That’s right: I’ve got medication. I can’t remember the last time I had medication. It’s been well over twenty years, I’m sure, ’cause that’s about the time cemented memories begin in my mind and I have no clear recollection of ever taking medication. I rarely take aspirin, for fuck’s sake; now I’m popping Amoxicillin and (supposedly) Vicodin. Who am I?
I had to go to Urgent Care yesterday because of a toothache so intense that I was practically crying in the office at work. I took a few ibuprofen in the morning, which caused alarm bells to go off for Meredith. Seeing me take pills is like watching a priest chug vodka. So when I called her at noon yesterday and said “If you’re not busy, could you bring me something stronger than aspirin,” she knew something was amiss. She came by and saw that I was shaking with pain and insisted we go see a doctor. I was in complete agreement, and even if I weren’t, too weak to argue. So for the first time in twenty years I found myself willfully going to see a physician. (The last time I’d been in a hospital was in February ’09 and an ambulance took me there. I didn’t have a choice.)
I don’t like hospitals. Well, that’s not entirely true. I actually do like hospitals. I find them somewhat romantic; in a literary sense, not in a bow-chicka-wow-wow sense. I like the cafeterias and the chapels scattered throughout. I don’t like being a patient in a hospital. People have a nasty habit of stabbing you with needles when you’re in a hospital, often without asking. Last time I was in a hospital I had IV’s in both arms. That seems a bit excessive, don’t you think? And just between you and me, I’ve never had a catheter, but the mere concept of it scares the piss out of me.
My experience at the Urgent Care was actually quite pleasant. Everyone was very kind and patient, and my visit with the doctor consisted of my saying “I’m hurt. Give me drugs.” and him replying “Okay.” Life should be so simple.
Meredith was of course extremely nervous about the whole ordeal and was fairly certain I was going to die. I emerged from the screening room to find her white-knuckling a Food Network magazine and shoo-ing away the dozen or so kittens she’d just shat waiting for the guillotine to drop. I assured her that I was fine and there was nothing to fear; Hell, I’d been given drugs. Life is sweet!
I was never afraid at any point in the entire chain of events, beginning with blinding pain and ending in medicated bliss. Having a doctor look at me and listen to my complaints and assessments doesn’t scare me. Having a doctor gas me and cut me open does, however.
And that’s where I’m going with this: this Wednesday I am going to see a dentist and together we will begin the journey down the long and expensive road to oral recovery. I’ll go ahead and say it: I have fucked-up teeth; have for a long time. And since I’m getting married, it’s about time to fix ’em. Which means a lot of money, a lot of time, a lot of pain, and a LOT of surgery. Gas, needles, anaesthetic, knives, drills, cotton, and gallons of blood.
I am terrified.
I have an extremely high threshold for pain, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Do I want to be fixed, a better-looking, less susceptible to degenerative disease person? Yes. Do I want a (barely) licensed professional slicing my neck and/or chin to reach in and rearrange my jaw? Well, yes, but I don’t want to know about it. I don’t just want anaesthetic. I want to get knocked the fuck out and wake up as a Disney character.
So if the next time we speak on the phone or in person and I’m mumbling or unable to speak at all, I assure you it’s not you. And if you call and I don’t answer, I’m probably dead.