Friday, February 12, 2010

My roots are a "22"

Yesterday I put on my heavy winter boots and shoveled a narrow path out to the car, brushed off a foot of snow, brisked the ice off the mailbox, and clomped back in the house to get dressed for a root canal appointment. It's not every day that you find yourself grateful to push aside heavy snow to get to the endodontist, but I've been waiting to get to see this guy for a few weeks, and two of them on a cheery round of bacteria-killing penicillin. The snow storm almost pushed my appointment back another two weeks, but a cancellation got me in earlier. I felt like I was hanging around the phone for a date to call.

With the blinds open at the office, the sun opened up a warm seat in the waiting room for me to fill out my forms and tuck into a book. The ear-budded office staff talked about efficiency with delegating the tasks of the day, and I tried to worry less by reading. Then the dreaded and anticipated sound of the endodontist's assistant calling my name, the intermittent shaking of my legs as I worried about not being able to swallow as my face went numb with novocain.

When the endodontist arrived, he tried to chit-chat about the weather to calm me. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?" he asked, as my mouth was pried open. I tried to say "gorgeous," but it came out "gggshush."

Then I was faced with a light above my head and what felt like a torn balloon over my wide-open mouth for an hour and a half while the assistant and endodontist worked their medical magic. Words like "mesial" and "pulp" peppered their conversation. I wore plastic goggles and wondered what would happen next most of the time since they weren't the type of dentists who gave a play-by-play to their patient. There was the smell of clove, and the feel of my tooth being oddly higher than the rest for a bit, like a skyscraper jutting out among cottages. I saw the the tiny plastics that would be used to replace my roots, which I was told were "really long." I thought of how careful the dentists were, and how detailed the work was, and wondered about what I do for a living and how it compares. There's no avoiding someone's need for a root canal if it is your job to perform one. There is plenty of avoidance in a writer.

At some point my legs ceased their shaking, and the dentist talked about how he was tricked into watching a movie with his wife on the snow day before. It was "Slumdog Millionnaire." Had I seen it? Did I like it? With my mouth still latexed like the lining of a pool all I could say was "Yesh," but I didn't really like it.

When the procedure was over, I thanked both of them for their careful work, and walked out with my palsied mouth into the sun to try to whistle in the mirror. I laughed at the sight, started the car, and drove off into the blinding blue light of a gggshsh day.

1 comment:

Mike Lindgren said...

They told me I have really long roots too!