First, BGs, an announcement. I will be at Glorieta writers conference today through Sunday, so I won't post Thursday or Friday. Not sure about Monday, since I post the night before, and I'm getting in Sunday night. But I'll be back next week--I promise.
And now, back to the dentist . . .
Doc takes the mirror from Miss Hygie’s hands so casually, as if he hasn’t just shattered my nerves in a million pieces. He offers it to me. “Please hold it so I can show you a few things.”
I twist in my chair to look at him, wild-eyed. “Huh-uh.”
He tilts his head in a here-we-go gesture. This guy’s been my dentist for a long time. He knows underneath the shuck and jive is a Big D wimp times a thousand. Squared. “Come on now, holding a mirror is not going to hurt you.”
My jaw’s clamped down like it’s been wired shut. I’m not sure it would open with a crowbar. “Hm-mm.” I shake my head.
Doc turns to Miss Hygie. “Good thing you took those X-rays, or I never would have seen that problem with this one.” He points to the lighted charts.
Miss Hygie looks so pleased with herself I’d like to knock her into the next room.
And I know what the doc’s doing, cunning medical man that he is. He figures not knowing will be worse for me than knowing. Without a doubt he’s lasering right into my mind, seeing the imaginings of ten Big Ds drilling my mouth at once like it’s some newfound oil well. I tell myself his manipulations won’t work, not at all. Even as my teeth begin to part.
“That’s my girl. All right.” Doc keeps a pleasant face. He is always pleasant. He even rubs my arm in sympathy. It’s hard to hate a dentist like this.
I turn all my malice toward Miss Hygie, who’s posed in the doorway with in smug victory. I want to tell her I kill people for a living. That I know more about poisons and spiders and blood splatter than she’ll learn about choppers in a lifetime. But the doc’s already managed to stick two fingers into my loosening mouth. My guess is he saw what was coming and wanted to head it off at the pass.
“Come on, you going to bite my fingers or will you open up your mouth?”
If only he were Miss Hygie, the answer would be so simple. As it is, I open up all the way. He pushes my mirror-holding hand up so I can see my own reflection. I have looked better on a sick bed after losing every bit of content in my stomach.
Doc proceeds to show me three wayward teeth. One, with a large filling, is cracking. It needs a crown. The second, Miss Hygie’s favorite, is a huge new cavity gracing the X-ray. It’s too deep for just a filling. It needs a crown. A third tooth needs a filling. If I don’t do them—soon—one of those teeth is likely to break. Then I’ll be in real trouble.
It’s all over in sixty seconds. The proof, reflected in the mirror shaking in my hand, of over two hours of needed dental work. Half at least claimed by the Big D.
I can’t talk. I can’t swallow. I can’t breathe. Doc waits until I get hold of myself. My hand lowers the offending mirror. A lopsided smile finds it way to my face and stretches my lips like some gargoyle’s. “Hey, Doc.” My voice sounds like the Tin Man’s, but I press on. “I hear you’re into drugs these days.”
He frowns. “Drugs?”
Miss Hygie speaks up like the know-it-all she is. “She means sedation while you work.”
“Oh.” He nods. “Yes, sedation. I’ve been doing that for about a year now. You thinking you want that?”
What, did I just walk into this guy’s life yesterday? “Doc, it’s me you’re talking to. I will die if you do this work on me.”
He wags his head. “Well then, you’re a perfect candidate. We’ll do it. You take a pill about an hour before you come in. Have someone drive you here. Then we’ll give you another pill, and we’ll just wait as long as it takes until you’re relaxed.”
Sounds like a plan. Sleep through the whole thing. There’s only one problem. I’m bad with pain killers. In fact, I flat out can’t take them. I may never get out of this guy’s chair if I do. I tell him this.
He shrugs. “No problem. Maybe you’ll only need the one pill then. Don’t worry, the stuff wears off fast. Just have someone ready to drive you home.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay.” I crawl out of his chair, mentally scrabbling for all the attitude I can get. If I don’t find it about now, I’m going down fast. I grab my purse, ready to jet
“You been eating a lot of sugar lately?” Doc stops me.
My head pulls back. “Okay, so I’m an Atkins flunkie. So is half the world.”
“Does that mean yes?” He won’t let this go.
I give him an exasperated look. “I’ve been known to eat a few speckles in my day.”
“I thought so. That new cavity looks like sugar to me.”
To this I have no reply. I head for the front area. Doc follows me out. “All right, let’s schedule this now.” He knows me.
“I can’t. I have to check with my husband when he can drive me. He travels a lot.”
“Then talk to him and call me within twenty-four hours. If you don’t call us, we’re going to call you, okay?”
My lips stretch. “Wow, doc, didn’t know you need the business that bad. You buy a new house and can’t pay your mortgage? Spend too much dough on a spiffy sports car? That’s what happens in a mid-life crisis, you know.”
A gal behind me in the waiting room snickers.
That mouth of mine keeps chattering. “Tell you what, you can have my firstborn, will that help?”
He gives me a look. “Call me, hear? You really need to get this done.”
I point both fingers at him, like double barrels, and give him a final grin. “Don’t call us; we’ll call you.”
I tootle out the door with a wave.
Big D Day isn’t scheduled yet. But it soon will be. I may die, but I have no choice.
Wonder what drugs will do to my sarcasm level?
Read Part 4