Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Trip to the Doctor and Dentist

"Bubba Teeth" photo courtesy of Toothfairy Teeth, makers of Halloween gimmick teeth
( linked in title bar )

It’s shaping up to be one of those kind of weeks. Actually it started off this past Friday when I thought I was coming down with some kind of bug. I won’t go into details other than to explain that I had to wait until Monday for an appointment at the local clinic. I also noticed that the filling in my front tooth, the white look alike substance that has been slowly eroding over the past twenty years is no longer slowly eroding; it’s dissolving minute by minute now. Lucy is good at setting up appointments, what’s one more?

I had to shell out twenty dollars as I walked in the front door just so the doctor can tell me I have swollen glands in my neck and write a prescription for some antibiotics. Everyone has to make a living so I suppose I should be happy that my co-pay bill was only twenty. I drove over to the pharmacy and shelled out fifty five dollars for my prescriptions and went home to bed. That was Monday.

Today I thought I was going to have some minor dentistry done, clean up the old fillings with new look alike white substance that will last another twenty years or so; wrong. I find out that two of my front teeth have major cracks and that the ones on either side also have some cracks. So, I ask, “What is it going to take to fix them?” After learning that the word “crown” is involved; having had one along with the emptying of my cash reserves, I find that the dentist means “crown” times four”.

I already have a certain edginess around dentists; not that they aren’t nice folks, just that they can inflict serious pain to both my mouth and my wallet in the blink of an eye. The financial clerk from the front office sat down with a printed version of all the procedures necessary to completely fix my four front teeth, the temporary crown, x-rays, lab work and the fancy ceramic crown that will be ready in twenty one days. She then asked how I planned to pay for the $ 2800 bill, which is the reduced version of what would have been a $ 4600 bill had I not had a really good dental plan.

I phoned Lucy and asked if she had an extra $ 2800 floating around in her purse and then signed the form promising to pay off the entire amount in 3 months with no interest; and the dentist had told me the most painful part would be the several numbing shots of Novocain, I really dislike that part too.

The next part was almost comical as the technician/helper placed a large semi-liquid glob of gooey stuff in my mouth followed by what looked like some kind chalking gun with thick yellow stuff to fill in the blanks. I mentioned that I was going to check the bathroom later on and if I found the toilet had been sealed with the same funky yellow chalking material I was hiring a lawyer; they all let out a muffled laugh, maybe the Novocain was starting to work. The dentist drilled, buffed and sanded my teeth until I was afraid to look in a mirror. Imagination working hard along with partial sensation to my tongue led me to believe that I might be in the running for “poster boy” in the state of West Virginia; think about the movie Deliverance and it will make more sense.

An hour and a half later I have my mouth back, all except the feeling in my nose, upper lip and my jaw felt like one solid piece of concrete. The taste of solvents and glue still lingered as I rinsed and then pulled pieces of yellow rubbery plastic stuff from out of my beard. The temporary crown in place I went home and waited for the Novocain to wear off.
Now my tongue is asking, “Whose mouth is this?” as it feels around for the familiar landmarks and finds instead, that while close to what used to be there, it’s an alien being that has taken root. I hope the ceramic crown feels and looks a little better. So, how’d your day go?

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