Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama fixes my teeth, part 2

People are interesting. Everybody has a story. Sometimes I wish I could just ask. Sometimes, I do, or they just volunteer.

The dentist yesterday was younger than me. She was from New Orleans, in KC for a year now. She goes to the movies alone and eats alone, taking fake paperwork with her so she doesn't look like a loser. Her eyes are large and liquid and sad. Everybody was excited about the King Cake she had ordered from NO. She laughed and trash-talked and eventually even looked at my teeth. I wanted to say, "Why are you still here? Go home to your family." But you know, you can't say that. 

I end up being the subject a lot of times, because I let students try stuff on me. Hair, teeth, birth, whatever. I guess I figure they need to learn, and the instructor is right there.... 

The Vietnamese dental clerk was named Dip, or something along those lines. She was about 4'9, and 20 years old, maybe. Dip talked a lot, and I caught about 75% of it, I think. I repeated something to her that sounded like gibberish to me, and she wrote on her chart. Hmm. She took my x-rays, and I may have been her favorite patient ever, since I was pretty relaxed. She led me into the exam room, where two other patients were reclining, and the dental staff was gathered in a jovial circle, talking Mardi-Gras amongst themselves. 

"Put these on," Dip instructed me, handing me a pair of clear glasses. "It in case one of tools, like, poke in eye, or someting like that." she informed me. "It never happen, but you know, in case."

I don't think that's what the goggles are for. 

I lay back and tried to read my book, but everybody was too interesting. Also interesting, the signs everywhere that anesthetic mixed with cocaine can kill you, and if you are a cocaine user, ask for no anesthetic. The two large-ish women in the other chairs appeared to be finished, and just taking a little break in the chairs. The staff was discussing the King Cake, and the hunky new intern who looked like a soap star (he was not present), and Slumdog Millionaire, and what makes a movie independent, anyway. 

Eventually, they ran out of things to talk about, and the two women left. One intern cleaned the chairs in a dreamy sort of daze, and the one I had identified as being the dentist drifted over my way. I put on my safety goggles, just in case. 

She and the intern poked around and talked dentistry over me... he was not very good at it. Dip came by and corrected some mistakes he was making on his paper. The dentist told me Dip does her nails and it takes 2 hours. 

Then everybody took a little break to discuss the weather in KC, including the office manager who has been here for 10 years but is from Texas, in fact, has family in Arlington and Fort Worth and really misses Texas weather even though there are no seasons as such, and the dentist, who is from New Orleans but lived in Omaha and you don't even know cold until you have lived in Omaha, Nebraska because the wind just slices right through you and you can't even take a breath and the intern who could not believe we are having such a mild winter in KC compared to last winter when it snowed every week and he was like, come on already. 

And then they went over to #19 which is removed, and #20, in which the filling needs to be replaced, and so on. I also probably need a root canal. My next appointment is is 2 months. 


  1. OMG..... You are so brave.......

    Dip should have done your nails while you were in the chair..... You really missed the chance to get teeth and nails done at the same time.... Sounds like you had a blast!

  2. You should've freaked out on Dip.

    "WHAT!... in case a tool poke eye!? IN CASE A TOOL POKE EYE!"

    That would've been good.

  3. you ARE brave! how are you in the pain department? did they injure you?

  4. nah, it was just an exam. the pain will be next time. but i can usually fake myself out by thinking- this pain will only last x minutes and then it will be over...

  5. You are so funny. Have you thought about a newspaper column?-G


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