Nothing Funny About Root CanalJanuary 28, 2009
I did a second drawing of “Beauty and the Beast” (see first) but this one is in charcoal on rough watercolor paper. I think I may give this to the endodontist went to Monday for him to post on the ceiling over the chair where he tortures people so they’ll have something to focus on. And here is where the faint at heart should turn away and read Little Women instead.
Now, I know that some of you may think that Bill and I have a propensity for exaggerating, or I for complaining. But the following is the true unadulterated story of a Marathon Man-like nightmare I experienced on Monday morning getting a root canal.
I was told that I needed a root canal by my dentist and that it was too complicated for him to do. Time to see an endodontist. But who? He did not know who was a Blue Shield provider and I would have to find one on my own. Basically, I picked one at random from Blue Shield’s list but it turned out he was a UCLA professor aside from having had a practice for 25 years and I thought – well he must know his stuff. Now, I am not a good dental patient in the first place, but pile on the unknown of a random doctor with a “complicated” root canal, and I look like Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man going through the door.
After being coaxed into the chair, the doctor asks for the syringe. Whoa, hold on there dude, I tell him. Where is the nitrous oxide? He explains in his thick accent, the origin of which I can’t quite discern, that he no longer uses it because he found that people would come there just for the nitrous oxide. OH I’M JUST SURE. I want a root canal for the little buzz that a few whiffs of laughing gas will give you. He tried to convince me further of it’s lack of merit by telling me that it does not get rid of pain–that it only relaxes you. I really had to resist a California “DUH”.
So he begins with injections number one, two and three. Then he places the rubber sheet with the hole for the victim tooth. He poked something in the gum or the tooth and I just about displaced the air above us. Hmmm. Not dead yet. Shot number four. Again with the rubber thing, again I jump. By now, I’m shaking badly and not feeling at all good about this. He gives plenty of time for shot number five to sink in. Now it is really time to commence.
I grip the arm rests (funny they are called that), and I am ready to barrel through this, but the minute he starts drilling again, I get shooting pain and I shriek. He takes the syringe and injects it directly onto the tooth. The initial squirt hurts and makes me jump again. He drills and I shriek again. My feet come off the table, and I am in flight position trying to sit up now, but he sternly tells me not to panic and to sit back. Feet back up. More Novocaine on the tooth. Drilling and pain, I burst into tears, but he can’t stop in the middle. More Novocaine and pain, and this went on until it was done and I was ready to drop from exhaustion. In fact, I stood up and almost passed out, and had to sit with my head between my legs for a few minutes.
Apparently, what I had was hot tooth. One that could not be anesthetized. They asked me if I had taken any medication before coming since that can sometimes negate the anesthetic. Of course, I was thinking why, for the love of GOD, don’t you ask people that BEFORE they come for a root canal, but when your mouth is jacked open with two fists, metal instruments and a vacuum cleaner that is sucking your tonsils out, it’s kind of hard to do anything but grunt yes and no. And shriek. Indeed I had not taken anything. I know I’m not looking forward to the next root canal in my life. In fact, I think I’ll convert to baby food.