Friday, September 9, 2016

My Day At The Dentist

Today I was introduced to the concept of sedation dentistry...like regular dentistry but with better drugs. I was referred to Monroe Harris DMD by my regular dentist and regaled with glowing testimonials about his skill and reputation. I was assured that I wouldn't "feel a thing."

I arrived at the chamber of sadistic horrors at 9:45 this morning as per the instructions. His friendly staff walked me through the preliminaries with relative competence. Then I was ushered into the pre-surgery consultation room where I met Harris and a bevy of subordinates who tried to explain to me what was about to happen. I nodded my head dutifully, distracted by the 50 inch plasma TV hanging on the wall blaring out sports center. Then everyone disappeared, promising to return shortly with some additional paperwork, leaving me alone to contemplate the performance of the rookie Denver Bronco quarterback from last night's game....for 45 minutes.

I shouldn't complain. The television could just have easily been on some real estate flipping channel, or worse...MSNBC. But, having 45 minutes to think about your dental fate while you are A. Starving because of your fast, and B. You have the mother of all coffee-deprived headaches, is a bad combination. Finally, a perky assistant bounced through the door with an armful of disclaimers that required my signature. As an added pre-surgery benefit, she had gone to the trouble of calling my insurance company to confirm the sad fact that I have no dental coverage (Thanks, Obama!). She presented me with the bill for the day's services...before I had actually received them...$1450. Yes, nothing quite gets you in the mood for a root canal like a four figure bill payable immediately. I informed the nice lady that my wife had the credit card and would be more than happy to take care of this. Sure enough, five minutes later Pam appeared at the door, big happy smile on her face.

Pam: How cool is that? We earn points for this!!

The next step in the procedure was to move me to surgery room #2. There was no television in this more austere, all business room. However, on the wall directly in front of me there was a wide screen, panoramic full mouth X-ray of my teeth taken earlier in the morning. Seriously, this thing was at least four feet wide. It looked like a negative from some old Auschwitz photograph, my teeth like malnourished prisoners. During the additional twenty minutes spent staring at it, my mood began to go from apprehensive to disturbed. Finally, Harris walked in exuding brisk confidence, "Doug, I want to assure you that we are going to take great care of you. You have absolutely nothing to worry about."

Then I heard the music start. 1970's Motown began piping through the speaker system as they prepped me with an IV and hooked me up to several monitors. I heard him say, "This will be the last thing you feel until I'm through." 

Ok, I have been put under for three separate operations in my life. This was different. He was right. I didn't feel a thing. But, the anesthesia only killed the pain. It did nothing for my hearing. For the next thirty minutes, I heard everything. The high-pitched whiz of the drill, the metallic grinding of the tools, and the dulcet tones of Marvin Gaye moaning about sexual healing. I must say that Monroe Harris DMD has a very good voice, since he sang along on every song. On the ones I knew, I joined in. I heard everything, even the scattered laughter when I helped Diana Ross with...Baby, baby...where did our love go?"

After it was all over, I was informed that this particular root canal was to be a two part procedure, the second half to be scheduled in October...but not to worry, what I paid today covered both visits.

So, I must do this again.

The novocaine is finally wearing off. The pain is bearable. The taste in my mouth is positively medieval.
But Pam is busy making homemade banana pudding, soup and Apple sause for dinner. Harris was right. He did take good care of me!