Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hell in a Handbasket

Sort of lost the plot for a couple of days--Sunday on purpose, yesterday totally against my will.

Sunday ended up being a reading day.  The anticipated storm didn't materialize--as usual with weather reports--though it was cold and crappy.  A perfect day to finish my book, which I did, whilst a nice big pot of spaghetti sauce bubbled away on the stove.  The storm was apparently stalled out at sea, gathering strength, but now is making its way inland bringing high winds, snow and below normal temps.  We'll see how this second prediction goes. 

Then yesterday, everything went to hell in a handbasket.

(Brief aside:  Curious, I looked up that saying.  I know what it means--headed for disaster; things rapidly going downhill--but where did it actually come from?  As it turns out, no one knows exactly, though the general consensus is it's an American idiom, and possibly dates from the Civil War.  Go figure).

So, back to Monday morning.  I had a dentist appointment at Noon, so was up early, had breakfast, then was in the shower when the day took the first dive.

Washing my face.  I use this foaming face wash, and somehow, I really don't know how, I sucked in a foamy bubble.  OMG.  I think most of us have accidentally inhaled some kind of liquid during the course of our lives, haven't we?  My humiliation of choice is usually sucking it down the wrong pipe, then spewing it out my nose.  I'm talented that way.  I've choked on various drinks--milk when I was a kid, water in all its forms throughout my adulthood, wine, whiskey...oh the list goes on.  I'm convinced I have a faulty mechanism down my throat behind my epiglottis.

So, I've sucked in this bubble, and suddenly I can't breathe.  The soap is doing something alien to my lungs.  I try to gargle the soap out, but that makes it worse, like I've just made more bubbles instead of eliminating one.  I start coughing, but that turns to choking, and I feel my heart kick into overdrive because I'm not breathing.  I can cough out, can't take air in.  Slam off the shower, jump out, raise my arms above my head to expand my chest, giving my lungs more room, then I hack, and cough, and spit, and try to clear my throat while the "This Was Your Life" video begins to play across my frontal lobe.

Finally, after what seems like hours, I manage a deep, shaky breath...then another.  Eventually I can blow my nose, wipe the tears from my eyes, and almost breathe normally.  I finish my shower, pondering the "what-ifs".  By the time I get to the part in my mental worse-case scenario where the dogs have had to eat my corpse to stay alive, I'm out of the shower, a bit the worse for wear, but still in this world.  Later, I make a point to fill the dogs' food dishes to the brim.

Dash off to the park, still coughing and clearing my throat, but I'll live; back from walking the boys and it's time for the dentist.  Yippee.  I didn't bother with lunch as the appointment was to be fairly quick and I would just eat when I got home.

I will totally spare you, gentle readers, from the lurid details of what happened next.  Truly, I can hardly bear thinking of it myself. 

(Another brief aside:  I have a bad canine tooth.  When I was younger and didn't have dental insurance, a friend told me about the dental college, and how you hardly had to pay; the trade off was that you were worked on by a student, though with professorial supervision.  I had a small cavity on the underside of the left canine.  Easy peasy.  The sadist student who ruined my tooth was not supervised, and the idiot managed to drill clear up into the root of my tooth.  Long story short, I had to have extensive work done, several times over the years, to repair/save the tooth.  And no, I wasn't able to sue the frigging dental college because you signed a waiver beforehand.  I did contemplate mowing the bastard down in a dark alley though...)

My dentist is working on my canine when there's this...snap...sound.  He freezes, his assistant freezes, then I look up and catch them looking at each other.  Oh well shit, this is SO not good.  The second dive of the day.  And again, I will leave out the bloody, painful, wrenching grim details, though I have two tips to impart:

Tip One:  When the dentist says he needs to give you a shot in the roof of your mouth to make sure you don't feel any of the coming procedure--digging out the broken bits of tooth--tell him you have to pee, calmly get out of the chair, then run as fast and as far as possible.  Be a snaggle-tooth, no one will notice or care and you will spare yourself so much grief.

Tip Two:  While you are silently screaming in agony as the dentist tries to remove the bits of broken tooth, then stitches your gums back together when he's finished, bring the face of that long-ago student into your mind and vow to hunt him down, assuming you survive this ordeal.

Two hours later, I stagger home.  I'm half in shock at the turn of events, shaky and trembly, and feeling sorry for myself on so many levels.  I'm also very hungry but now can't eat, can't have anything to drink except warm water, and have to bite down on this gauze pad for the next 2-4 hours. 

It isn't until much later in the evening however that I realize the full extent of the damage.  The bleeding finally stops, I manage to eat a small container of yogurt out of the good side of my mouth, then get up the nerve to look in the mirror.

It's bad.  Really bad. 

Here, right now, stop reading and take a moment.  Go to a mirror, and really look at your canine teeth.  They're not like the rest.  They grow into the side of the gums, not out of a flat base like the other teeth.  They are also longer, bigger, very...wolf-like, primitive and, well, canine.  Without that tooth?  The hole is enormous, it goes almost to the top of my gum where my inner cheek starts, and as if that isn't bad enough, the stitches make it look diabolical.

I go to bed early, mouth swollen and sore, teeth hurting, no doubt in sympathy for their fallen comrade.  I toss and turn, reliving my day:  Near-death experience in the morning, want-to-die experience in the afternoon.  Truly, I've just gotta stop having so much fun...


  1. I had a canine removed two years back and still hope to have it replaced at some point. Perhaps it's vanity, but I no longer even pretend to smile other than in the manner of a smirk because of that damage.

    I'll help you hunt down the sadist, if you'd like...

  2. My amiling days are well and truly over at this point. If I even tried to smile with the gaping hole and the stitches...well, people would recoil in shock and horror.

    I will pretend to be a geisha. Giggle behind the hand covering my mouth.

    Thanks for the help with hunting down the bastard. Wish I really knew how to find him.

  3. If you want to count this as the worst day of your life, you may. And I hope it stays that way.

  4. Thank you for your thoughts...I'll take all the help I can get at this point.

  5. My dear, we have enough in common to be a bit frightening. Mine was a 3rd world country experience having a wisdom tooth extracted while I was AWAKE. No pain meds. By the end, the dentist's foot was planted between my knees on the chair and I was gripping the arms as he wrenched it back and forth....

    There was blood on the walls.

    Now even in casual conversation the word "dentist" leaves me twitching and asking for liquor.

    So, so sorry....

    1. Too funny...especially the bloody walls. Mine was more pooling on the floor.

      I went to lunch today with a friend. Had to have soup of course. She asked me why I was talking out of the corner of my mouth. I said, "You want to see why?" She says, "Oh, how bad can it be?" I pull back my top lip. She recoils in horror...and can't finish her sandwich.

      I believe dentists are reincarnated priests from the Spanish Inquisition, well-versed in torture.