As I begin this post, I am drinking steamy, milky, sugar-sweetened coffee through a straw.
I spent two hours at the dentist this morning and the numbness has not worn off. The mirror reflects a slight uneveness in the closing of lips, while the physical mouth feels it is blown up like a beach ball. An unfeeling beach ball.
Two months ago, a piece of tooth detached itself and added a crunch to the chewing gum in my mouth. I verbalized the word “crap” silently in my head (since it happened at work) and quickly realized that the 2013 tax refund would be paying for the misbehaving remnant of tooth, a/k/a a crown. Another silent “crap” formed. There goes the start of the 2014 camping fund.
Small talk with the dentist and dental assistant began the appointment. “Boy, it’s cold outside.” “Yes, I know, I’m wearing my usual three layers of clothes.” “I see you have your Packer sweatshirt on…watching the Super Bowl?” “Yes, I am.” Blah, blah, blah. The usual warm-up before the torture. The dentist matches the correct shade of my tooth.
Then the dental assistant asks, “What flavor do you want? We have cherry, strawberry, raspberry, mint, grape.” I asked what she was talking about, wondering if they were handing out candy before the appointment, so that I would be happy and behave during drill-fest. The assistant answers and I learn that it’s the numb before the numb. The numb that numbs your gums so that the dentist can give a painful numbing shot. “This will take the sting away!” decrees the dentist. “Oh good!” I squeal, secretly knowing there will still be pain involved. I picked cherry, only because chocolate flavor was not a choice.
A few numbing minutes later…
One shot. Two shots. Three shots. I thought the third shot was a bit excessive and meant more for an elephant than diminutive me. Was that necessary? The entire right side of my jaw and face were numb before the third shot entered. Is that called throwing salt on the wound? It’s bad enough that it takes the dentist forever to give each shot, slow torture watching him push down on the syringe…one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three….
On to the drilling. Yee-haw!
What I noticed during the drilling session…
- A Marquette University dental school certificate on the wall. Marquette is a good school, I’m somewhat impressed.
- A bright light glows above. If I were a fly, I might have been attracted.
- The air duct grate looms on the other wall, out of which very little heat escaped.
- The constant spray of water spewing from the drill and my mouth.
- The dental assistant telling me to “suck it” and then telling me to make it quick.
- The elephant numbing shots were working. I only felt trauma once, which was a dull feeling of what would have been extreme pain had I not had the elephant numbing shots.
- American Woman playing on the radio.
- The chatter of the other patients and dental assistants in the office, who are in small talk mode.
- A statue of a dentist was sitting on a shelf. I wonder why?
- The constant thoughts of “Are we done yet? Are we done yet? Are we done yet?”
And we’re done. I now have a spike instead of a tooth and the numbness has spread to the side of the nose.
The dentist proceeds with the finishing touches…getting the temporary tooth ready; filling the space where the tooth once was with blue gunk so someone can make a pretty tooth that looks like the original; temporarily gluing said temporary tooth in place; telling me not to chew gum, eat licorice and any tacky or gummy food for the next two weeks.
No gummy food? No gummy bears?
The dental assistant leads me out to the front and I make a quick beeline to the ladies’ room. I had coffee before the appointment. Next appointment is in two weeks, when I get the real fake tooth and pay the bill with my 2014 camping fund. I suppose it’s worth it if I can safely chew on a bratwurst this summer. Or a gummy bear in two weeks.
It is mid afternoon as I finish this post and I believe I can feel all of my face. My jaw hurts a bit, as I suspected it would from the elephant shots and drilling, but I should be able to drink liquids without a straw or sippy cup at my next meal.
I will feel much better after a visit to the massage therapist and to Natasha’s place for a glass of wine, don’t you think?