All day long I kept thinking about my 5:50pm dentist appointment. Dreading it. I needed to get a porcelain onlay (a kind of a crown on molars) repaired. At my last X-ray they told me that I needed 2 of these done, plus one that is a couple of years old is chipped, and needs to be replaced. I got one of the new ones done a couple of months ago, and when they were all finished with the tortuous process the hygienist stepped back and announced: "That will last you a LONG time." I muttered that the first one I got had already chipped, and she kind of grumbled back "well they're supposed to last."
So I was tired from a long journey home from work which included a stop at my parent's house to pick up the kids, and lots of road construction delays. As soon as I walked in the house Larry announced that the dentist office had called, they had a cancellation and would like me to get in there as soon as I could. Ugh.
I waited around for a couple of minutes, looked out the window at the lake, and then reluctantly drove over there. I had to wait a while so I don't know what that "get here right away" message was all about, but I didn't mind too much because I get to read the trashy celebrity magazines in the waiting room. I love to look at the pictures of the celebs caught off guard going to the store and walking their dogs, but I would never buy the magazines myself (that would make me a guilty accomplice to the death of Princess Diana.) And it's my special way to make appointments and standing in grocery store lines a little more enjoyable.
Eventually the hygienist (or whatever her job is) takes me back to a room and asks me if I would like to have Kim "numb me up" while Dr. Dan finishes with another patient. I see this as an unanswerable question. "Who is Kim? What are my choices here?" I ask her back. She looks at me confusedly and leaves the room. I do the only activity available to me, which is look at my feet. My ankles look thick, could they be swollen from so much time in the car? Maybe I'm just overweight now, when did I become a person with fat ankles? I wonder if having them up in the air like this will reduce their size.
Then Dr. Dan comes in. "We've got Pina Colada flavor for the topical!" he says as he comes at my mouth with a cotton swab. I could tell he wanted me to act excited about that but I was too focused on what was coming next, which is that horrible puncture of a shot which he then swirls and shakes around inside of my cheek and jaw much longer than I can stand to think about.
"Any big plans for tonight?" Dr. Dan asks. I can't imagine what big plans I could possibly have for a Monday night in outer suburbia with a swollen and stretched out mouth that I cannot use to eat or talk with. Since I know he's just being friendly I say:
"Oh, y'know, depends on how I feel." Then he leaves and the hygienist tells me:
"Now we'll just let that numb up" and starts to leave the room.
"How long will that take?" I ask.
"Well, it depends on your body's reaction to the chemicals and..."
I interrupt her. "Can I have a magazine?" She looks relieved that's what I wanted and not the physiology of numbing, and goes out to get some.
She comes back with recent issues of Family Fun, Good Housekeeping, and Midwest Living. All of which I have at one time had subscriptions to, so she read me right, although I would secretly rather be comparing the differences between two celebrities wearing versions of the same dress. Still, it beats having to contemplate my feet again.
Once I am good and numb from my eyebrow to ear to jaw, Dr. Dan and Kim come in and drill, and then go out and use some high technology to digitally create a custom porcelain filling which they glue in and polish, all to my extreme discomfort.
Dr. Dan tells me to bite my teeth together and asks me how it feels. I do the hand gesture and shrug that is the international sign language for how the heck would I know when I can't feel half of my head?
When it's all over they look at their work and proclaim how great it looks. I just don't care that much how anything so far on the inside of my mouth appears, but I do the only thing I can which is to mumble at them:
I check out my feet one last time, I think my ankles are slimmer! I stagger over to the check out lady and she says that there is no charge for this, since it is a sort of warranty work on the one that chipped, and she gives me a wink.
Hours later at home I begin to regain some of the function and feeling in my mouth, and since I am ravenously hungry I get a slice of pepper jack cheese. I'm carefully chewing the cheese when I feel something that doesn't seem like a jalapeno. I spit out a little white chip of tooth. I look at it and I can't tell if it's the piece that they drilled out, or the new one, unglued. Damn.