Wednesday, March 21, 2007

That's The Way The Toothie Crumbles

I had a root canal on Tuesday. Have you ever had dreams about your teeth falling out? I have. And after Tuesday, I really wish I could choose which of my dreams become realities. Oddly enough, there was no falling-out warning. No pain - not even a twinge! And, technically, it didn't really "fall out." It was more of a "crumble" situation. A situation in which I was chewing on piece of candy Saturday afternoon, and suddenly, half my molar imploded. Evidently (or should I say, "evidentally") (sorry), sometimes 15-year-old fillings don't last more than 15 years. And sometimes, when those fillings decide it's time to go, they take half your tooth with them. The implosion was so impressive, my husband took pictures. But I won't post them. 'Cause they're really gross.

After I'd spent some time freaking out, I called 1-800-DENTIST. It really works! A very nice lady found an office in my area that was open on Saturdays. That office was in a run-down strip mall next to a lingerie shop. I know this because I called that office from the parking lot just outside the lingerie shop to tell them I couldn't make it.

On Tuesday, I went to my husband's dentist in Newport Beach. (It wasn't next to a lingerie shop.) They gave me 3 shots, and waited for my mouth to get numb. They started drilling, and I could feel it. Oh my stars and garters, could I feel it. They gave me 3 more shots, hit a nerve (NOT GOOD) and waited. Drilled again, and I could still feel it. They determined I have a "high tolerance" for pain medication. 4 more shots, and the drilling recommenced. Two hours after I arrived, they decided I needed a root canal, and sent me over to an endodontist in the same complex. While he was giving me the first of 5 more shots, his secretary came in to talk to me.

"Hun, just so you know, we're going to need a payment of $1088 before you leave the office today, 'mkay?"


After an hour of drilling and scraping, the endodontist informed me that my root canal was half finished, but because it was infected I'd have to wait a week for the antibiotic to take effect, and come back next week to complete it. With my face half paralyzed, I wandered back across the complex to the original dentist's office, where they told me that I needed to come back a week after my root canal was finished to get a crown put on. Did you know that a crown is a two-part process? That it takes two separate trips to the dentist to get it put on? 'Mkay.

I drove back to work, and stayed there until the numbness started to wear off. Then I went home, and was grumpy. Very, very grumpy. After attempting to watch some mindless television, I was convinced by my husband that I'd be better off asleep. He gently tucked me into bed, fluffing the pillows around me, and as he turned out the light, he said, sweetly:

"Goodnight, my poor little rotty mouth."

Just so you know, I'm still grumpy. 'Mkay?

Monday, March 12, 2007


This morning, my shoulders felt as though they'd been pummeled repeatedly with a large mallet. When I put on my socks, I discovered small bruises on my calves, and my jaw was tender to the touch. Yesterday, I got a massage from a tiny Asian woman with fingers of steel.

The massage therapist I met several weeks ago, the one who worked absolute miracles with my insanely knotty muscles, wasn't available when I called to schedule an appointment last week. Not only unavailable, she was away from the spa "indefinitely." This did not surprise me. Rather, it confirmed my suspicion that both my husband and I are cursed.

Before I relate the particulars of our curse, I'd like to tell you that I have a testimony of massage therapy. I have spent many years and vast sums of money building that testimony, and lo, it is strong and unshakeable, like unto my knotty muscles. The little day spa I discovered a few miles away may have a cheap knock-off of Boticelli's Birth of Venus hanging in the lobby (complete with brush strokes - do you think it could be the real thing??), but the prices are reasonable, and the rooms are clean and serene. I've never had a bad massage there, but I've never found a therapist who totally knew what to do with the mess my knee surgery left behind. Until a few weeks ago, when I found my miracle therapist. My miracle therapist who promptly disappeared "indefinitely."

It's all part of the curse that started with my husband's hair last year. You see, Steve had been getting haircuts from the same stylist for several years, but when she moved to a salon 20 minutes away and raised her prices, he decided to be shorn elsewhere. His first trip to Supercuts seemed a success at first, but as the haircut grew out it became apparent that I was married to my very own Chia Pet. Then his brother gave him a hot tip on a specific Supercuts stylist. His name was Wee (it really was!), and he was a very short Vietnamese man with the loud, braying laugh and the meanest pair of scissors in the West. Wee was delightful, Steve was delighted, and my Chia pet departed. And then Wee just . . . disappeared. One day he was sculpting hair into works of art, and the next day - poof. No more Wee. And no one knew whither Wee went. So, Steve, despondent and decidedly shaggy, was forced to try his luck with a different stylist. And his next choice, Kwok, though a nice enough fellow, was definitely no Wee.

And so, last week, when I was told my perfect massage therapist had disappeared, I wasn't surprised. I knew that it was bound to happen to me, too. I knew I had to pick myself up and move on, just as my husband did when his hair became too poofy to be ignored. There was no weeping for Wee, and there would be no weeping for me. So I called the tacky-art day spa and booked an appointment with a tiny and preternaturally strong Japanese woman. And, as she pummeled me into a gumby-like state while her CD player softly played what can only be described as Asian Reggae, I wondered if I'd ever see my miracle massage therapist again.

I'll let you know if she turns up, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for Wee, would you?