Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ms. V goes to the dentist

I hate going to the dentist. Really. I really, really hate it. I can barely manage having my teeth cleaned. Imagine my dismay when I was told at my last check-up that I needed a crown. Abso-frakkin-lutely-fabulous.

I showed up today for an appointment that I was told should only take an hour and a half. The nice assistant called me back, settled me into a comfy chair and offered me a Newsweek. Not too long after, the nice dentsit arrived, swabbed some topical anesthetic on the inside of my cheek and jabbed a needle full of novacaine into my mouth. He walked away to let it work its magic and I settled back down with my Newsweek.

This is where the problem began to take shape. The people at my dentist's office are normally very quick. You don't wait to get called back to the comfy chair, you don't wait to have your checkup, you don't wait for your filling. They get you in, get you taken care of, ask for your money, then send you on your merry way. Today, however, was a different story. After the glorious (sarc) shot of novacaine, my dear ole' dentist had to attend to a few other patients. I waited. Then I waited some more. I finished the Newsweek and started reading Forbes. I continued to wait. Somewhere in my waiting I thought "Hey, if I wait much longer they won't be able to finish putting this crown on before the novacaine wears off." As it turns out, my psychic abilities are still quite sound. Read on...

The dentist finally arrived to work his magic. He drilled, ground, chipped, and drilled some more until the only remnant of "tooth 15" was a tiny, foreign-feeling nub. He took pictures, played on his computer, designed my new tooth, then turned the whole project over to the hygenist and walked away. His work was finished. The hygenist became an artist, finished designing my tooth, then said "it'll take about 20 minutes to make it" and walked away. In that 20 minutes, you can probably guess what happened: the novacaine started to wear off. The waiting had been too much. Oh lord. Read on...

Hygenist #2 arrives and reminds me of Nurse Ratchet. I can tell this is going to be a fun ride. She doesn't introduce herself, treats my poor mouth like it's a slab of meat, and uses my chest as an additional table-top for her tools. Great. To make matters worse, as she's cleaning up my hopeless little nub, preparing it for the crown, I start to cringe and squeam. The following conversation then took place:
Nurse Ratchet: "Did you feel that?"
Me: "Yeah, a bit."
Nurse Ratchet: "You're starting to thaw. Would you like another shot?"
Me: "How much left do you have to do?"
Nurse Ratchet: "Not much, mostly just rinsing and drying."
Me: "I'll be alright if it's quick." (This is perhaps the dumbest sentence I've ever uttered.)

Nurse Ratchet picked up her mini-fire hose and proceeded to blast the living daylights out of my mouth. Now, I don't know if any of you have ever had ice-cold water blasted onto the root of a tooth, but I can assure you it's painful. Imagine your tooth being electrocuted. Yeah, that's what it felt like. Blinding, white-hot pain shot up the mandibular branch of my trigeminal nerve (c'mon - I'm a PA student remember? Technical terms will be used). I cringed. I squeamed. I gripped the sides of the comfy chair like it was binding me to life. I tell Nurse Ratchet "I'm completely thawed. I felt it all. Are you almost done?" She seems to take pleasure in my pain and responds with a blast of ice-cold air to the same poor tooth root. Great. The bright side is that the worst was over. Once she put the crown on, it had a mild analgesic in the cement and the root was no longer exposed. My mouth was still a slab of meat and my chest was still an extra table for her instruments, but I survived.

Funny how I never would have felt a thing if they had worked on me a bit sooner, giving them time to finish everything before the novacaine wore off, huh? Funny how, with the waiting, my hour-and-a-half appointment turned into a two-and-a-half hour appointment. Oh well. They're a good bunch overall. I'll forgive them. Besides, it's the same dental group that Bernie Sanders uses, so you really can't go wrong if Bernie likes them. ;) I saw him there at my last check-up. Awesome.

In the end, dear readers, this was my excitement for the day. My tooth is still sore, my gums are still swollen, the whole thing feels funny because I technically have another foreign object stuck in my mouth, but I'm pretty satisfied with my new tooth overall. :)

Ms. V

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You'll laugh, I promise (part deaux)

This is the funniest Saturday Night Live skit I've seen in a long time.

A good rule of thumb is: never turn your back on a cactus.
Ms. V