Is it safe? No, it most definitely is not safe.
I had a wee bit of oral surgery done this morning. The crowns on two
of my root canals have disintigrated due to my grinding my teeth in my sleep
and need to be replaced, but in the process of pulverizing them I'd also
done some damage to the foundation tooth structure, taking it right down
to the gum line. This called for a procedure they call "root lengthening,"
which was described to me as peeling the gums back to expose more of the
root of the tooth so they'll have something to bond the crowns to. Yeah,
and the Spanish Inquisition was just a big misunderstanding. I felt like
Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man."
The doc juiced me up to where it felt like I had dead fish for lips and
then proceeded to work out all his frustrations on my mouth. I haven't been
poked, prodded, manhandled and abused like that since the last time I got
arrested and the boys in blue used me for batting practice. At one point
I could have sworn he was doing a handstand on an instrument wedged between
my teeth. He scraped on me, ground on me, chiseled and hammered on me. It
was as though I were a block of marble and he a sculptor, which in effect
was true since what they really do in root lengthening is not simply peel
the gums back but grind your jawbone down and generally reshape the architecture
of your head. Apparently the use of power tools is strictly prohibited so
they have to do it all by hand using brute strength and leverage.
When the surgeon was finally finished -- or perhaps too tired to do any
more -- his assistant gave me a tiny packet of pills and suggested that
I put ice on my face when I got home since "I can see some swelling
there already." I'm not even out of the chair yet and already I'm swelling.
I asked her what drugs she'd given me. Advil. I guess they'd run out of
sugar pills. Though I still had trout lips and no control of my tongue I
could feel the dull throb of pain through what they'd already shot into
me, so I knew Advil wasn't going to do the trick. I handed the pretend pills
back to her and suggested she find me something stronger. Like maybe heroin
or crack. I finally talked them into giving me some Vicodin by promising
not to become an addict or run out and sell it on the street.
Since the surgeon was still getting his wind back and more victims were
lined up in the waiting room they finally released me from the jaw bondo
shop. "You be sure to call us if those pills don't handle the pain."
I sure will, just give me your home phone number so I'm not the only one
kept up all night.
A few hours later, after the fish-juice had worn off, I was pleasantly
surprised to find that I felt almost no pain, certainly nothing a mere Advil
couldn't handle. During the street construction the doc was doing on my
head I was sure that I'd be seeing stars by afternoon. I guess the assistant
was right with her toy pills, but then she's the one with all the training.
All I had to do to qualify to be there was have bad teeth. So I'm feeling
like Lucky Pierre: no pain and free drugs. Too bad I live a clean-and-sober
life now. I guess I have no choice but to trot on down to the local schoolyard
and sell them for cigarette money...
The visit with Narp was relaxing and low-key. We lounged by the pool
and talked all afternoon, then had dinner at El Cholo in the evening along
with Narp's soon-to-be ex-husband Doug, Beth, Zoe and Pat, a former co-worker
of Narp and me and current co-worker of Beth's. I love El Cholo but it seems
I only go there when Narp's in town. She leaves and some weird sort of brain
cloud comes over me that makes me forget El Cholo and think that Mission
Burrito is pretty good. MB might be good, but it ain't no EC. Try the green
corn tamale next time you're there. You'll wonder why you waited.
10 p.m. and I'm turning this damned computer off just as soon
as I upload this. I may even be in bed by midnight for a change.
The agenda for tomorrow: Writing, baby. Gotta churn out the pages.