Thursday, March 8, 2012

In Which The Author Has a Root Canal and Gets High

Warning: I am on Lortab and this contains a bit of profanity.
I ***ed out the F-bombs though. Which I don't understand the point of, because our brains fill it in and we are thinking that word, so why not write it?
I am trying to have manners though, minor manners. wooh the rambling. let the story begin...

today I had my first root canal.
and it was a surprise root canal. there wasn't confetti involved though, and that definitely could have made the surprise better, although I suppose confetti in a dentist's office is a bit impractical, what with all the open mouths and everything.

I originally went in to get some fillings fixed because my previous dentist is a jackass that jacked up my mouth. My old fillings were splitting and deforming my teeth, so I basically needed to get 5 of them removed and re-filled. I took 2 hours off of work and went on in with knots in my stomach.

dental work is not easy for me. Having had childhood cancer in my jaw, I’ve had people fiddling around in my mouth (no dirty jokes please) for years and a lot of traumatic stuff went on. And when you’re a kid, that shit stays with you.

last time I had serious dental work done last year, I had an anxiety attack.
I can’t control it—all the yoga breathing and Xanax in the world can’t prevent me from getting all twitchy and upset and trying to find reasons to put off going.

but I sucked it up this morning (well, kind of. I whined a lot to Eli and gave him the most depressing look I could muster, and texted Vicky a lot of bitching texts. They were both sympathetic).
I told the dentist how my front tooth has been painful again. it comes in waves, but is cripplingly painful to the point that I can’t drink or bite into anything, and we all know how much I love my sandwiches. he found a cavity on my front tooth before and filled it, but the pain didn’t go away. It doubled. so before he started working on my other teeth today I asked him what he could do about it. he looked at it extra close and took a ton of x-rays and surprise! an abscessed tooth that has been slowly dying for the last decade.
Woo Hoo.

apparently this crap happens when your tooth has been traumatized. Guess my tooth watched The Shining too many times. 
Ha, pardon the lame humor, I’m on Lortab and trying not to puke.
so when I was having all that shit done for my cancer, like surgeries and tubes in my mouth, etc. etc., it got knocked hard and decided “fine cruel world! That’s it!” 
but the suicide wasn’t terribly efficient, which is why it has been giving me trouble the last 6-7 years and my jackass previous dentist (that I mentioned earlier) never realized it. he thought I just had a super sensitive tooth that needed the minor chips filled in. but that never fixed it and he thought I was exaggerating about the pain.
but my brilliant new dentist (oh the thrill of competence) discovered it, and hence the root canal.
my favorite part was when they inserted files into the tooth to pull out all of the rotten nerve pulp. that felt like a party in my mouth.
and then the co-dentist came in to give me another shot and said “you’re an adult now.”
and I exclaimed as gracefully as I could with a needle in my mouth “what the hell does that mean?” and he said “well, once you’ve had a root canal you’re an adult.”
and I was thinking about how he deserved a bitch slap to the face, or maybe an enema, and the nurse said the best thing:
“dude. she had cancer when she was like 8. she has been an adult longer than we have.”

I tried to wink at her, which is difficult when they’ve given you so much numbing stuff that even your eyelids are drooping. I think she got the message.

and then this guy apologized and started going off on the difficulties of cancer and how amazing I am.

it is endlessly fascinating to me the way that people who haven’t had cancer perceive it, and talk about it.
I could write an entire blog on that subject alone. Hm….

anyway, they gave me plenty of nitrous oxide and these whopping earphones to watch tv with. this is completely new to me—tv at the dentist?! Hell yes!
I was scrolling through channels and came across a few (that weren’t available, thank baby jesus) that were porn. There are no words.

the remote got stuck on one of the many Kardashian shows and I asked the assistant if she could fix it, because watching that family’s reality TV shit while high is something I will never do again (don’t ask).
she looked up at the tv and saw what was on and said “But why wouldn’t you want to watch this show??!?! It is the best! He loves her so much.” and the other assistant (the one I winked at) said “this is such crap. I hate that family and their fake shows. Change the channel!”
and they proceeded to argue about the various virtues and faults of the Kardashian family. it was delicious, particularly with the laughing gas involved.

once the remote had been sorted, I landed on a channel playing only “The Twilight Zone”. Score!!!

I watched an episode with Dennis Hopper (back when he was young and innocent…if Dennis Hopper ever was innocent) called “He’s Alive” about a delusional Nazi that thinks he is made out of steel.  I’m sure in any other situation this would be entertaining and savory (in a 1960s black and white way) but the gas turned on me. it was like in Fear and Loathing when they walk into Circus Circus and things are odd but lovely, but then the ether turns on them and it becomes hell on earth. with clowns.

I just had to change the channel. I found a show called “My Super Psycho Sweet 16” and that was clearly not an option (the horror, the horror), so I rode out the remainder of the dental work on Kill Bill: Volume 1.

[Irrelevant Personal Side Note: Eli is always whistling that damn creepy song that California Mountain Snake whistles while strolling through the hospital.  It is a quirk of his I could do without. That, unfortunately, I am kind of growing to love]

I ended up having the root canal and 6 fillings/repairs done. it was at that point we realized that my dental insurance was maxed out. no bueno, considering I need to have the last bit of my ongoing procedure done and actually have my fake teeth implanted onto my posts. and preferably PAID FOR by those insurance schmucks.
my health insurance covered everything else—all of the surgeries and posts and assorted odds and ends, but now, at the conclusion to it all, they don’t want to pay for the very thing that all of this work was for! I filed an appeal and wanted to write in the boxes “I survived cancer, give me my f*cking teeth bitches!!” but refrained. hopefully they’ll realize that and it will count for something. I’m counting on you karma.

but until we hear back from them, we’re planning on having dental insurance cover 60% of the teeth implants. at least we were. but no more dental insurance for the rest of 2012 now!

I could really use some confetti at this point.

[also on my list of shittiness for the day:
when I got into my car to go to the dentist I noticed a huge crack running the length of my windshield. I didn’t even have a rock chip! and it was not cold enough last night for any windshield-cracking business. what nonsense! Jack/Jackie (my car) is only 3 years old.]

back to the story…the dentist gave me antibiotics and Lortab and I was off to the pharmacy, my entire face numb from 4 shots, and my hoodie soaked with the water I tried to drink with my numb lips. I looked like a crackhead. and got the giggles like mad, waiting for my prescription, when I saw a shelf full of natural Viagra substitutes and libido enhancing pills. I couldn’t tell you now why that was so funny, but rest reassured that it was.

I am now back in the office, high on Lortab, and clacking away on my keyboard typing this. hopefully my co-workers will be like “damn! new girl had a root canal and she is heavily medicated and still slaving away like a super hero!”

I can only hope.
and I also hope that I won’t have any of the problems the dentist warned me about (i.e. bruising up the entire right side of my face, an allergic reaction, extreme nerve sensitivity) because we are going to Zion/Kanab this weekend and I just need to feel healthy and normal for 3 consecutive days. I deserve it, right?

and let me re-iterate, to the universe, in case any of the insurance people handling my paperwork are in tune to anything besides screwing people over…
I WANT MY F*CKING TEETH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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