Two more hours until my root canal. Not really worried about it though. I actually welcome the pain and discomfort as it is my belief that enduring it means eventually I won’t have pain when I chew or an idle jaw that throbs synchronously with my pulse. You know, the irritating thing is that this will be the fifth (5th) time that I have gone to this dentist to fix the same problem. Furthermore, I went to this guy because the last one couldn’t fix my problem either. I know, I know…story of a hypochondriac, right? No wrong. What am I supposed to do if I can feel hot and cold liquid trickle down into my lower mandible and torment my nerves until it makes me cry?
The first guy was a hack, that’s actually why I didn’t go back. Aside from him not being able to solve my issue, I was in a room with all the other patients, sitting in a row looking at each other. Are you envisioning that correctly? That’s right – everybody in one room, right next to each other. All the equipment was plugged into power strips with the cords strewn across the floor. No joke. Total chop shop and after one brief x-ray and discussion about my tooth, I was outta there. Didn’t hurt bad enough to convince me to take any kind of mind altering drugs in that place, that’s for sure.
And then there is my new guy. First it was easy. I told him about the pain, he took a look and said Wow, that’s a really old filling. Looks like it needs to be removed and replaced. Fair enough. It was an old filling. A few shots and a little drilling later I was home and chewing on my tongue. But guess what? Nothing changed. I went back, he scratched his head. Then he diagnosed a hairline crack in my tooth and went to work. More shots. More drilling. More pain. Same problem. So we did it again. Pay attention – I’ve been to this guy three times to this point, been stuck with needles and drilled on every time and my problem is still ever-present. Strike that. My problem is worse.
That pretty much brings us current. The bottom line is that I requested this root canal. I went back into my guy, reluctantly. I talked to my wife about whether or not I should go to a new dentist and she convinced me that having someone start over on what is apparently a complicated problem was probably a tougher road than just gutting it out with my current dentist. Makes sense (I guess). So I went back in to the office a few weeks ago and had a heart to heart with the guy, who is a big and boisterous man, and it went a little something like this:
Yeah that really surprises me.
Really? Because it doesn’t surprise me. Because I’ve been back before. So can we talk about how to kind of up the ante here? I mean…I don’t want to come back again.
(sigh) Well, let’s get in there today and see what’s going on. We can…
Pain. Pain is going on. It’s the same pain, so can we skip the exploratory part? It’s the same as last time, but worse.
So you’re getting a lot of pain?
Is it keeping you up at night?
(sigh*2) I’m not going to sugar coat this. We may be just a few more steps away from a root canal.
Can we just skip them?
What do you mean?
Yeah, fuck it. Can we just do a root canal?
Well, you want to do that?
Uh, no. We’ll have to schedule it. Now let me just say a few words here. A lot of people get really freaked out when they hear ‘root canal.’ I think it goes back to the times when the procedure…
Hey there – that’s cool. I am requesting this so I’m good with it.
I just don’t want you to be scared.
Mission accomplished. So when do we do it?
My assistant will find a day that works for you…not today though, I know that works for you, but we can’t do it.
(I get up) Great…see you later. See you soon.
Just one more thing. Can you sit down here just for a second?
Ok. What’s up?
Well, I just want to tell you what to expect. Basically, what we’re going to do is drill down into the tooth real deep. It’s like a really deep filling. Once we’re in, we’ll cut off the blood supply and pull out the nerves and…
Hey listen – I don’t mean to be rude in cutting you off, really. And if you are going to need me to help out during the procedure, by all means, continue. If you aren’t going to need my help, I’ve got all the info I need. No more details necessary. I’m going to check in with the secretary and make sure she picks the first available date for my 5th visit. Thanks for the expediency.
That was two weeks ago. Today I am sitting beneath a lead vest waiting for Dr. Death to shoot more radioactive waves into the side of my face in an effort, once again, to make sure he is accurately diagnosing what’s going on in my mouth. After that he’ll warm up the drill and go to work. Again. So, here’s me, like a frustrated poker player with two Jacks and simply not enough chips to keep hanging around the table, I am all in.