As I get older, so do my teeth. In fact, my teeth are 30, 40 or even 50 years older than the rest of me. How else to explain why I’ve already had multiple root canal procedures?
Note for the squeamish: I won’t get into the gory details of what actually happens during a root canal. You don’t want to know. (Neither did I, but that’s another story.)
The road to a root canal goes like this: Your regular dentist can’t figure out why your teeth hurt so much that you’re considering hara-kiri, so he/she sends you to an endodontist. This is like being moved from the county jail to San Quentin.
How did the profession get saddled with the term “endodontist,” anyway? Who wants to visit a specialist with “end” in his name?
To be fair, my endodontist is a caring and highly competent professional. He also wears colorful ties, a la Dr. Flicker in “Blue Jasmine.” And he knows that my sensitive mouth needs “enough Novocaine for a mountain lion,” as a previous dentist discovered through trial and error.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here
I’ve been to this endodontic office several times, so I already know the drill (arr, arr). The waiting room, just as promised on the website, includes “soothing” features like a bubbling waterfall and a tank of colorful tropical fish. I’ve noticed, though, that those fish are smart enough to stay in the waiting room. Once you enter the torture – er, the exam room, you’re on your own. A therapy dog on one’s lap would be a nice touch, but doggie slobber and rolling tumbleweeds of hair are incompatible with ADA standards of cleanliness.
The patient’s chair, made of rich Corinthian leather, provides perfect neck and back support. It’s way more comfortable than a La-Z-Boy, and I’m looking into getting one for our living room. The staff even drapes you in a warm blanket. But as your limbic system relaxes, your cerebral cortex is screaming, “It’s a setup!”
Next, you choose a movie and watch it on an HD plasma screen while wearing headphones. There’s nothing like the horse-head scene from “The Godfather” to take your mind off what they’re doing to your mouth.
From here to eternity
The procedure lasts quite a while. Last time, Fredo was sobbing over the bullet-ridden body of Don Corleone when the technician finally shut off the WiFi and tilted my chair upright.
Unlike my regular dental office, this place doesn’t hand you a yummy milkshake on your way out. Maybe it’s because all that Novocaine makes it impossible to suck from a straw for about a week.
Oh, and here’s the best part. Sometimes a root canal doesn’t “take,” and you have to go through it all again. As Dr. Flicker explains it, dental nerves are like tree branches that get progressively smaller as they extend outward. The fact that my teeth still hurt means we need to send the Roto Rooter down there again.
So that’s where I’m going today. This time I’ll ask for “Gone With the Wind,” and I hope to get out of there before General Sherman burns Atlanta to the ground.
Hey, kids: Here comes that day you’ve been dreading all summer. School is starting, and you may feel nervous, scared, nauseous, itchy, panicky or paranoid. And as that first day unfolds, you’ll realize why.
But it’s the law. So get your act together with these back-to-school tips.
The first day Most teachers start off by introducing themselves. Write down the names of your teachers and anything that’ll help you remember them, like “Mrs. Jonas, blue hair” or “Mr. Affenpinscher, loose dentures.”
Pay close attention to classroom rules. Are you required to raise your hand before starting a riot? Are there rules about visiting the restroom, or can you just wet your pants?
You might already know many kids in your class. If you’re lucky, they’ve forgotten what you did to them last year.
Sit! On the first day, your teachers might let you sit anywhere you want. But by the second or third day, they’ll reassign seating to keep you exiled from friends. Take out your frustration by carving your initials in the desktop.
Supply line Your parents have spent big bucks to get you everything on the school’s 20-page supply list. Put it all in your backpack and get Dad to help lift that 55-pound sucker onto your back.
Lunch You have two options: (1) Wait until you’re about to
leave for school, then remind Mom to pack your lunch, or
(2) Wait until you’re about to leave, and then ask Mom for lunch money.
Whatever you do, don’t fall for that line about eating a
variety of fruits and vegetables. Everything you could possibly
want, including potato chips, soda, candy bars, and energy drinks, is available in lunchbox-sized packs.
Get your bearings There’s a lot to learn on that first day. Write
your locker combination on your hand in ink so you won’t forget it.
Ask around for the place where kids go for a quick smoke. If
there’s a student co-op with supplies and snacks, learn the system: cash? credit? extortion?
Off to a rotten start Suppose you hate school by the end of the first day. Teachers recommend that you give it time because things will improve as you adjust to the routine. Well, what did you expect them to say? “Drop out”? But if it gets really bad, talk to the school counselor, who might have access to some strong medication.
I hope you weren't expecting anything profound.
If I ever need to plead insanity, this blog will provide valuable evidence.
Copyright (c) 2022 by Leah Carson, d/b/a Excellent Words, LLC