Friday, February 10, 2006

Making Gold out of Silver Amalgams

There's not much worse, in my opinion, than sitting for 4-1/2 hours (count them!) in your dentist's reclining version of Dante's 9th Level of Hell (Click here for a test to see which level of Dante's hell you'll be banished to). My dentist warned me that it might be a long visit and said I might be as long as 3 hours -- the big fibber.

So on Tuesday I went prepared with things to keep me busy. I brought two novels, C.S. Lewis's Literary Essays, my Alpha Smart, notebook paper, notes from my work in progress, and even a Land's End Overstock catalogue.

The first hour passed rather pleasantly. I finished reading the first novel and cracked open the second. It seemed familiar. By page 3 I realized I'd read it two years ago. The catalogue only held my attention for about 5 minutes until I realized that all the sizes were far too small for my soccer-mom body. Next I began reading C.S. Lewis and while I am fascinated by his essays, even in the best of times (and the dental office is way below worst of times) I have to do mental gymnastics to keep up with him. Wasn't gonna happen.

After 37 shots of novocaine (okay, it wasn't really 37, it just seemed like it), the second hour passed with hair-raising accoutrements being crammed inside my pea-sized mouth, then being forcibly evicted -- like a tenant who has overstayed his lease.

During the next break, my brain was in no condition to return to good ol' C.S., so I then opened my book notes. I'm writing a romp, but couldn't feel less romp-like, so I discarded that idea as the dentist returned and ripped my lips from my face (well, that's what it felt like).

I needed a different story. Perhaps I should write something involving a serial killer with a tooth-fetish? A Frankenstein-ish creature with a drill? A beach-bum hopped up on nitrous-oxide?

When I was given a break after the third hour of agony, I ran for the bathroom, locked the door and wondered what they'd do if I refused to come out and return to the torture recliner?

The cute dental assistant Intern tapped nervously on the door after about 15 minutes and asked if I was still conscious. I assured her I was (earlier I'd assured her that I wouldn't bite her but only kept that promise for the first 2-1/2 hours, so I'm not sure she believed me this time). She asked if I planned to come out. Now this Intern was really sweet, really young, and this was her first day ever working in a dental office after 8 months of schooling. Could my conscience handle the responsibility of scaring her off the job? Ohhhh, yeah. It could. I truly thought about opening the door and running for the exit.

The problem was that my tooth had been readied, but my temporary crown was not on it yet. Once the novocaine wore off, I'd regret skeddadling before the dentist finished with me. With a sigh, I agreed to return to the hot seat.

Another hour and a half later, I finally got to leave, but was hell-day over yet? Not by a long shot. At the desk on my way out, I was forced to pay big bucks for my anguish.

I plan for revenge, though, because I managed to plot a new story with oh-so-coincidentally a villain whose first name is identical to my dentist's. The last time I had a long visit like this one, I ended up plotting (and selling to a confessions magazine) a short story about an evil dentist. Pay back can be lucrative :D -- Kathy Carmichael


Nancy Morse said...

Your experience at the dentist's office had me rolling with laughter, albeit painful laughter. I'm still smarting from the root canal I had 2 weeks ago (thank God for Vicodin) and next week he has to go back in to make sure there isn't anything remotely alive left in the tooth. Then I have to go to my regular dentist to have a crown ripped out so that they can fill the cavity beneath it. All this is slight compared to my husband's recent visit. When they tried to remove the crown to fill a cavity beneath it, the whole root canal he'd had years ago came out. What was left of the tooth had to be surgically removed, and some bone grafted for a future implant. They either use some kind of artificial thing for bone, or, are you ready for this, bone from a cadaver. When we heard this, we flipped out. Bone from a dead man? Gross! I now refer to my honey as dead man talking.

Kathy Carmichael said...

LOL, Nancy! And hugs to both you and your hubby! Yipes!

Geri Buckley Borcz said...

Ouch! Kathy, I feel your pain. I've always suspected dentists, chiropracters, et al, all attended classes taught by a torturer's assistant. After reading your experience, I'm positive they do.

Rhonda said...

Well, been there done that! I do feel your pain! But look on the bright side you may have a winner of a story! :)

I went in last week for an ultra sound of my thyroid - no big deal until she said I want to do a biopsy, ok I can handle that, well she said I only need to do six Yikes with only "spray on" anesthetic - no fun but like you I survived!!

Kathy Carmichael said...

LOL Geri and hugs, Rhonda!

Geri, I'd sure like to put my hands on that great book cover of yours ::wicked grin::

Has anyone tried the link I posted to the test for which level of Dante's hell you'll achieve? I scored a level 3 -- gluttony -- KC

Anonymous said...

I told my dentist after getting work done that I would rather get a pap smear than come to him again! :)

Allison Brennan said...

OMG Nancy, I don't know if I could handle that cadaver bone thing. All I can think of is ghosts.

Gail Dayton said...

Don't call it cadaver bone. Call it a "bone transplant." I mean, when they give corneas and skin and stuff, it's not coming from live people--usually.

And yeah, crowns & root canals stink. Suck swamp water. I got 5 of the first and 2 of the last.

Thank goodness everything is material...

Geri Buckley Borcz said...

I took the Dante's Hell test, Kathy. Scored a level 2 - lustful. At least I'm in good company...Cleopatra and Helen of Troy share my level.