There are a lot of reasons I suck at life, and today I'm going to tell you a story about one.
Once upon a time, a bright eyed, bushy tailed version of myself moved from my hometown in upstate NY to Baltimore, MD, to change the world as a special education teacher. Being young and dumb and confused by the world, it was a tough transition. Eventually though, I became a Maryland citizen, got a library card, found a grocery store, a doctor, and all the other life necessities that one needs.
Except a dentist. At this time, I was living the hip city girl life, basically exactly like Carrie Bradshaw, except wearing flats and solving 6 year olds' arguments about farts rather than writing a sex column. I still kept up with my cleanings, more or less, but bounced around different dentists, trying to find one I liked.
When I got married and moved to the burbs, I knew I needed a new dentist. I hadn't loved that one, and I would also walk the 2.5 miles there through sketchy neighborhoods because it was better than trying to find parking. Now, I was a good 10 miles away, so that was out.
The problem was, I have enough trouble getting motivated to complete time sensitive tasks. Something like "find a dentist" got pushed waaaaay down to the bottom of my to-do list with all the other vague non-deadline items. Plus, going to the dentist sucks, and that wasn't helping.
Then, I started getting a toothache. It gradually hurt more and more, I couldn't chew on that side, etc, etc. I applied my normal method of problem solving, which is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away on it's own. I have about a 50% success rate with this.
Maybe a week and a half ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with throbbing pain all along my gums near the sore tooth. It hurt so bad that I couldn't fall back asleep, and I am really, really good at falling back asleep in the middle of the night. I finally had to take some extra strength Tylenol (I'm not all annoying martyr about it but I hardly ever take pain meds, aside from during/after races).
So, shockingly I was in the 50% of the time where ignoring the problem wasn't working out. Or was I? While my mouth hurt the whole next day, after that, the pain was all gone, like magic! It had worked!
However, I had a sneaking suspicion that things were too good to be true. What got me to finally put on my big girl panties and man up was my recent obsession with Holocaust memoirs. Both stories discussed women in the camps suffering from infected teeth. It prompted me to get my head out of my ass and realize that I'm lucky enough to have dental insurance and a job with sick time and find a freaking dentist before things got even worse.
My friend Kristin recommended her dentist because he was "gentle", and I was sold. I loved him from the moment I met him. He noted that I checked the "fear of dentists" box on the new patient questionnaire, and asked if it was due to a bad experience. He didn't seem to judge me at all when I explained that I'd had nothing but good experiences, I just have anxiety about needles, medical procedures, pain, and life in general.
He confirmed my suspicion that the problem had not magically gone away. The nighttime pain was the infected nerve attempting to regenerate, and the subsequent lack of pain meant that it had failed, and the nerve was now dead. This is apparently VERY BAD.
I needed a root canal as soon as possible, and until I got the root canal, I would be at risk for an abscess, which would also probably take place in the middle of the night, but would be significantly more painful and more complicated to fix. I can't tell you anything else about what he said because at that point my mind had spiraled down the panic rabbit hole, because:
1. Root canal
2. We're 3 business days out from the holidays, aka a stretch where all dentists will be closed so if this horrible abscess happens I'm totally SOL.
Despite the fact that I had no one to blame but myself and there was no reason the universe should take pity on me, it did, and a root canal specialist is able to fit me in tomorrow.
I thought that was the universe taking pity on me. Until they showed me the $500 bill. That's for me to pay, after insurance has covered their portion. I barely had time to take it in because I'd only gotten a morning sub and I had to rush to work to pick up my class from lunch.
I was so nervous and upset that I was nauseous and didn't eat lunch. That's the first time I can remember being too distraught to eat since my high school boyfriend dumped me when I was 16. Even finding another woman's bra in my college boyfriend's studio apartment after we'd been dating 3 years didn't curb my appetite in the slightest. Quite convenient that this exciting first took place right before a procedure that will most likely render me unable to eat, at least for a short period. No worries though, I was starving by dinnertime.
This really isn't at all what I asked Santa for, but I guess it's what he's getting me, so ready or not, root canal, here I come.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who totally screwed myself with the whole "ignore the problem" genius plan.
I would also like to hear about root canals that were minimally painful and had a quick recovery time. Anything else about root canals just go ahead and keep to yourself.