I’m sitting on Christina’s couch right now looking at an array of pill bottles. My face is completely numb. I just took a Vicodin, I’m contemplating a spiked lemonade, and I can’t eat anything for another 15 minutes. What happened here?
Yesterday morning, I woke up with a toothache. It was a constant, steady pain, the kind you get just after they tighten your braces, and I figured it would go away. I kept fucking with the tooth, purposely biting things with it, poking at my gums, wiggling it with my tongue, but I was able to sleep last night (thanks, Trazodone!) despite the discomfort.
I got up at noon today and the pain was worse. MUCH worse. I could barely tolerate feeling anything at all against that tooth, the left frontmost tooth on the bottom, so eating was out of the question. A google search for “emergency dentistry Santa Monica” turned up this place, and they said they could take me at two.
The office was classic LA – water installations and beautiful hygenists – but there was an open floor plan, so to get to my chair I had to actually walk through two other people’s exam “rooms”. I mean, think about that. It’s pretty weird. So I sit down, and they X-ray my mouth, and offer to turn on the TV. (A TV! In the dentists office!) I decline, as the little girl adjacent to me is blasting Sponge Bob. Some many minutes later the dentist comes in and tells me that there’s a massive infection underneath my tooth, like, a seriously a really big one, that my tooth is actually dead, and that I need a root canal.
A root canal.
Not really how I planned to spend my Thursday afternoon, but OK. Root canal. He explains the procedure, sets me up with a follow-up appointment in Phoenix next week for my crown, and gets to work.
The first shot is a breeze, but it only numbs my lip and does nothing for the constant pain inside my gumline. “Raise your left hand if it hurts”, he instructs, and my hand promptly flies into the air. “I’ll give you a shot into your main nerve”, he tells me, and, although getting a shot of Novocaine in the jaw nerve is about as awesome as having your hair set on fire, it does help a bit. Until he starts really getting in there with the files. My hand goes up again. “OK,” he says, “I’m going to put some medicine right into the tooth. Just breathe. Close your eyes.” The pain was unbelievable – just white hot and molten, ripping a jagged line through my body as sweat erupted from every pore. And it kept going. Kept going. And then, as with all things, it stopped. The rest of the procedure was cake. The whole thing took about two hours, and I walked out with prescriptions for Vicodin and Amoxicillin. Filled them next door, took a cab back to the apartment, and then, gratefully, took my new meds.
Downside: root canals suck, and I totally lost a beautiful day at the beach.
Upside: tomorrow I’m getting waxed, and the Vicodin will make it seem like a gentle massage.
And ps, I was just kidding about spiking my lemonade. It’s just barely after 5pm here, I’m trying to be good.