A Devout Coward Goes To The Dentist

Jan 24

For root canal yet.

78873-Royalty-Free-Clipart-DentistI know, I know. If you actually go to the dentist, rather than simply ignore your teeth until they decay and rot away in your mouth, it means that you’re not a total coward.

That’s what my nice dentist says.

But I don’t believe a word of it. Not even the “ands” and the “thes.”

I am so terrified that I wait for years just for a cleaning, and of course, that does cause problems, and that leads to discomfort (we never use the word pain), and finally, to the dreaded phone call, the dreaded walk over to the office, the “forgetting” which building it is,  and not having her number programmed in my phone (Why could I? We talk so seldom), and being in a panic because I’m late, even though I know I’ll have to sit in the dreaded waiting room when I get there.

Just love the sound of the drill, don’t you?

And then the delightful news that I’ll have to have . . .

Oh, No: Root Canal!

The Day of the Dentist I was trying to stay calm. I kept reminding myself that I had had root canal before and it isn’t bad. It isn’t.

That Novocaine is a wonderful thing. It is.

That I had to be brave. I wasn’t . . .

My appointment for the root canal wasn’t until the afternoon (bad move) and in the morning I had planned to go to the gym, in the hopes that those much touted endorphins would kick in. I didn’t. They didn’t.

Instead, I got a series of anxiety-producing phone calls, from my mother’s aide saying that her check had bounced, and from my new personal banker who hadn’t given me the temporary checks I needed for the new and improved account (Hey! I’m important to them!) thereby causing the situation with the check. While we were straightening this out, I got distracted and forgot I had left an egg boiling on the stove.

Have you ever seen an exploded egg?

It is not, I assure you, a pretty sight. . .

I spent the time I should have been in the gym cleaning it up. The stove, that is. Forget the pot. It was damaged beyond all repair and smelled like the fire in the 99-cent store when all that junk went up in flames a few months ago.

So much for calm. So much for endorphins. Where did I put that



The good news is that the root canal went well, at least for the dentist. His palms didn’t sweat at all! Actually, it’s painless these days, although it’s not fun having to keep your mouth open that long for something you’re not actually enjoying. And paying thousands of dollars for. I don’t know about you, but I HATE paying for anything I don’t want in the first place.

The very pleasant and professional endodontist (the guy who does the root canal is no mere dentist) gave me a prescription for Vicodin, and in the evening I took one. Whoa! It was stronger than any painkiller I’ve taken, in pill form, and I was in some kind of weird Lalaland until the morning, when I actually read the label. Note to self: read labels before taking pills.

Mr.R.NeighborhoodOnly needed to take the one, so I have a large bottle left, and if I wanted to do something entrepreneurial, in the spirit of Eddie Murphy of “Mr Robinson’s Neighborhood” on SNL, there’s a park just down the street . . . See, there’s always a silver lining! And maybe a gold filing.

The bad news is that I still have some sensitivity in the lower right quadrant: Don’t you love it when I talk dirty?

That’s how it all started, late last summer, when a vague discomfort led to a checkup, a deep cleaning, some pretty impressive pain, and a back and forth with the dentist who didn’t know what to do with a patient having a nervous breakdown, who started sobbing when telling him the story of her aged parents and her father’s sudden death. These emotions erupt in the most inappropriate times, so the grief counselors tell us. They’re right. Or maybe it was the nitrous oxide.

Anyway, I ended up going to a new dentist —mainly out of embarrassment — the estimable Dr. Michelle Mirsky, who sent me to the root canal guy, and who filled the tooth afterwards.

So now, just when I’m getting over that episode, there probably will be another thrilling, and possibly drilling, sequel:

The Devout Coward Goes To The Dentist, Part 2

Hopefully, it will not involve any exploding eggs or rubber checks, although I do think there is a Valium in my future.

Stay tuned. . .

And oh yes: Any suggestions on how to make this easier will be gratefully accepted.
Laughing gas, anyone?


  1. Outstandingly thought out! Yes yes yes yes yes yes.

  2. Which part? That I am a coward about these things — or that I actually went?
    Whichever, thanks.

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