Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A shameful story of cowardice ....

Saturday evening, eating glorious Turkish food and something hard shoots up into one of my teeth.

I try to remove it with a toothpick and lift up my filling.
Unhappy, I panic ...

Gert, do you have emergency dentists in your country?
We do but what do you need it for?
I explain.
He isn't convinced.

I get a mirror and look.
OHMYGOD, I notice the back of my capped tooth is black!!

Gert, look ... the back of my capped tooth is completely black!
Hasn't it always been like that?
No, and have a look at the loose filling.

Are you sure it's loose?
I'm sure, look ... I have to push it back in with my tongue.

He sighs. His back is incredibly painful and it's a Saturday night.

He points out I finally have a dental appointment on Tuesday. (I have a social security card. It's changing my life).

I reply, 'And what if I choke on my filling when it falls out in the night?' ... silently thinking, the night before my birthday no less.

He asked why I thought it might fall out and choke me.
I explain that when I was young, a man down the road choked to death on his false teeth in the night.

He snorted with laughter then realised I was serious.
Are you sure? he asked.

I am, I replied very earnestly.

For a while he tried to rationalise things with me ... pointing out that the filling had probably been loose for a long time ... that there was no reason to believe it would fall out in the night.

I withdrew into silence.

Today I went to the dentist.
A young guy came in while I was waiting.
We talked ... well I did, asking him if he'd been there before.
He told me yes, that he'd had a tooth out there just recently.
My eyes widened, I probably paled ... realising that the secrets I've kept in my mouth while an in-process immigrant on travel insurance could mean I might lose a tooth.

'She's good', he said when he noticed my look.
I tried to go back to my book then realised that we were there at the same time ... therefore we had different dentists!

I asked him which one was his.
He pointed. She called my name ...
I'm sorry stranger but YAY, I thought as I went into her office.

She looked in my mouth and asked me if I had some pain.
I hesitated ... not sure what the right answer might be - that would be the answer that avoided work.

I courageously confessed to eating only on the left side in these days.
She suggested I continue to do so until she can repair me.

So it seems I will live.
I walked home telling myself 'It's not a car accident ... it's not bomb ... it's not a terrible medical diagnosis ... it's only 3 teeth with a point snapped off, containing 2 broken fillings that will be repaired in a couple of weeks. It's only ... it's only ... it's only.'

And the black tooth?
Well, they put porcelain on the front and metal on the back of capped teeth. It's always been like that since they replaced the tooth that I unsuccessfully tried to catch a basketball with back when I was a teenager.

And how do you spell my last name?
Ohhhhh that would be ... N-E-U-R-O-T-I-C.


Anonymous said...

Ohhh, we're still on right, with all your conditions, you sure you don't want to cancel right?

Teeth who needs them anyways, all they do is kill people. Mostly lion's teeth though, but still same sort. Completely not trustworthy.

Mathieu said...


I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh but that was hilarious.

That said, I need to go get mine checked, haven't done it since I got here more than a year ago...

woman wandering said...

Of course manic, we're planning a New Zealand meal for you :)

Idiot ... you made me roar with laughter when I read your comment about lion teeth.

woman wandering said...

It occured to me (only in retrospect) that there was a little humour in the whole horrible episode.

You may laugh mathieu ;) but get your teeth checked. I have become one of those stories people tell their children ...sigh.

V-Grrrl said...

I faithfully go to the dentist every six months but I do so with fear and loathing--and I'm overdue for an appointment now. Wah!

woman wandering said...

These last 3 years have been odd years for me ... living in other countries.

I have this incredible dentist back in New Zealand ... I miss him so much.

Lisa said...

Not as neurotic as I am, my dear. I once scheduled and fretted over an appointment for two weeks, only to go in and have my dentist tell me he's sorry, but he just can't in good conscience drill and try to repair a tea stain.

He brushed it off with his little air powered toothbrush in about ten seconds. I felt like a FOOL.

But I can say this much of my past dental work, the feeling of freedom and happiness once you know you don't have to go back for a long, long time is priceless. Try and concentrate on that. :)

woman wandering said...

Thanks Lisa but you know that elusive feeling of freedom comes only AFTER they've done the work ... sigh.

There's talk of a root canal filling ...

Liza said...

When it comes to encounters of the dental kind, it seems that you and I have the same last name...

I had to be dragged to one by a friend after I lost a filling, and only agreed because it was finally becoming just too unbearable.

woman wandering said...

Oh Liza ... lol, you're tougher than me but I'm glad you know what it cost me to walk there voluntarily.