Saturday, June 2, 2012

I don't suck. I'm not allowed.

Do you remember that commercial with Wise Old Owl helping the child figure out how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? That's me with any hard candy. I'm never content to let it melt away slowly, no matter how advisable it might be. When your dentist tells you not to chew ice or hard candy and not to open things with your teeth he's pretty serious.

Chomp. Chomp. I chewed the Tic Tacs. The first indication that something was wrong was not the crunchy noise. It was the feeling that my mouth was somehow incomplete. It's hard to explain, but even the slightest shift in your bite can be felt immediately. I ran my tongue back to where my Spidey senses noticed the change.

"Sonofabitch!" Where there had once been a filling, now was a very jagged gaping crack in the back wall of my molar. There was no pain.  It was simply a spot my tongue continued to find, long after I'd brushed and examined the damage. "Well no pain is good." I said to myself as I sat down to examine my brand new dental policy. Talk about timing! "Sonofabitch!" This word was quickly moving to the top of my usable vocabulary. Due to the enrollment period, my new policy is not effective until July 1. One solid month away.

I convinced myself that I could simply wait out the month, and schedule an appointment for the beginning of July to address my dental dilemma. As I took my first sip of coffee yesterday my plans changed. The white hot flash of pain that hit me was enough to make my body go into mini-convulsions. Then the after shocks started. If I were a cartoon you'd have seen my cheek physically bulging with each throb that pulsed through that exposed nerve. I allowed myself a single tear and a whimper as my fingers moved shakily over the keyboard in search of my dentist's phone number.

Obviously my dentist doesn't work Fridays. I say "obviously" because there is no other way for these things to happen. I quickly located an office to help me, booked the first free time slot they had, and jumped in my car. Thirty minutes later, as I lay in the chair with my eyes closed, the doctor confirmed my worst fear. "We won't be able to save this one, but I can pull it if it's bothering you." he said. "Just take it. How long until I can get an implant? I don't want to have a missing tooth, I smile too much for that." I replied. "Give it 3-4 weeks to heal and we'll check your jaw to make sure the bone is strong enough." came the response.

He proceeded then to numb me up right. I've not had much dental work that required numbing, but I must say this guy (Dr. Johnson @ Neighborhood Dental) is good! Zero pain dentistry is the way to go. As badly cracked as my tooth was, the rest of the tooth was apparently pretty damned healthy. There was a lot of pressure and what felt like someone was standing on my jaw. During a brief moment of no pulling, I opened my eyes and saw my dentists shaking his arms like a body builder might do between sets. He meant business.

Once the job was complete and I'd been handed my bill, it occurred to me that it might not have been the best idea to have this done the day before my friend's wedding. As I reviewed the after-care instructions my face slipped into sad sagging mode, and not just from the effects of the numbing which leaves you looking like you've just suffered a mild stroke.

1. Eat only soft foods (So no crispy chicken?).
2. No strenuous activity (Um, what about the wedding dance?).
4. Do not drink through a straw (But that's how I drink my cocktails!).
4. No alcohol (WTF? It's a wedding!).

There might as well have been a bullet point that said "don't do anything one might do at a wedding". When I returned to work (Yeah... that's how I am. I go back to work.) I showed the instructions to my boss and gave a half-hearted laugh. "Check out this list of rules I have to follow. So much for the wedding fun tomorrow. This sucks!" I said. To which he replied, "Yeah, doesn't look like you get to do any of that either."

Now it's time to get my non-drinking, non-dancing, non-sucking ass ready for the event. Have a terrific weekend kids and don't do anything I wouldn't do... if I could, which I can't, so I won't, but you go right ahead!

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