Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dentists in Hell, July 2009

A little gem from the files while I try to come up with something profound to say about spirituality.

I have been sick with some vile illness and toothache for six days. Never one to suffer alone, I have decided to share with you, my friends, the saga of my personal hell. (And just in case red flags are waving in the back of your mind – no, I am NOT a drama queen. I am SICK, damn it!)

July 15, 2009
8:00 am: Typical day at work. Meetings, lectures, therapy sessions.

9:30 am: Toothache. What?! Toothache? Shit.

10:15 am: This fricking tooth is getting worse by the minute. No! No toothache! Consider immediate retreat into denial, which I do very well. However, if I ignore it, I will probably wake up in the middle of the night begging God to allow me to die. Or I can go to my dentist, Dr. “Mengele” (name changed to protect myself from a lawsuit) in which case he will laugh at me, tease me by tapping on said tooth with sharp objects that have nothing to do with diagnosis/treatment, and cheerfully give me whatever bad news is pending. (This is the same tooth that he put a terribly matched crown on 6 years ago – and when I complained, he said “Well no big deal, it’s in the back.” Yes he really said that, and I don’t want to hear any blah, blah, blah about assertiveness, when having him do it over would result in more ridicule and painful payback with aforementioned dental instruments of torture.)

This is a problem. Because I? Am afraid of dental procedures in general, and any dentist who does not cater to this with sympathy and prodigious amounts of drugs is simply unacceptable. Foot massages and aromatherapy would be a bonus and guarantee my undying loyalty. “But" you say,” there must be more than one dentist in your town – go somewhere else!” *Note to city dwellers: Small town = less heat at night, less traffic 24/7, everyone knows your name at the bank, grocery store, post office, hell everywhere. And… small towns mean socializing with most people seen professionally – Dr. Mengele and wife instigated wine tasting parties which involve good wine and food which Husband and I have participated in and even hosted. Awkward to say the least if I bailed on his dental practice and then ran into him at one of said soirees.

12:00 pm: Whining to Dagney about toothache and dentist dilemma. She tells me to ditch Dr. “Angel of Death” and switch to Dr. Competent, whose office is run by his wife, an effusive South American who is said to be very kind and helpful. (Not that Dr. Mengele’s wife isn’t kind and helpful, and his hygienists are so much fun that getting my teeth cleaned is almost something to look forward to, but really, Dr. M is an ass, and there is only so much one can take.)

12:01 pm: I realize that I have hated Dr. M for years; he is a barely competent dentist and a self-absorbed, poorly social skilled ass (seriously)! He brags about his condo in *location redacted for purposes of avoiding said lawsuit*, boat in *redacted at the advice of my attorney*, and AIRPLANE which he flies to *freaking redacted yet again*!!! (While casually prescribing another crown, I might add). And the only reason I have not changed dentists sooner is that this is such a small town; within minutes of switching dentists people will be cornering me in Safeway wondering why I made such a drastic move knowing that everyone will be talking about it, and I will have to drop out of the wine-tasting group (priorities, people, priorities!). And then…I have an epiphany. Nothing will piss that man off more than to know that not only have I abandoned his passive-aggressive ship; I have defected to his arch-enemy, Dr. Competent (Dr. M trash-talks Dr. Competent whenever he is not making inappropriate jokes about drilling the wrong tooth, bragging about the sailfish he caught last week in *redacted*, or telling me to stop whining when I say something hurts)! The elation associated with this may or may not have anything to do with my own passive-aggressiveness, but flipping off the man with the dead shark eyes while he has sharp things in my mouth has its own dangers.

4:30 pm: Met by the solicitous dentist's wife and warmly welcomed to Dr. Competent’s practice. Much fussing, clucking and generally sucking up to me later, I meet Dr. C, who (and I cannot stress this enough) CAREFULLY examines the offending tooth with his wife at my side patting my arm. This pleases me. Have I mentioned that I am a total wuss at the dentist? After x-rays and examination, Dr. C pronounces “root canal” and prescribes two antibiotics (“one for the bugs that need air, and one for the bugs that don’t”). A bit condescending since I did take biology and understand the concept of bacteria and stuff, but he redeems himself immediately by prescribing Vicoden for the pain. I think I’m going to like this man. Appointment for Monday for root canal and new (matching) crown.

6:30 pm: Vicoden bliss.

Day Two
5:30 am: Up for work, determined to bravely withstand pain without drugs while at work, because really? Opiates and counseling drug addicts SO do not mix.

6:00 am: Suddenly dizzy and alternately freezing and sweating. All this from a tooth? I mean, come on!

6:05 am: Having taken temperature, call in sick. Wondering if the troublesome tooth has poisoned my entire body. A new variation of the plague has been going around work. This does not bode well.

6:06 am: Sound asleep

7:20am: Awakened by tiny little trolls with jackhammers destroying my mouth. More of my friend Vic and antibiotics, then back to sleep.

9:15 am: Glass of water, collapse on couch.

3:00 pm: Wake up with dried drool on cheek couch. See??? I told you I was sick!

3:12 pm: Glass of milk and more antibiotics.

3:40 pm: Scattering animals and furniture as I race for the bathroom, I think, “Antibiotics my ass!” (No pun intended) More like Hiroshima!

5:00 pm: Feel like something scraped off the bottom of a shoe. Console myself by planting crops and trees in Farmville on Facebook.

5:05 pm: Check crops

5:10 pm: check crops again, urge them to grow faster.

5:11 pm: Decide to plant strawberries because they can be harvested in 4 hours, thereby earning more coins

5:12 pm: Wonder if I should get the MasterCard out and buy more coins so I can get some pigs and a barn for the farm. Shut laptop down in rare moment of insight.

6:07 pm: Headache, nausea, dead tired. More Vicoden. For pain, but also because a Jason Mraz song is ricocheting around in my head.

6:29 pm: Asleep

6:00 am: Bleh - still sick. Text my lovely and overworked co-worker April to let her know that I am dying.

6:15 am: My hair hurts. I take more Vicoden and go back to bed.

12:00 pm: Awake. Still sick, and to add insult to injury, I still have that Jason Mraz song stuck in my head.

1:00 pm: Obsessing about my crops again. Plant more strawberries and consider another apple tree. Decide to take another nap.

3:27 pm: Awakened by Scud breathing vileness in my face. And I thought I was nauseated before!

4:00 – 7:00: Several (as in about 40) more high speed trips to bathroom. Animals are getting skittish. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” is still playing in the background. What on earth made me download that stupid song in the first place???

7:05: Dizziness ensues, bed follows.

Woke from a nap with a perfectly vertical crease through my left eye and down my cheek from sleeping on my face to avoid noxious Scud breath. While napping, kitty purred prettily at my feet until her inner Lucifer awoke and she bit my ankle. *Note: Cats can surf ceiling fans.

Another sick day, excuse me I mean one more of only ten, count ‘em ten PTO days. Annnnnd, another new record! 6 1/2 hours of DVR’d crime shows in one sitting! Except for unpredictable sprints for the bathroom. If I could get satellite TV in the bathroom I’d give up on the couch and nap in the tub. Nauseated, exhausted, and headachy. No real sustenance in three days – if husband doesn’t come home soon, I shall starve to death. I mean, even when I’m not sick I’m so lazy that I’ll eat popcorn for days before I go to Safeway. When I’m sick and there is no food in the house, I simply don’t eat. One would think that this would reduce trips to le john. One would be wrong. Slept the other 4 hours before I went to bed. On the upside, the tooth is no longer a lesson in agony. Only mildly achy. This means the nuclear antibiotics are working, but I miss the Vicoden (woo woo) and consider taking it anyway. Mentally reviewing what I know about opiate addiction, I opt for ibuprofen. Damn it.

Husband is finally home! Hooray! I will not die alone!

Husband: “What do you need, honey?”
Me: “Sympathy…”
Husband: “Anything I can get you instead…?” Contemplating a crying jag, I remember that I’m married to a man who licks his wounds and growls at compassion (this is the same guy who drove himself to the doctor’s office in a standard transmission car with a shattered wrist after falling from the barn rafters. Apparently 911 is for pussies – who knew?).

In his defense, he goes to Safeway on Sunday (preferred grocery shopping day of retirement community in Wickenburg) and suffers the blue hairs and developmentally disabled checker on the express checkout aisle in order to provide me with provisions before going on another trip tomorrow. (I’m all for hiring the differently-abled, but one would think that “express” would equal “speed” wouldn’t one?) I have my first nutritious meal in days.

We watch “Gran Torino.” Husband chortles merrily at the racial epithets and ethnic slurs. My culturally competent and diversity-loving self looks the other way while I guiltily titter at said slurs. (I mean after all, it IS Clint Eastwood!)

Harvest eggplant and potatoes. Have enough coins to buy four fence panels, but not a gate. I just know the sheep are going to eat the potatoes I just planted! God, do I ever need to get back to work...
Tomorrow – root canal.

I arrive bleary and early for my root canal appointment, armed with my iPod loaded with ass-kicking rock-n-roll to neutralize the sounds of dental drill violence in my mouth (and that F*&%ing Jason Mraz). Once ensconced in the death chair by the dental assistant, draped in a bib and decked out in cool shades, the gracious dentist's wife appears at my side (and I swear I am not making this up) to anoint me with lavender essential oil, “for relaxation, sweetheart.” Aromatherapy! If they throw in a foot massage I might go home and break another tooth! (Not really.) Dr. Mengele, you are SO history!!! I dance on your snarky and sociopathic professional grave! And pffft! on your wine tastings. Why would I want to socialize with a man who can’t match tooth enamel anyway?

After the “procedure”, which DID NOT HURT ONE BIT, I call my MD and make an appointment to find out what the hell else is wrong with me (besides that my upper lip is hanging down past my chin). If April has to face eight families alone next week she will either kill me or die trying to do it alone. Neither is an acceptable outcome. April is what makes my job doable, what with all of the (ahem) distressed families and residents, and (ahem) disturbed people who run my place of employment. My top priorities for the week are: A) haircut tomorrow regardless of how sick I am. If I am going to die I want to look good; B) get a drug for whatever else this is that ails me (and that cannot be used by terrorists to take over a country by trapping all residents in the bathroom); C) kill Jason Mraz.

4:00 pm: Just returned from trip to MD. And ironically? Every single non-tooth-related symptom I have had is directly related to the chemical warfare quality drugs that I was prescribed for my tooth! Can you say “side effects?” I knew you could! Dr. C prescribed a “cannon to kill a fly” according to the MD. Resolution? Stop taking napalm, start taking probiotics, and all should be well in Sandy-land within a couple of days. All that PTO wasted? Doing the dental shuffle for this? I might move to the big city after all! I hear there are very good dentists in Ahwatukee…

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