Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Drill, Baby, Drill

It’s been almost twelve hours now, and I think I can feel my mouth again.

I have always had an ambivalent relationship with anesthetics. On the one hand, I have a certain amount of resistance to them – they take forever to kick in with me, and more than once I have had to point this out to various medical professionals in rather direct terms. It is surprising how much information you can get across with just a verb. So they give me more. This brings up the other hand, which is that once they do start to kick in, they are fairly effective. And this means that I remain numb for quite some time afterward.

I once had a minor three-minute procedure done on my big toe that left my right leg numb pretty much up to mid-thigh for half a day. This makes public transportation a fascinating challenge. It also makes showing up to work interesting when your job is to drive people around the city.

Today, as part of my ongoing campaign to pay attention to healthcare again, I spent most of the morning at the dentist’s office getting a temporary crown put in.

With my new crown I figure I’m almost royalty. Charles I of England. Louis XVI of France. That sort of royalty. At least it felt that way until the drugs started to work.

The whole procedure took about an hour, including waiting for the meds to kick in and convincing the receptionists afterward that they really did want me to pay for this. I suppose I could have skipped that part, but a) I’d spent an earlier hour on the phone with my employer mapping out how to get the Medical Savings Account we’re forced to set up and which we lose entirely if we don't use to pay for this - my insurance wouldn’t even think of covering it, don't be silly - and b) if I left they might send lawyers out after me, and frankly the kind of lawyer who would work in collections for a dentist scares me.

It was a pleasant enough time if you didn’t think too hard about the fact that of the three of us in that little office, one person was sawing away at my person with a power tool and another was pressing down in my mouth with a stick in order to give the first person room to maneuver. I’m not really an ideal patient, let’s put it that way. We talked of trips to St. Louis and children and other pleasant subjects, tried very hard to ignore the political ads that are beginning to infest the airwaves in Wisconsin now that our Republican primary is likely to have meaning for the first time in decades, and otherwise passed the time in a curious sort of willful ignorance of what was being done.

But now I can feel my mouth again.

And I’m not sure this is an improvement.

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