With two weeks to go before my surgery, even though I've had months, my phobic self finally called the dentist to look at my broken tooth.
It was not pretty.
We’ll call him Dr. Alarm. For starters, I think he hated me. When he asked me when I broke the tooth, I lied and said a month ago because I was so mortified. He was concerned about my health history to an embarrassing extent. I felt as though I had one foot in the grave. I had suspected I had an infection, which he confirmed like this: "For someone like you, who is immunocompromised, walking around with an infection like that is the equivalent to holding a gun to your head." He was almost hysterical and said it was the utmost emergency and danger.
Don't you hate it when people mince words?
He also confirmed something else I suspected: the tooth could not be salvaged. He said it was such an emergency that he called an oral surgeon to see if they could get me in immediately. They could.
The oral surgeon, we’ll call him Dr. Trepidation, was very nice. But he was pretty grim too. Danger, death, danger, septicemia, danger, death, death, death. And some more death. With extra death on top.
Dr. T. offered to pull it right then and there. But I want to be O-U-T and there was no one to drive me home, so I rescheduled for the next day when Death and my daughter could come with me.
I was not looking forward to this experience but was being as stoic as possible, reminding myself it would be over soon and then I would have nothing to deal with except blood, swelling, severe pain and a missing tooth. You know, nothing too terrible.
And I was right. It was not as bad as I expected.
It was a thousand times worse.
I've been to oral surgeons before to have extractions and they have always worked out ok. I have gone to sleep and woken up when it was over.
But I started to feel misgivings when Dr. Trepidation stood on my right side and leaned over me at an angle to put the IV in my left arm. He gave a push of something and, clunk, out I went. AND WOKE UP TO HIM PULLING MY TOOTH OUT!! I was competely befuddled, so I was horrified to hear myself moan VERY loudly. Even being numb, it really, really hurt.
I didn't say anything before I left, mostly because my mouth was stuffed with gauze. But now (because I am a mental case), it just keeps running through my mind. The ferocious yank, my not unreasonable reaction, then oblivion again. When the damage had already been done, when I had experienced the very thing I had not wanted to.
At any rate it is over now and I had even more fun coming up that night.
In the middle of the night, Mary Kate came downstairs to say she had heard someone walking in the alley between my house and my neighbor’s. The path is made of stones and she could hear footsteps crunching in the rocks. We both listened for about ten minutes and, hearing nothing, went back to bed. Just as I was about to drift off, I heard the stones crunching and then my garden gate, which squeaks, was opened.
When I heard steps on the patio, I called the police. The dispatcher asked me if I wanted to speak to the officers when they came. I looked down at my pajamas and could feel my hair going in 6,000 directions and said "Oh, no that's ok." Five minutes later, the policeman is knocking at my door. Jesus, didn't he get the 'don't talk to' message?!?! I couldn't find my glasses, which meant I couldn't find my robe which meant I had to put a coat on to answer the door. Try to look nonchalant and credible when you are standing in your living room at 3 am in pajamas and a winter coat.
Is it my imagination or are cops just getting younger and cuter?!? Or am I simply a dirty old lady?
They never did find anyone, but they were very thorough. And I never did go back to sleep. I was the only one among my colleagues who started working that day at 4 a.m.
It could happen:
Update: Great news. My friend Joe finally had his surgery and is doing well. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, but keep them coming if you can, he’s not completely out of the woods yet.
Check out his blog here.
Check out his blog here.