Whoever said that history repeats itself was bang on the money. I am sitting here, with a mouthful of gauze after spending three and a half hours at the dentist.
Now, I am British, but please refrain from the clichéd jokes about our teeth and food.
But, I did have a crown on one of my upper teeth, which twice a year invariably came off and I would go and have it cemented back in place.
Well, last night, whilst eating fajitas, off the bugger came. I was not too concerned as I reckoned after a quick visit to the dentist all would be well in my mouth again.
My appointment was at one this afternoon.
I was in high spirits as I sped along the freeway. It is a good twenty mile drive. If you recall my wife’s sister is this dentist’s dental hygienist, so it is worth the drive.
I arrived at the offices a couple of minutes after one, grabbed a book from my vehicles back seat, and sped into the lobby. As I waited for the elevator to descend, I figured I would be out in an hour, and back at my desk by two-thirty. Not too bad.
As I walked in, I was greeted with a cheer hello from the receptionist- and within a couple of minutes I was ushered back into one of the dentist’s cubicles.
Within a matter of moments the dentist came in, we exchanged the usual quick fire of jokes that is our habit.
“Have you been eating English toffee again?” Etc. etc.
It is comforting having a relaxed relationship with the dentist; it brings the level of trust up several notches.
However the smile on his face evaporated as he peeked inside my mouth.
“The root has splintered,” he said dryly. “It is going to have to come out.”
“Remember last time you extracted a tooth?” I quipped.
“Do I ever,” he said, “But front teeth have much smaller roots, and it should be relatively straightforward.”
I will send Rhonda in to numb you up; I will be back in about thirty minutes.”
With that he left, and moments later Rhonda, my wife’s sister appeared with her needles.
It was at that moment I began to focus on the music, it was on a channel that plays love songs all day. Lionel Ritchie was sinking one of his hits from the eighties.
Again there was an exchange of polite, friendly banter.
“Open wide, she said and I realized I could no longer avoid the inevitable.
The first injection, into the gum around my broken tooth stung a little.
“Now for the tricky one,” she said.
Then she injected me in the top of the mouth. Now, anyone reading these words will appreciate that is darn painful. A tear welled up in my eye.
“Just one more,” she said, as I noticed it was now Air Supply playing in the background.
Then she injected me again in the roof of my mouth. The surface tension that was holding the tear in place broke, and the tear dragged itself down my right cheek.
With that she left me alone, with Rod Stewart crooning in the background. My mind was beginning to dwell on my last extraction. I picked up my book, and began to read.
Forty minutes pass, and the dentist rejoins me, with his main assistant. The assistant began to break open the sanitized stainless tools, and I looked on in apprehension.
Then the fun and games began.
I won’t share with you how the next twenty minutes went. Suffice to say that the dentist did a log of struggling.
“You must have jinxed me<’ he said half-heartedly. It was then I began to feel pain. I waved my right hand about. He withdrew his implements from my mouth. “Pain,” I said tasting the blood. Everything paused. He left the room and came back with another needle, and a forth injection was administered. “Back in fifteen minutes,” he said, then left the cubicle shaking his head in frustration He once more left me alone with my thoughts, my book, and the love songs playing in the background. This time I believe it was the Bee Gee’s- although I could be mistaken. Twenty minutes later he returned. This time assisting wasn’t his well seasoned assistant, but a new hire. “Open your mouth as wide as you can and turn your head to the left.” I complied. “Fetch me the two by two,” he asked the nurse “Huh?” she replied. “That is not a good sign,” I thought. “That long thing over there.” The dentist added pointing. Well another hour goes by, and my jaw is beginning to ache from being kept open for so long. “Grab me the sutures.” The dentist said. “Hallelujah fait complete,” echoed through my brain. “Huh?” the assistant added. Lou Rawls’, what a beautiful world, began to play in the background. “The thread,” the dentist said, allowing his frustration to show in his voice. As he began to stitch me up, he mumbled “I usually use dissolvable stitches in the front, not the black thread, still it will work.” Five minutes later, I was dazed, but the job was finished. I was given a box of gauze, some printed instructions, and asked if I wanted any prescription pain pills. As I already am on various medications, I declined. He advised me to take extra strong Tylenol. By now it was after four. I waited for the elevator, drooling blood. As people glared at me in horror…Knowing full well what I must have had endured, the elevator sunk to the ground floor. The half a dozen folks, of whom I had shared the ride downward with, ushered me out first. I could see empathy in their eyes. When I made it to my vehicle I realized that I was trembling. I also realized that I had not eaten all day…And now, I could not eat for four-five hours after the bleeding stops. I further realized, living in southern California, that traffic was going to be, and excuse the harshness of my language here, a bugger. It is a little after five thirty now- I have been home forty-five minutes, I am still bleeding, I am hungry, and I am grouchy. So I decided to do what I enjoy doing most of all. To write. I am due back at eleven tomorrow morning. Wish me luck, as I think I am going to need it. Paul P.S. on a brighter note i have several audioplays to be found here: www.brokensea.com