Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I diddit.

With so many people in the world desperately lacking adequate health care insurance, I’m ashamed to admit that I have not been very good about taking advantage of mine.

I do get regular checkups on my girly bits, including a newly recurring annual boob squeeze since I crested the top of the hill, a milestone that also merited an actual physical complete with blood work and xrays of my arthritic old lady knees.

I am the picture of good physical health, old lady knees aside.

But I had a dirty little secret… in my mouth. While I’ve dutifully dragged my children to the dentist for twice yearly cleanings and check ups, it had been an embarrassingly long time since I’d taken the hot seat myself.

Blame my busy life, blame my priority to hit the gym whenever I find myself with a spare hour. Blame my job, my kids, my husband, the republicans, and my ugly neighbor. I know that the blame lies squarely in me.

When I got past a certain point of negligence, it became a thing. I started to worry about getting lectured and scolded and having to endure hours of painful excavation of tartar and invasive oral surgeries. I convinced myself that I needed to find the right time when I could go in there relaxed and ready for the certain torment that would follow.

Then I got a toothache.

Not a throbbing kind of toothache, more of a general HELLO by one of my right upper molars when something cold hit it. Sometimes the pain would linger, and I soon realized that I was only eating with the left side of my mouth. I knew the day of reckoning was upon me. I made an appointment.

I worked myself into quite a state in the days leading up to that fateful rendezvous. I made the appointment for 10 am and arranged for my husband to take the kids to school so I could squeeze in an early workout, just in case I was not up to going later in the day. I sort of kind of made it so it would be okay if I couldn’t make it into work, either. I knew I’d have pain and probably lingering numbness from whatever horrors I had prepared myself to face. I tried to focus on the outcome, looking forward to the luxury of chugging my margaritas ice cream ice water without grimmace.

I arrived and signed in, and was handed a packet of paperwork to complete. When asked "How long has it been since your last visit?" I went for the sympathy vote. I penned, and I quote: "Ages. I know. Sorry! I'm nervous."

Then I sat and tried to act normal while I waited for my name to be called. It was fast, I scarcely had time to update my facebook status:

“The smell of this dentist’s office is making me nervous.”

Except I wrote smelk. That’s how nervous I was.

When called back, I immediately told the hygienist that it had been a long time, and I was scared. She was so nice, just ignored my sweaty palms and stuttering, hulkish attempts at conversation and led me to the chamber where she’d have her way with me.

I assumed the position, paper bib securely adhered, panic scantily camouflaged.

She dug in, and in between the scrape scrape scrape of ick removal, she asked again where to find that sensitive tooth of mine. This was my moment of truth. I braced myself as she angled her little mirror at the source of my shame and discomfort… and said it looked okay!

Yay! But what da…?

Anyway… to make a short story reeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyy long, I got all cleaned up and then moved on to xrays, then to the ultimate destination, Dr. Dentist consultation, where the proverbial buck would stop.

He came. He saw. He paused.

Flutter. Flutter. Spasm. Flit.

He asked about this sensitivity I kept bringing up. He said: “Okay. I’ll be right back.”


This surely meant specialists and therapists and financial advisors.

He came back and explained that he knew exactly what ailed me, and exactly how to fix it. And he pulled out….


He said my teeth are great, I’m just using bad toothpaste.

Oh, the relief! The release! The rapture! My teeth are rock stars! I’m okay! This toothpaste is going to change my life! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

I cradled my sample tube of mana all the way up to the appointment desk, relishing the end of stress and anticipating the sweet joy of recovery.

I smiled and agreed to make another appointment in three months for another thorough cleaning, and vowed that I’ll never go another six months without a cleaning. It felt so good to be stress free!

Then the appointment maker said: “Okay, three months. How’s December 14th?”



Christmas is in three months?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!?

I’m so stressed out.


dreads the dentist in PA said...

my dental experiences could one day win me a literary prize...GOOD FOR YOU for taking the leap!

And BAD FOR YOU for bringing up the "fact/reality" that I've been trying to ignore since this PA weather has been glorious.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

When I finally went to the dentist, after years and years, I was as nervous telling her I'd been too scared and broke to schedule a dentist visit as I was during the visit. She and her assistant just laughed politely to me and told me to open up. They were so nice.

My childhood dentist, dental hygienist and orthodontist all came to Dad's wake, and I told all three I still get nightmares because of them. After all these years, payback.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, I simply adore the dentist! Well the routine cleanings anyway. Don't you feel so shiny and new when you walk out of there? Like you'll never eat again because it feels so glorius to have such pristine chompers?

Congrats, Jacquie. You really DO have great teeth. And every three months? So self indulgent!


P.S. I had that same sensodyne moment about a year ago, and it really works, too!

Mom C. said...

There was a general ewwwwwwwww when y'all's orthodontist came through the line at the wake - poor, mom