Archive for Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Should have know that was a lucky tooth

June 18, 2003

I was thrilled last Monday, racked with pain from my abscessed tooth and told by my dentist that it would have to come out, when I was able to get an appointment scheduled so easily for Friday. I should have known better.

It didn't hit me until later on in the week, after the antibiotics had brought the swelling down and I was no longer on the brain-fogging pain pills, the reason why I was able to get in so quickly. It was going to be Friday the 13th.

Oh, boy, now there's a date to get your tooth pulled. Believe me.

I know I have a superstitious streak in me that really is uncalled for. I can't tell you the number of times I've worn the same clothes -- underwear and all -- for each of the next football games after a victory. Sorry, that's just the way I am.

Although I had never technically had anything truly devastating befall me on Friday the 13th, I've always been leery of that date. It just always seemed prudent to not take any chances.

So, you can imagine my horror when I figured out what Friday was and the procedure I was about to go through. This could not be good. It just couldn't.

Well, it wasn't.

Now mind you, I don't blame the dentist at all. She was doing the tough job in front of her. In fact, all-in-all, she did a commendable job. Really.

She deadened the jaw with that needle. You know the one -- "this may sting just a little." It certainly did. Actually, that first shot stung a lot ... as did the second. The third and fourth weren't so bad, though. Then she gave me about 10 minutes for the shots to take effect.

Yes, my tongue was numb and I couldn't talk very well. She said she'd try it to see if I was ready. One poke with that prod, or whatever name you call that nasty hooked instrument of pain, indicated we certainly weren't ready yet. She gave me another series of deadening shots and those, admittedly, weren't bad at all.

After waiting a few minutes, it was time for the poker again. Youch. Nope, we still weren't there yet. She hit me with another series of shots and I didn't feel those at all. Third time's the charm, I thought stupidly to myself.

This time there was no more trying it out. She went right after it. First she hacked the tooth in two. Yes, doc, I can feel that. Then she yanked the first half out. I held onto the arms of that chair like a life preserver so I wouldn't go with it. Oh, baby, did I feel that one.

But, that was nothing compared to the second half of the tooth. I don't think I've ever experienced pain quite like that. Despite the fingers, instruments and whatever else was in my mouth along with my now worthless tongue, I was very well able to get a real live "Ouch" out. Had my tongue really been working, I'm likely to have said a few more choice words.

So there I was, remembering the root canal I'd had so many years ago and how that pain had gone on and on and on. I was bracing myself for 30 or 40 more minutes of this wonderful procedure. But then I could tell that it felt like she was suturing the stitches to close it up. I wasn't sure, though, until she said "okay, I'm going to move the chair forward because I don't want you standing up too quick."

My two-ton tongue somehow flopped out the words "you mean you're done?" She said "yes, oh, I'm sorry, I should have told you that." I couldn't believe it. Although it had truly been the most painful experience I've had in the dentist's chair, it didn't last long. It was over, thank goodness. I got up and moved as fast as I could out the door, hoping against hope that she didn't remember she'd forgotten some last-minute tooth torture. She hadn't.

I guess it was my lucky day.

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