Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Let's go shopping! Notes I'd love to write

Dear Target,
You sold me dried out Clementines. Do you know how expensive those things are? If you have old produce and you choose to sell it, you should knock off more than a buck. In fact, there should be a little sticker warning the buyer that the produce needs to be consumed within an hour. You do it in the meat department. Dang, I go to your grocery section late in the evening and all sorts of meat has little stickers for $3 off and an expiration date. Come to think of it, I do not like shopping for groceries at your store. Your selection is lame. Maybe you should outsource that part of your operation.


Dear Fareway Grocery Stores,
I love you. I love the homemade mincemeat and meat selection. The best part is all the handsome men behind the butcher counter who act like every female who stands before them is the most sparkly, vibrant and attractive version of womanhood they've seen all day. Do you hire attentive men on purpose? Well played.

I like that you're Iowa-based and I like that even your big stores are sort of small. Reminds me of my childhood, but thanks for getting rid of those dumb freezers you have to lean over. Hated them. Remember shivering when you were a kid in shorts and a tank top in the freezer section?


Dear DSW,
Seriously? You have 345345 million pairs of shoes on display and not one of them is what I'm looking for.

I hate you,

Dear Trader Joe's,
I want you to give out samples of beer every time I walk through the door. I want your produce to sell faster so you have more turnover and so I don't bring home moldy things. I want your pretzel bread to have more coarse salt on top. Otherwise, I think you're just dreamy.


Dear Sports Authority,
That was great. I take three boys into your store, we find what we want, we pay, we leave. I say, "That was a great shopping trip" and the oldest says, "That wasn't shopping! That was just in and out." What did you do with his man card while we were in the shoe department? Please return at your earliest convenience.


Dear Sears,
I hear you are having some issues these days. Hang in there. I know some people say you're washed up, but I love you. It takes courage to age gracefully.

Thinking of you,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

People who early learn the right way to choose a dentist have their reward. ~ Mark Twain

Let's continue the saga, shall we? Because dental work is too much fun not to share.

I went to see Dr. Calm yesterday afternoon and I enjoyed myself so much, I stayed and chatted for 90 minutes. I'm lying. I stayed. We chatted, but I wasn't enjoying myself.

He asked if I wanted to take off the temporary crown without Novocaine. Because I am stupid  optimistic, I said we could try. The girl touched my tooth with a chrome instrument first introduced to the world during the Spanish Inquisition. Literally: She touched my tooth and I said NO, this isn't going to work.

Dr. Calm offered to give me the evil drug via the same method he used that blew a hole in my gum. I looked at him like he had lost his mind. I don't know how imposing I can look when I'm flat on my back staring at a poster on the ceiling about how much I need fluoride in my life. But I tried.

He got out the cartoon needle and he stuck me way in the back of the jaw not once, but two times. I was numb from the middle of my ear and across my cheekbone, down to my jaw and across exactly half of my mouth. Then came the surprise: Underneath the crown was fine.

There's some inflammation around the root, but not enough for a root canal. So after putting the permanent crown on, the girl/woman/female/not male assistant began to floss around it and just guess what happened?

There was cement fixed between the surrounding teeth. So picture in your mind the dentist of yore, standing on your thighs with a wrench trying to pull out a tooth and you have some idea of how I felt, in pain already, with the dental floss being yanked upward while the tooth is being pressed upon to keep it from flying up to hit the ceiling and cracking. On both sides of the crown. I'm telling you that we went through this twice.

I'm thinking by now that it's a good thing I like this dentist and I still don't think any of this is his fault. But I'm also thinking he's probably hoping I don't tell anyone who he is.

Knowing that chewing is out of the question unless I want to awaken the next day with ground hamburger for gums, I drink chocolate milk through a straw. Only my tonsils are numb and I almost drowned. I waited awhile and tried again. Once again, drowning in chocolate milk only sounds like it might be fun. I gave up and went to bed.

At nine o'clock, I took three Advil because I can feel the evil drug wearing off. I must have fallen asleep because at eleven o'clock my eyes flew open and I thought I was pretty close to death. Holy mother of suffering and agony, I mean to tell you I said things I don't normally say. I thought things I don't normally think and I wrote (in my head) a scathing blog post about pain as I imagined life 100 years ago, 200 years ago, 5 million years ago and how people with a bad tooth must have wanted to jump into the nearest pond or off the closest cliff and who could really blame them?

Bad teeth = probably the biggest reason for social calamity up to WWII.

I thought of drugs that I wanted to magically appear. I prayed for any drug in the medicine chest, but nothing short of general anesthesia would have comforted me. I took one more Advil and a half of an Advil PM, got back into bed and tried to stay calm. I must have fallen asleep at some point because all of a sudden it was after midnight. I felt a bit better and wondered if my liver was going to make it through the night if I took more Advil. I wondered if I would be able to wake up taking a PM pill so late at night. In the end, I slept again.

And after all that? I feel pretty OK today.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let's grind this thing down to a stump and see what happens

This reminder card is on my keyboard right this very moment. I do NOT want to miss this appointment.

Two and a half weeks ago, I went to my friendly neighborhood dentist and allowed him to grind one of my molars down to a stump.

I'd like to say it was a perfectly good molar, to add drama to the opening of this post, but that would be a lie. It was a perfectly good tooth in terms of what little tooth was left. But I belong to the generation between the "let's pull them out and give you pretty dentures" approach and the "let's seal your teeth so you never get a cavity" approach to dentistry.

As such, and through no fault of their own, I'm sure (I have a sweet tooth. Obviously), previous dentists had reduced this molar to a ratio of roughly 90 percent mercury-infested filling to 10 percent God-given enamel. There was a little crack forming and every time I went to the dentist, we looked at it together as if it were a baby photo. Naked tooth lying on a bear rug. But this last time, there was something different.

Much like little babies do, the crack had grown by a fraction of a hair. Desiring to head off a future root canal, it was enough to make me book an appointment for a tooth-grinding session.

Dentists and (modern) dentistry do not make me squeamish, but something in the process does: Novocaine or any other -caine. I've told dentists I just don't like Novocaine and I've had their assistants chide me with a tsk and a "We don't use Novocaine, we use ____caine" as if I care what they use, I hate the stuff and why wasn't she sympathetically listening to me?

Also, have you ever had a male dental assistant? I have never had one. I've had male dentists and female dentists, but no male assistant or hygienist ever. I wonder if that's significant.

So I get to the appointment two and half weeks ago and I'm as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I joke halfheartedly about how I am so nervous it is making me rude. I'm only saying this because I know I am being very rude. She has sympathy for me, but I fail to explain that the actual grinding of previously perfect tooth enamel is not the issue. Having people two inches from my face is more annoying than most dental work.

It's the NOVOCAINE! It isn't the needle, either. I don't care about needles. I watch people stick my arm and dig around trying to catch rolling veins, so I'm not making this up. It isn't the needle.

Although a dentist's needle does seem incredibly long ... like the needles in a cartoon. Just a thought.

So my dentist comes into the room and the assistant must have given him the secret, silent high sign that says, "We have a ticking time bomb here!" and he is soothing and calm. He gets out what looks like a .22 and shoves Novocaine (whatever) into my gum alongside the tooth.

This is new.

No needle holes to be sore afterward! He explains that he's just pushing the drugs into the area around the tooth. He does this twice. Huzzah! I leave an hour later with a temporary crown, no needle holes to interfere with my afternoon and the best news is that the Novocaine has already worn off by about 80%.

But that night, I can't stay asleep. The next night, I can't stay asleep. The following night, I drug myself to get some sleep. Finally, I call the dentist. They ask me to come in. I say, "Could it be a canker sore?" and he said, "No, it's an ulcer from the FREAKING NOVOCAINE BEING FORCED INTO YOUR GUMS." No, he didn't say that, but he could have. See, the act of pushing the evil drug into my gums caused enough pressure that the evil drug found a weak spot in my gum. It then blew a hole through my gum, which caused the tissue to cry out in pain, become inflamed and probably by now has eaten a hole into my jaw if the way I still feel is anything to judge.

Dr. Calm went on to say that this is not a common problem (of course not, leave it to me) and that all we can do is pour soothing potion over it and wait seven days.

The soothing potion, I suspect, is really just the liquid they put in your mouth while they are torturing your previously perfect, God-given enamel. It isn't, in fact, soothing. I'm still drugging myself to sleep, too.

Did  I mention it has been two.and.a.half weeks? Of me in pain and drugging myself. Yesterday was the highest I've been during this whole Situation: Two Advil, Four Excedrin Migraine, half an Advil PM and two regular Advil.

I'm eager to go to the dentist today, but I have no idea what he will find when he pulls that temporary crown off. I shudder to think of it.

By way of mere coincidence, last night I dreamt that I was a surgeon. I was in an old hospital that looked like it had been a house. I was in surgery cutting someone open through skin and bone and feeling fine about it. My next surgery was a tooth extraction, though. I kept walking around the hospital visiting patients and stalling on my next patient. I told several people I was worried about the next surgery because I had never pulled a tooth before and I wasn't sure what angle to use.

My brain let me off easy. I woke up because I just couldn't go into surgery and pull that tooth. I wonder if that's significant.