Saturday, October 13, 2012

George Washington took the shortest cat nap ever here

You know that hole they tell you to stop digging? Well, we think we've put down our shovels only to find ourselves back at it. Dig, dig, dig. We sorta kinda gain on the backlog of bills from my two plus years of unemployment and then I go and do something stupid like crack a tooth. A crack, I ask. Can the repair wait?

No, intones The Dentist. You either get a crown immediately or you might DIE!

Laughing in the face of death (again), I put it off and off and off, rescheduling from one month to the next until even the sweetest scheduler ever got a little huffy with me. I also had to take Nate and Sophie in for long-deferred cleanings. My ability to wiggle out evaporated.

Me in the Kurt Vonnegut Barcalounger, a blue paper towel necklace, the right side of my face melting onto my shoulder. Dear, dear, Novocaine. The smell of ground tooth thick in the air as the dentist preps the tooth right next to my incisor.

Oh no.

The dental assistant gasps. Oh no and gasping are are not something one wants to hear while a perfectly fine, but slightly cracked tooth is being ground to a nub.

Yes? The dentist stops drilling.

We don't have any of the right color for the temporary.

Thus began a flurry of activity involving color samples and a mirror. This one? Maybe this one? Too dark. Too Chiclet. How are your teeth so white anyway? Dammit, woman, stop brushing with baking soda! 

We finally agree on a temporary crown color, I settle back into the Barcalounger and close my eyes.

I have never felt so sexy.

Uh oh.

My eyes fly open. The dentist doesn't even stop grinding before the assistant elaborates.

We forgot to include lab charges on the treatment plan. I'll go get a revised plan for her to sign.

The dentist drills. I wonder how much more this will cost. The assistant returns, the drilling stops and a clipboard is thrust before me. I lift the cataract surgery glasses from my eyes so I can see the growing numbers.

Sign here.

I glance over the form and my tongue edges toward my shaved tooth. Time stopped so I could consider consider my options. Halloween is coming up. I could sit on the front porch with a  lit votive in my mouth. Look mommy! A living Jack-o-Lantern! 

I could invent a story about a disturbed dental student bursting into a cinema where I was viewing (what movies are out right now?) and started drilling teeth. Too unbelievable. How about a disturbed dental student drilling strangers' teeth in the toothpaste aisle at CVS. Coupons and tooth shards were flying!

The dentist revs the drill over my head.

I don't have much a choice here, do I? I'm slurring like a stroke victim.

No answer. I grab the pen and sign.

Payment is expected at the time services are rendered.

I wrote a check and paid the bill for a temporary crown that looks like someone yanked out my tooth and replaced it with a kernel of corn. And I don't mean a creamy piece of Silver Queen. No. This is definitely GMO corn only marginally safe for human consumption.

The kids tried to act like my tooth looked fine until we all busted out laughing. Well, they busted out laughing, I slurred out some laugh-like sounds.

Next up: MathMan, for a reason only he knows, threw his glasses under the wheels of a moving car. I'm sure it had something to do with percentages.

P.S. Unintentional irony on my other blog.


  1. Oh my~ we were both born under the sign of "Can't Catch A Break" - If it helps or matters I love how you write about it. **hug** Hopefully there is no pain. *soft smile*

  2. I've got a sad crown story meself: A lousy job, months of agony, finally a new dentist, and then a trip (EXPENSIVE!) to the specialist for the root canal through that very same crown.


  3. Thank god Americans have really good medical insurance plans!

    Err, I might be thinking of Sweden or Canada or one of the dozens of less important countries who envy our compassionate way of life.

  4. Just found out yesterday that our insurance claim processor suddenly suspects my kids are not only over 18 but are insured through their own jobs.

    They prefer to test their paranoid theories by denying all claims until we get a whopping bill and call them up to ask what the hell happened.

    Then they ask two questions and tell me they'll reprocess the claim and to have a nice day.

  5. That "forgetting to add some charges" crap happens so often with some dentists I think they're just ashamed of the ridiculous amount of money they charge for their services. Waiting to get you in the chair before they tell you, "Oh, by the way..." is just chicken shit. Medical groups have nurse practitioners who can offer well patient services and save patients a few bucks, why can't dental practices offer regular cleanings by dental technicians at a reasonable rate and then kick the cavities, root canals, and bridges up to the dentist when necessary.

  6. That conversation amongst the workers as they're doing the work .... seriously. I mean, COME ON! What is with this? Mr. Teri just had something removed from his back. An outpatient procedure, they said, just a little tiny itsy-bitty nothing. Until the local anesthetic kicked in, the first sliced was made, and the doctor and nurse both jumped back from the table. In horror?? They continued on. They should have stopped. It was not an outpatient procedure. They made it one anyway. Scary.

  7. OMG. I totally feel your pain, I seriously HATE the dentist. But, only YOU could manage to make this into a funny story, Lisa!!

  8. I like that picture of you in the chair. I've long been convinced all dental professionals are natural sadists. Doesn't it seem as though they should be paying you to sit there and undergo their procedures?

    Good story.

  9. Love the picture, Lisa.

    My friend's husband has to have throat surgery. The doctor said the same thing. "You must have it or you will DIE." He made it sound like if he didn't get to the hospital pronto, he wouldn't make it to the end of the week. So he finally got his courage up and scheduled the procedure. Wouldn't you know it? He couldn't get an appointment for almost three months. Makes you wonder what to believe.

  10. I need to find a good, new dentist if such a thing even exists. Haven't been for two years since the last one due to his assistant ruining the enamel. She scraped my teeth so aggressively like a crack-ho' scrubs tile grout till it crumbles. Now I'm left with temperature sensitvity. Good times, no?
    Sorry about what you're going through but thanks for putting a smile on my face. :)

  11. Okay, I know I already left a comment - but I just noticed you tagged this post "Anti-Dentite" and I am LITERALLY hysterical laughing!

  12. Three cheers for our for-profit health care system.

    And Meleah, Anti-Dentite was done especially with you in mind.

  13. So baking soda is the secret... I think damn near every tooth in my mouth is a crown. I remember the good ol' days when my insurance was covered by my union and included dental. These days I'd have to give that "death" choice some serious consideration.

  14. I actually have no cavities--genetic luck. That said, I had to have a dental implant because my former dentist slipped when pulling out a molar years ago (in preparation for braces) and hit me in the uppers with the pliers. Must have given me a hair line fracture that finally (though slowly and painlessly) cracked the tooth clear across, 30+ years later. I can't type out the cost without crying, so just know that I paid for all the cavity fillings I did not have, plus interest, and then some. Sigh. Oh, and dentists are sadists. Every last one of them.


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