. Perhaps you'll go to a movie, or go home and straighten up your room, or hop onto your laptop so you can post a long overdue report on your life and how you've added a FOURTH word to the official definition of the worst news a dentist can give you: "STINKIN' EMERGENCY ROOT CANAL." And the party in your mouth starts THIS WEDNESDAY AT 3:00 P.M.

Now did you really deserve to hear that? No. No you didn't.
Oh, honey. That's horrible!
Yikes! Godspeed, Mary Mary. We all want to hear that infectious laugh again soon.
Dearest Paka,
My most humble and sincere apologies...
I'm headed back to the D Word on the 27th of this month, and I haven't been in for over two years. I have a feeling my fate with be similar to yours...
Perhaps we can start a support group?
I had a root canal when I was 16. You might not believe me, but it wasn't that bad. At least, not any worse than the months of tooth pain that preceded it, or regular dentist torture methods like drillings and fillings and wisdom tooth pulling.

Funny story: while I was getting my root canal, the assistant lady who was in charge of taking the bloody things out of my mouth said to me conspiratorially, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but Dr. So-and-So thinks you have very beautiful lips. And that you look like a young Jodie Foster."

Yep, my lips are endodontist-recommended!
Oh that picture brought back horrible memories. Horrible, horrible memories.
Everyone, thank you. I'm really freaking out the more I think on it. So not looking forward. Anna, you better be right. But since I so don't have the lips a dentist would love to smooch, I'm guessing my root canal won't be as smooth sailing as yours.

Family and friends, I thank you for offering me your support. I am really. Really. Not looking forward to this. But it helps to have people know what's going on with me. Why does that help? Don't know, but it does.

That picture is very creepy. I also have a fear of the Evil Dentist and also, you are living one of my worst nightmares come true. It's why I haven't been to do the dentist in YEARS. It's not natural to have someone poking around in your mouth with sharp objects!

I am so completely feeling for you and you just let me know if you need me to come by with some ice cream or something.
I feel your pain. These are not fun, but let me tell you from exerience, the pain that would result from NOT doing this is much worse.

Let's just say Sarah has straight but soft teeth and the last dentist didnt quite get all of that cavity out, which turned into an abscess, and swollen jaw, and the most pain I have ever felt. Ever. And heavy drugs that knocked me out for days.

Good luck'll be fine.
Cat, if can score some ice cream and Catchka time from this, it's almost worth getting the dang root canal in the first place. Love you! Call you!

Sarita, wow. I'm counting my blessings now. You poor thing! The very word, "abscess", just sounds unbearable. Thanks for your support.

Paka, thanks for the chat. You're right, I've been through stranger things than this and did just fine. Thanks for calming me down.
Gah! Warn me before you post a picture like that.

I'm so sorry to hear about the rc (I'm just going to abbreviate, because everything seems better in abbreviated form, except for KFC, which frankly had more appeal to me as Kentucky Fried Chicken because that just sounds homey). I'm now not a little worried about my overly sensitive molar on the upper right side of my mouth.

Good luck! I'll say a little prayer for you that you get lots of happy gas and pain meds!
Abscess is a very eery word. Whenever I hear it, read it, think of it, I think of my first introductions to it when I was little. Playing with my Speak and Spell. The automated robot voice who would repeat the words to you said it as if he had it. "AAAaaabbbbscessss!!!!" It was scary then, scary now.

It will be alright, Mary. I hope this dentist man knows what he's doing and it does alright. i'll be thinking of you and say a little prayer for you. forever and ever you'll stay in my heart and i will love you. forever and ever that's how it will be to live without you, but only be heartbreak for me. woo oooo oooo ooo...
That is so awful. I hope it all goes okay. And if I were in Boston, I'd totally bring you ice cream w/ Cat.
Mary? Are you okay?
Kim! Everyone! I made it! It's Thursday, 10:00 a.m. eastern. I'm sore, but doing dandy.

Post-op post coming soon complete with aftermath photos that will make you laugh. Well, they made me laugh.

Thanks again, everyone for all the molar support!
what, you're too busy red lighting so you can't blog?
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