Thursday, June 22, 2017

It's time we talked with our mouths

My fucking mouth.

Boy, let me tell you.

I've stopped eating popcorn entirely. Let me tell you why.

The first time I had a botched dental procedure was after I cracked a tooth on popcorn watching the Simpsons episode about Homer protesting for dental insurance for Lisa. That sounds too good to be true but, let me tell you motherfucker, it's true.

Popcorn wasn't the bad guy, of course. The tooth was already necrotic. Popcorn was just the catalyst for me doing something about it. That's neither a cow nor a buffalo. I got a root canal, drill bit broke off inside my root. It couldn't be fished out so they left it in and after a whole month of scheduling appointments with specialists and whatever, I finally got my mouth back.

Fast forward a few years and I'm sitting around eating popcorn again because sometimes a motherfucker likes to eat popcorn. It was Smart Pop which is surprisingly good for bagged popcorn. Tooth cracks. I ignore it for months because the memory of the botched dental procedure lingered.

I ate with half a molar for months. I was constantly flossing to dislodge whatever bullshit got stuck in it. It didn't hurt though so I never bothered with Big Dental.

It doesn't hurt until it does. And it always comes at the worst times. Right before Nina's and my honeymoon. So I delayed any action until after we got back from the pure paradise that is Isla Holbox in Mexico. Seriously, cheap vacation that is absolutely beautiful. It almost made me forget I had a mouth if it wasn't for all that great food I was shoving down my gullet.

We get back to America and I hear about a dentistry school in San Antonio that does extractions for cheap. Students gotta learn. We all know my issues with Big Dental so I'm eager to let some C student work on my mouth. What do you say to a C dentistry student when he graduates? "Doctor, I think you left your fucking drill in my tooth."

It couldn't be worse.

But it'll probably rhyme with the pain.

And rhyme it did.

It took about an hour to pry this tooth out and there were two dudes working on it. I literally tasted their sweat as they wrenched the damn thing from side to side, taking turns, and saying things like, "I don't think it's going to come out," and, "you might feel some pressure." Well, it finally came out.

My mouth was sore, they stuffed some gauze in my mouth and told me to stay on liquids for at least a day but no drinking through a straw. They warned me about dry sockets and I immediately became paranoid.

Three days passed, I felt on the up and up. I ate a burger with a fork and knife because my mouth was too sore to open wide enough to eat a burger the normal way. I went to work and felt my face in massive pain. I asked a co-worker, "hey, man. Is something wrong with my face?"

He laughed and I knew that yes, there indeed was something wrong. I looked like elephant man.

The pain was excruciating. You know the feeling when someone sticks a screwdriver into where your tooth used to be and digs in, twisting and turning the damn thing until it gets into your brain? No? You don't know the feeling?

Imagine that pain but with two screwdrivers handled by a naked maniac who has no control of his arms and frequently stabs you in the eye. That's more in line with the kind of pain it was. I've been hit by a car, folks. This was worse.

"Maybe I shouldn't have let students into my mouth."

All night I have an ice pack on my face. I alternate between that and a wet rag that I put in the microwave for 15 seconds. I don't get a lick of sleep. I debate grabbing a hammer and bludgeoning it against my jaw until it falls off but the better sense of me realized the hammer was in the garage and my security system was already turned on so if I got up, I'd have to walk to the security system and disarm it, unlock a fucking door, hit a goddamn light switch, and then look through the thousand places it could possibly be. It wasn't worth it.

The next morning, I call the place in tears.

"Oh, dear. Please get here as soon as you can!" the lady says to me.

"Ow, ooowee, owie, ouch, ow, okay," I said. I was already out the door.

"Oh, dear. You got here fast."

"Ow, oowee, owie, ouch, ow, okay."

I live in Austin. The dentistry school is in San Antonio. That's about an hour and fifteen minutes away. I GOT THERE IN FIVE.

It was an abscess. It infected my whole fucking side of my face. The real dentist comes in and says to his students, "Back off, bitches. This abscess is mine," and I'm rocking a boner so hard it might as well be a full set of teeth.

They put some shades on me and they tell the same joke every fucking time I'm there: "I know they're cool but you can't have them!"

"Haha," I say and then I point to my actual prescription glasses, "Fuck off, you ableist dickheads. I can't wear shades unless they're prescription."

We all shared a good chuckle while the actual dentist put a million syringes in my jaw then got a scalpel and dug in.

Look, I know the lidocaine or whatever fucking drug they use is supposed to make you feel nothing but I swear to you, I felt that scalpel go in and I felt him cut it open and I felt them draining the yellow stuff from my gums.

The pain was worse than their hour long tug of war with my tooth three days beforehand.

I was on a smoothie diet for over a week. I forgot how to chew. God had forsook me.

Here's the moral: Brush twice a day. Floss. Use mouthwash. Cherish your teeth. Buy my books to help me keep my teeth.

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