looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

A Short Month

Today we left work early for our follow-up dentist appointments. Lisa's was scheduled for 3:00, and mine was at 4:00. (Those of you paying attention will remember that I had a cracked filling that needed replacing.) I was prepared to wait my turn in the waiting room with my paperback - "Voyage" by Steven Baxter - but at 3:40 they called my name and I went back and sat in one of the empty recliner chairs - the fourth one right at the end of the hall - and they put the little metal chain and alligator clippy thing with the dribble bib around my neck. These bays or cubicles all back on to a common walkway - think of a letter "E" with an extra cross bar or two - which means it's pretty noisy. Lying prone, I soon discovered that over my shoulder there existed a door to a back room. Various clinic staff would bop through this door to make coffee, stand outside, and smoke, because every minute or so a blast of cold air would blow over me, bringing the complex odours of coffee and cigarette smoke. Periodically one of the assistants would come over and assure me that the doctor would "not be long". I passed the time by listening to the conversation in the cubicle next door, in which the patient complained of the (lack of) diagnosis from his previous dentist, and the doctor guy assured him that, in his clinic, patient care and comfort was a priority.

40 minutes later, the doctor finally arrived. I swear, if another 10 minutes had gone by, I would have got up and walked out.

Saying nothing to me, he clattered around in the cupboards for a couple of minutes, before turning and saying briskly, "Hello, sorry for the wait, I'm Doctor Torturo, and today we have a couple of fillings."

"Only one, I think. Number 12," I say, helpfully.

"Why yes, you're right," he replies, cranking the chair so I am tilted with my head down towards the floor.

A few minutes of urgent activity above my head ensues, with the assistent murmuring helpfully, "That's it. You've nearly got it. Need some help there, Doc? Looks like you'll need another pair."

The doctor was having trouble putting his rubber gloves on.

I didn't dare say anything. The last think I wanted to do was complain - the guy was about to let loose with power tools in my mouth.

He numbed my mouth up without warning me - every other dentist has asked if I wanted pain relief, and I usually refuse because I have a high pain threshold and I like to feel what's happening in there.

From the conversation that went on above my head while he worked, I can only I assume that deadening my the side of my head allowed him to work faster so that he could get home to his wife at the time that he had promised. I hoped it wasn't before 5:00.

This dentist gave other dentists a bad name - and it's not like they really need help! Dental work is traumatic enough already.


I met Lisa in reception - she must have been waiting an hour, and we settled up, while I absently chewed on my upper lip. We decided that Chinese soup was just the thing, but that I'd be happier if we ate a little later when we'd allowed for the anaesthetic to wear off a little. So we did a little shopping at Sam's Club before enjoying a meal at the Wok's Inn.


When the pain relief wore off, my tooth really started to throb, so I went to bed with an aspirin.

[Update - it's fine now. Lisa suggested that repairing fillings always go deeper than the original filling, so perhaps that's why this one gave me more trouble than usual. Perhaps the dentist skills had nothing to do with it. Perhaps.]