Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Prodigal Daughter Returns... To the Dentist

It's been at least a year. I know. I know. I'm a coward. But sometimes it's just hard to make that call.

The last time I was at the dentist, Nan gave me a good scolding about my appalling flossing skills. And the Doc informed me that I need to go see a specialist about my lower right molar. While Nan succeeded in shaming me into improving my flossing habits (twice a day every day now!), the visit to the specialist was studiously avoided. Forgotten. Business card misplaced. Thought about. Taught a couple hundred kids. Worried over. Forgotten again. Went on a cruise. Stuff happens.

So, a week ago, I woke up with a huge lump in the lower right corner of my mouth. The gums were swollen and the tooth was throbbing. I ignored it. I fought through the pain. I prayed to the dental gods and asked for it to spontaneously heal itself. And then finally last night I decided I couldn't take it anymore. The lump was getting bigger and bigger and visions of abscesses and tumors and jaw removal surgery kept dancing through my head like sadistic sugarplum fairies. So I called the dentist office and threw myself on their mercy. I told them I was sorry that I had ignored their loving calls reminding me gently that "it's been a while". I asked them to please find some way to squeeze me in some afternoon as soon as possible. And I assured them that they were right and I was wrong and I should have just listened to them from the beginning. (Sadly, this was all left on an answering machine, so I can only imagine the bonding that took place around the phone this morning as the receptionist called people over to listen to my nervous ramblings.)

Well I got a blessed message today, telling me that - although the Doctor would be out the rest of the week for a vacation - he could squeeze me in this very afternoon after my math club meeting (more on that later). Miraculous! After a brief but tortuous check for any nerve damage involving tiny metal hammers, dry ice, and sharp little probes, he discovered that I have the mother of all canker sores on my gums - right on the inside of the jaw bone - which has caused the swelling and pain. He even whimpered a little bit when he described how big it was.
Grateful to know it's not a tumor.

I guess the dental gods were actually listening.

But I still have to work up the courage to call the specialist.

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