Meet My New Dentist

dentistryI had some very awful experiences with dentists when I was a child. It started with the elderly guy who still used the same equipment he had started out with during World War I, including a hot drill which simultaneously burned out the decay and the nerve endings while scorching the sinuses — for what seemed like hours to my four-year-old mind. He also had an aversion to that new-fangled Novocaine stuff. (It was for sissies — which I was happy to be at that tender age. To this day, I still have no problem with being one.)

After one very bad session with him, we moved on to Torture Expert #2. This one didn’t like little girls who wanted their mommy in the room with them. So, when I continued to fuss, he slapped my face, then promised me more of the same if I didn’t quit crying. (His assistant did not intervene. I quit crying.)

After those two horrifying experiences, every time I went to the dentist for decades after, my stomach tied up in knots for days before the visit. I finally confessed my terror to one kind young doc, who assured me dentistry did not have to be painful anymore, and he wasn’t going to hurt me. He was true to his word, and the next thirty years went by without any further trauma — no more knots, and no more slaps.

Enter my new dentist. I didn’t ask for him. Let’s just say it was sort of an inheritance. We’ll call him Dr. Sadistic, because, you know, “The names have been changed to protect the guilty.” I mentioned to the hygienist that one of my wisdom teeth had been aching sometimes at night. So, she took an x-ray to look for an abscess or anything else abnormal. There was none to be seen. I was satisfied.

However, the clean x-ray was not good enough for the new dentist. He decided to do an “intense” test using extreme cold, to look for cracks. First, he wanted to test a “healthy” tooth and see how that one reacted. Then, he would do the same test on the “unhealthy” wisdom tooth and see how the two compared. I suspected what “intense” meant — PAIN. I should have said no on the spot, but my brain cells sometimes go into hibernation. It takes them a while to get it together. Often, it is too late to retreat by the time they accomplish ther mission.

So, he tested the molar next to the wisdom tooth in question. Now, I had not been entirely sure from the get-go which of those two teeth was the actual problem. But I neglected to mention that. He applied the cold what-ja-ma-thingy. I yelled,”YOWWW!!! We are not going to do any more of this, OK???!!!” (This is why they play music none too softly in the dentist’s office — to mask the sounds of agony in the next cubicle.)

He was disappointed that I refused to continue. Surprised, he queried after half a minute, “Is it still hurting? That’s unusually sensitive.” He had figured on six seconds. It still hurt minutes afterward, and in fact, when I left the office half an hour later, it still ached a little. The ache returned at suppertime, hours later.

Long after vacating the torture chamber, the brain cells began to hum along a little faster. “Wait a minute. He was looking for cracks in a wisdom tooth? Why? We’re not going to put a crown on it, and if it breaks or there is an abscess or decay, we’re going to pull it. And the x-ray found neither abscess nor decay, so why did we even do this? If it needs yanking, that will eventually become evident without this crazy test. … Wait another minute. Did I pay extra for this?”

I will be on my guard against Dr. Sadistic in the future. In fact, there may not be any future relationship at all.


New Study Touts Bratwurst as Health Food


Brats and KrautA few years ago, we broke the story on bratwurst as the cure for swine flu.  Based on that find, the results of this latest study should not be a surprise — especially to lifetime residents of Wisconsin.  (We always said we were progressive!)

Right on time for Memorial Day festivities, a far-reaching clinical study just released by the prestigious Masbur Foundation has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that eating bratwurst significantly increases life expectancy. The quantity providing optimum effectiveness is 69.7 lbs. per person annually, with larger quantities producing no additional benefits, but not posing any health risks, either. Apparently “too much of a good thing” only means … more enjoyment of a good thing.

In the study, which covered a dozen brands of bratwurst, consistent consumption of Johnsonville Brats seemed to provide the greatest benefits. Data analysts surmised that bratwurst-induced longevity might be connected to body-healing chemicals released through the taste buds, thereby explaining why Johnsonville had the edge on the other brands.

The study also suggests that generous doses of sauerkraut consumed in tandem with bratwurst helps the anti-aging process.

Of Migraines and Throat Scopes

I am currently under the influence, so we can’t be sure what will be said, but at least I am having fun. They told me not to drive or sign contracts after my throat scope, but nobody said a peep about writing blog posts.

The story started some weeks ago with a feisty migraine that did not make its usual concession to migraine medicine. Misery ensued, including a vomiting session, which is common for migraine sufferers. But unlike all the times before, chunks of blood came up with the stomach acid, which called for a trip to my doctor.

She was A-OK with me barfing up blood — said it was “just” an esophagus tear, probably nothing to be concerned about. But I have a knack for volunteering information that I should keep to myself. In answer to a routine question, I admitted that sometimes food feels like it gets stuck in my throat.

Doctors and tech support people from foreign countries are much alike. They listen for key phrases and then automatically respond to those, no matter what else you tell them. “Food stuck in throat,” is such a key phrase — and it brings dire possibilities to doctors’ minds. She didn’t hear anything after that, and began punching buttons to schedule a throat scope.

So, today was scope day. The prep was almost nonexistent — no breakfast and NO WATER for four hours ahead of the procedure. Simple enough — IF one does not wake up with a migraine. I was concerned that might happen. It did. The alarm went off two hours before the scope job, and Old Man Migraine had already made his appearance.

So I cheated. I took my first-line-of-defense drug, ibuprofen, downed with a tablespoon of the prohibited water. This was not the brightest move in the world. I should have immediately gone for the high-powered migraine stomper, but my thinking abilities at 5:00 a.m. are not the best. One-half hour later, Mr. Migraine was not only on my doorstep; he had broken and entered the house. So I debated cheating again with an additional tablespoon of the prohibited H2O for the sake of the big-gun drug … but didn’t.

I got to the scope place and explained that if the migraine really went south, I might throw up at an inopportune time, like while the scoping was in progress. (They probably have people retch all the time while they’re doing that, but are too delicate to tell on themselves.)

“Not to fear!” assured the RN. “The narcotics we’re going to pump you full of are gonna knock any pain you have into outer space. And if you start to feel sick, we’ll just put some nausea antidote in that silly little IV you’re wearing, too!”

Enter the scope doc, and I didn’t bother to mention barf concerns. But he wanted to know why, exactly, I was there. I told him about doctors and key words. (I left out the comparison to tech support people in foreign countries so as not to agitate him. He was going to be stuffing hardware down my throat, after all, and I wanted him to be feelin’ groovy while doing it.)

He decided that he was going to stretch my esophagus, in hopes that I would never get shredded wheat and other foodstuffs stuck again. (He said sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. If not, I would “just have to live with it.” I was perfectly happy living with it before now anyway.) He agreed with me that there was probably nothing wrong.

Seemingly nanoseconds later, everything was reported to be normal. But now my throat ached powerfully (from stretching it), and my head still hurt as much as ever. So much for narcotics that pack a whollop no migraine can withstand.

I popped the migraine dope which should have been ingested hours previously, along with a muffin and a glass of juice. They then wheeled me out to the car in a jellified state and shoveled me in. By this time, I highly suspected that they had not put any of that lovely nausea inhibitor in my IV.

We made a stop at the post office, and while my husband, a former postal employee, was inside swapping stories with his buddies (or whatever else he does over a couple of packages), I faced the grim reality that it had been entirely stupid not to bring an ice cream pail and a box of tissues along in the car. The major decision now became whether to open the door and discreetly release the goods right there in the parking lot next to the car, or head for the nearest snowbank and hope I wouldn’t woozily topple over trying to get there.

I opted for the snowbank, not wanting other postal patrons to step in decomposing muffin mingled with stomach acid. I made it, without any nose-dive mishaps. The process was not discreet, but at least I got ‘er done.

I was afraid hubby would absent-mindedly drive off without me. He came out, vaguely noticed something large was missing from the car, and scanned the landscape. I think he might have sauntered over to the snowbank and toddled me back to the car, but can’t remember for sure. I just know that I got home somehow and slept for hours before adventuring to tell the world about the experience.

Published in: on January 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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