Friday, August 6, 2010

Tooth Hurty

 I wish that everyone had a dental office like mine to go to, both for regular checkups and for emergencies.  Last week, I foolishly ate a granola bar, when I really should have been diving into a bowl of cheese grits.  For my effort at eating healthy, something went wrong.  Naturally, I tried to play it off as "one of those things," until I realized that chunks of food almost the size of Lindsay Lohan's prison file were getting caught up there.  

My own efforts at inspection and repair (toothpick, dental floss, 1/4" drill) yielded no results, so there was nothing to do but make that call and hope for an appointment.  Dr Noppinger was able to see me that same day, so I arranged for the care of my personal effects, said goodbye to some close and beloved co-workers, and got in the truck to drive that Green Mile to his office.  The whole way over, I cursed myself for eating that granola bar.  After all, a granola bar is really nut-flavored plywood, so who needs 'em?  

The time in the waiting room was pleasant, as always. Ruth, the lovely and kind office manager, makes sure that all of my favorite magazines are available (except for Highlights for Children, the absence of which makes it kind of tough to keep up with Goofus and Gallant.)  I read in People magazine about Carrie Underwood's starry wedding to a hockey guy, Kim Kardashian going to a beach (and the article proved the point that when someone tells her to 'haul ass,' she has to make two trips!) and was just about read up on just what wrong with those two crazy kids, Bristol and Levi.  

And then the warden came to the door.

In the movies, it was always Pat O'Brien - not that
one, this
one - who came to tell the condemned man, "It's time, Rocky."  This was a nice lady, a dental assistant who was later to wield the suction machine and who knows what-all else in the battle soon to be fought, and she walked me back to the chamber and fitted me with a set of manacles and chains, cleverly disguised as a neck bib thingie.  Once that was around me, there was no turning back, and yes, I heard Pat O'Brien talking to me, wearing that black suit with the pure white collar, asking if I were ready to "meet my maker," or he might have said "meet Anita Baker."  They play that lite rock in the office.  But he definitely was there in my fevered mind.

In just a few seconds, the able doctor was able to figure out what was wrong...a worn-down contact he prepared for surgery.  I have to say, if you remember the old way they would give you anesthesia before dental work, what a drag, eh?  The needle would hurt going in and coming out and for days thereafter.  Now, he had given me the injection while the best parts of my life were still passing in front of my eyes, and by the time I relived the great party that our neighbors threw for me and Peggy on our 25th anniversary, I was already unconscious, shaved, and prepped for surgery.

No, just kidding.  I was all numbulated and ready for the drill.  And for all my trepidation, it did not even hurt.  Dr Bob had to drill out the old filling - kind of like, handypeople, when a bolt gets rusted into a nut and no amount of Liquid Wrench will free it so you have to drill that sucker out - which only took a few minutes of my life.  Then he stuffed magic silver putty into the cavity, had me rinse 'n' spit, and I was on the way back to the office, with a warning against eating for an hour. 

The whole way back, bluebirds were singing and the sun shone and there was music in the air.  I wonder why people make such a big thing about going to the dentist.  Bunch of babies!  Thanks Dr Bob and Ruth and staff!

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