Sunday, March 13, 2011

Going to the dentist.

This Friday I have an appointment at the VA dental office. I'm not having any problems. It's just been such a long time since I've been able to go there (4 years since my medical problems began, 1 year paralyzed, 3 years limited mobiiy), and now that I'm able to travel again, I figure "Why not?" I mean how bad can it be? I survived leg amputation. A few teeth being scraped and cleaned can't begin to compare to that. I've been going to the dentist all my life. A few fillings, 3 wisdom teeth removed, countless cleanings and X Rays 
1 horror story.

While stationed in Yokosuka, Japan in 1976, I was out on the town with a few Ugly Americans having a loud time. Not rowdy or belligerent. Just loud.When one particularly quarrelsome Japanese National voiced his disapproval with the highest insult possible for them,

(baka guy-gene, literally  "Stupid Foreigner")
Words alone have started world wars. And getting into a fight was not on the list of things I was trying to accomplish that night. So in an effort to intimidate my antagonist from escalating his disapproval. I glared at him intently (a very rude breach of cultural etiquette) and I proceeded to eat a glass of beer.

OK, I didn't eat the entire glass. But I did take 3 large bites out of the top rim, chewed them into chunks and swallowed them. The shocked look on Mr. Tokyo's face was priceless. And he and his friends made a hasty retreat for a quieter location. What none of us realized is that at one point I cracked one of my upper right molars. But the crunching of the glass when chewing it kept me from hearing it go. And maybe it was the adrenalin or the alcohol, I'm not sure which, that kept me from feeling the pain. I just know that there was no pain, until reveille the next morning. And then it was exquisite. 
So off to the dentist I went.

Enter Doctor EVIL!

The assessment is grim, the tooth had been cracked all the way to the roots, and needed to be removed. The doctor administered one Novocaine shot and left the room for 5 min. When he returned and asked if I was numb I replied "No sir." 
So he gave me a second shot, left the room for another 10 min. and asked again if I was numb? To which I replied "No Sir!"
So he gave me a third shot of Novocain and disappeared out the door again. When he returned another 10 min. later and asked if I was numb I truthfully and emphatically replied "NO!"
To which he responded "that's not possible. You must be confusing the sensation of pressure with the sensation of feeling". (WTFO)
I assured him that I could feel him touching my face, at which point he opened my mouth, reached in with the extractors and pulled my tooth anyway. A blinding hot flash of pain shot through my head. And I came up out of the chair right behind my tooth. I unleashed a string of sailor words that are still echoing over Yokohama Bay 30 years later. 

Lieut. Cmdr. Evil reminded me that I was being insubordinate in my language. And with blood spraying on my dress whites, I responded with a threat to his physical well-being. And I chased him out of office, down the hall, out of the medical building, and down the street. It must have been an alarming sight. Because in a matter of mere seconds shore patrol was on my trail, subdued and arrested me. By the time I came before the officer the day to explain my situation, my mouth was so numb I could hardly speak.

And while I anticipate no such problems this trip, I'm always up for a little adventure! See you around the blogosphere…


Anonymous said...

Had the misfortune to have my lower wisdom teeth removed while at Navsta San Diego. I went in and assumed the position of repose, A fairly fresh Lieutenant came in and cheerily informed me that the teeth would be out post haste. No problem says I. He numbed me up and when I was indeed numb he started on the right side. He applied pressure and the tooth she no move. So he pulls harder,my head and upper body are being lifted. He calls for the DT to assist in holding me down. I suggested that wasn't a good idea. The Lt informs me that I should shut up. I refused to let him continue,he says something about restraints. I grasped him by his man parts none too gently and said "You are done!" He left the room at high speed. A Commander walks in with the question as to what might have caused this problem. The DT is trying not to fall down laughing. I tell him what has occurred (while kissing my crow goodbye.) He goes into the pway to confer. Looking at my x-rays I hear him gently explaining to the Lt that Booth my teeth are impacted and a straight extraction will break the jaw. He then returns and drills into the center of each tooth, breaks it into 4 parts and removes it, nothing is ever said about any assault. Another bullet dodged.
Rey B FC1(ret)

Marnie said...

My sister is 5 feet flat. When she had made the appointment to get her wisdom teeth extracted, she was told that since they were all impacted she would be put under at the hospital. Well...the day came and they had assigned a different dentist, who didn't believe in putting someone under. He instead made her higher than a kite and froze her.

I was waiting for her and a nurse came out to the waiting room. She she was shaking...apparently it took 3 RN's to hold her down for the procedure. My sister had such a tight grip on the dentist's hand, he needed help getting her off of him. I think he now puts people under...

Great post, as usual xo

Ms. A said...

Glad this wasn't a circumcision! My Dad didn't get one, until he joined the Army. Said it was awful!

Karen said...

I've got the shivers just reading this stuff... Good Lord.

Anonymous said...

Go by and see "The Dental Maven", She'll fix you right up and is super nice.

Renee said...

Okay, I have to admit that I chuckled a tad bit at your misfortune!

I certainly hope this trip to the dentist goes better for you!

Kimberly said...

Had all 4 wisdom teeth removed at one time. Anesthesia was awesome as it always is...however, when the procedure was done, I was hugging the wall when I walked out.

Cloudia said...

Warm Aloha & Gratitude from Honolulu!

Comfort Spiral



Jo said...

Ohmygoodness... that had me laughing out loud. You have had quite a colorful life, Kurt...!

Have you seen "The Hangover"? The dentist pulled out his own tooth, just to show off. Of course, he was rather -- numb -- when he did it. Woke up the next day covered in blood, with no tooth, and couldn't remember.

NicNacManiac said...

Oh my do crack me up!
My daughter had 4 wisdom teeth removed on Friday...glad I don't recall the pain of my own removal!


OMG! I can't believe you ate glass !!!!

That's awful that he F**d up the shots. I had that happen during a root canal when I was telling the dentist I could feel it, to which he replied I could not.
He ,only afterwards, realized he had frozen the wrong tooth nerve!

Spockgirl said...

Yikes... Ever since I was a kid I liked going to the dentist, but never had any experience remotely close to that.

And... "baka" (spelling?)... one of the very few words that I knew in Japanese as a kid ... and it was a bad word.