When I walked into the dentist’s office on Wednesday, the dental hygienist held the door for me and asked me how I was.
“Scared,” I told her, without hesitation.
Another hygienist — Suzanne, my favorite — called out, “That’s gotta be Erin!”
Yeah, ha-ha, guys.
I sat in the leather chair and gripped the sides while the hygienist assisting my dentist walked me through the “so quick and easy!!!!” process of crown work. She even had a model which scared me further.
“And Dr. Ammons is just going to drill down your tooth until it’s a little cone, like a cylinder, and we’ll mold a temporary crown and stick it right on!” I learned her name was Carol and she had fifty billion grandkids. When she stretched and manipulated a band of molten plastic to be used to grab a mold of my tooth, I pretended instead it was dough and we were in her kitchen getting ready to make cookies. Sticky plastic cookies shaped like molars. Mmm.
They don’t fuck around there at my dentist’s office, there’s no kicking back and leisurely listening to soft rock, waiting for the dentist to realize that they have a patient. No, Dr. Ammons swept in quietly while Carol was making me promises that I was unsure she could keep, and popped a squat on her little dental stool. She came at me with one of those super-fun and gigantic syringes that deranged doctors kill people with all the time. The Novacaine didn’t bother me as much as the idea of having my molar shaven down into a peg.
While Dr. Ammon’s continued to grind away at my tooth like a jackhammer on asphalt, Carol spoke of her plans to take one of her grandsons for a walk that evening. “I know it sounds weird, but we like to go to the cemetery to walk.”
“MMMMMJKUIUikiioiiii!!!!!” Dr. Ammons stopped drilling and Carol looked like someone who had just heard a retarded person speak for the first time.
“Me too!” I repeated, once my oral cavity was clear of gloved hands and dental weaponry.
If Helen Mirren was presenting the Academy Award for Erin’s Crown, it might sound something like this: Unnerving. Blood-curdling. Tense. Shocking. Chilling. Dusty. Drilly. Smoking. Yucky. Sucks. Balls. Very. Hard. Fuck. This.
I made the mistake, during a short rest, to tongue the tooth being worked on. Yeah, my whore of a tongue migrated right on over and oh my God where the fuck was my tooth. A tiny little stump hung there, suspended from my gums like a miniature enamel stalactite. FUCK.
“Can you open your mouth a little wider, Erin?” A question I’m just not asked often enough, I’ll tell ya.
“Yeah, if you can just go ahead and grab that hacksaw from my back pocket? I’ve been meaning to get my mouth surgically altered into the Joker’s smile anyway.”
Once all the drilling was complete, Carol took over and began the arduous task of making the temporary crown that I would have to live with, like it or not, for the next two weeks. It’s made from acrylic so essentially I have a stripper’s fingernail for a tooth now.
Then, and this is my favorite part, Carol told me that if my crown should happen to pop off during the weekend when the office is closed, I can just march my ass right down to Walgreen’s and pick up some Fixadent or something else from the vast array of DIY dental products.
Let me tell you something, if this fucker falls off this weekend, I’ll go into shock. Seriously, I’m not trying to deal with this temporary cement bullshit. I’ll be with Christina, so if it happens, she can put it back in for me. Hopefully while I’m still passed out. And hopefully before I wind up swallowing it.
Before I left, Carol warned me not to eat anything hard, crunchy, or sticky. “Oh, that’s OK. I won’t be eating anything. Ever. Unless I can start absorbing food through my skin.”
Of course, I only lasted a few hours before my stomach was trying to eat itself so Henry made me a nice batch of mushy Ramen noodles to take to work for dinner. So basically, I’ve been eating nursing home-approved meals since Wednesday and I freak anytime food floats over to the left side, the forbidden side, of my mouth.
The pain has finally waned a little by today, but I am still so very aware of the presence of an alien object all up in my grill. And I have a cold on top of it all, so when I say that every time I round a corner, I kind of wish the Grim Reaper would be waiting to lop my head off with his sickle, I really fucking mean it.