Friday, April 6, 2012

"D" is for Desert, But Also for Dentist

I like it when things go smoothly. This was not one of those weeks though. First we took a trip up to Salome to visit our buddy Steve from Georgia and to drive out into the desert to see his new mining property. We had a lovely visit and gab session at his new place at the campground, then took off for the claim. We ALMOST made it. But we took the truck and the van instead of the ATVs and that turned out to be a mistake as evidenced by Steve's sinking of his rear axle into the fine sand of the wash we needed to drive across. Long story short- Steve has a lovely new mining property as viewed from the corner of it closest to where the truck sank. It took me til nearly 5 o'clock to get chains and haul him out of there with the 4-wheel drive Quigley van, which didn't leave any time at all for looking over the mine up close and personal. There's always next year. Actually, there would have been plenty of time this year, except that the day after this episode I was scheduled to visit the dentist in Goodyear, nearly a hundred miles each way from our locale....and THAT didn't go any better than the sink-in-the-sand thingy.

In fact it went considerable worse. Well, better...but also worse. I broke a tooth a few weeks back. It wasn't my fault. It was just that tooth's time to go south I suppose. I was nibbling of a piece of licorice (chocolate licorice none-the-less) and felt the back of the tooth separate from the front of the tooth...and may I say - without just cause! Well that forced an issue that we had been contending with- should we or should we not have doctors and dentists here for when needed. Asked and answered now. So we located a dentist close by (by desert standards), set up an appointment, and trekked off to see what we shall see. The conclusion: yes, the tooth is broken. It is broken below the gum line. But worse, it is broken below the bone line. uh-oh! So a plan of action was formulated and committed to. And yesterday, armed with tons of x-rays and sterilized tools, the dentist set out to extract the tooth- as there is no saving them once they break off below bone line. After resolving a blood pressure issue that for some time looked like it would scuttle the plan, the decision was made to proceed. I LOVE injections of lidocaine into the roof of my mouth. They are just so fun. And having the dentist grab onto an upper tooth with a pair of pliers that look like they were once used in the space program and wrestling that tooth and my whole head with it for minutes that seemed at the time like endless hours is also quite a treat.

"Ah," said the dentist, that tooth is nice and loose now and I am just going to tease it right out of there now."

Well sir, the only teasing that got done was to me and my tooth, because while that tooth may have been broken, it had also evidently decided that its function in life was not yet finished and it would fight for its very survival at this hour in my life. It lost. But it was a yeoman fight and even the dentist was flabbergasted that it could hang on that aggressively after all it, and I, had been through. It finally did pop out, but only after the pliers had been upgraded several steps to one with hard core rasp like grips. Now at this point I thought perhaps the worst was over. Wrong again. Because upon further inspection, the sinus cavity that had looked suspiciously close, but narrowly out of the way of an implant turned out to be not out of the way at all, creating the need for an additional procedure called the "sinus lift."

Sinus lift. Sounds like a gentle thing, doesn't it. About as gentle as gutting your entire kitchen in a remodel on the same day you will be hosting a party for a hundred or more at 6 that evening. I saw the "punch" get picked up by the dentist, then the hammer, as he said, "Now you will feel a little tapping."

Tapping, my ass! Tapping is dance. This was war on a bone that was still very solid and wanted nothing to do with having something in my head be re-routed through a permanent detour in a 20 minute period of time. It is a good thing that the blood pressure monitor was no longer hooked up to my arm- it would have broken. Open heart surgery without anesthesia would have been less stressful than having a team of medical/dental professionals in yellow haz-mat suits hold your head against the back of the chair so the team leader could hit that chisel still harder. Marilyn had joked earlier in the day that I should be wearing my heavy duty undershorts "just in case" for this appointment. I hate it when she is right- most especially when it comes to deciding which undershorts to wear.

Even the sinus lift got completed. But that didn't mean that the plate to "hold the spot" for the implant until the now heavily stitched gum could heal would fit, did it??? Noooo-oooooooo. "Is that anesthetic still OK or am I torturing you by putting this in and out after each adjustment?"

"Uh, let me think about that for a moment please......HELLLLLP!"

But all's well that ends well. The heart did not give out to the over pressurized blood vessels either in my heart or my head- so good there. The pain on the two hour drive home kept me sharp as a tack at the wheel- no way was I falling asleep. And thanks in part to modern chemistry, a half hour after I took that pain pill that I was not allowed to take right away because I had to drive...kicked in and pulled my psyche back into a position where I started to expect to live again and thought that may be a good thing. A check up in a month. An implant in 5 or so months. Me thinks I feel a sequel coming on.

Just one question. Do they still make Valium?

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