How Badly Do You Want to get to the Root of the Problem?

There are a few words or phrases that universally send a shiver down the spine of most people. Examples like Internal Revenue Service, or gerrymandering, or even the never-appreciated advice to calm down.

But I think this month I’ve got those entries trumped with two words I’ve had to utter with great frequency and usually in a sphincter-clenched whisper.

Root canal.

I’d place a bet with high odds that you just shuddered whilst reading them, right?

I’d never had one before, although I knew precisely two people who have—one who refuses to speak of it, and the other who won’t keep quiet. Therefore, my data pool is rather sketch, and I wasn’t sure what to expect when after four days of increasing tooth pain, people began to raise their brows in some knowing gesture and then pre-diagnosed my endodontic needs.

Now I say the phrase “tooth pain” but find the need to course correct that inaccurate description, as distress was initially coming from the area where most of my teeth exist. I think by now we’ve all been exposed to a clickbait headline or two that shrieks of the frightening story of teeth growing in someone’s brain or eye or lung (referred to as teratomas)—not that this was the case—rather, I could not precisely identify the “where.”

The where was sometimes an “I can’t chew on this side,” statement, or a “I think I’ve broken my jaw—does it look broken to you?” question, or even a “why the hell is my eye socket throbbing?” type of demand for answer.

Yeah, not at all helpful to friends and family, but apparently those descriptors fall neatly under the category of “I know what this is, and it’s going to be expensive” to your average dentist.

Visiting an endodontist was not unlike visiting my regular, favorite dentist who is overwhelmingly aware of pain in any manifestation and will work like a gladiator to slay the existence of it, except my endodontist possessed no aware of pain part. Maybe it’s just that the physician who was about to drill into the bone structure of my body had grown tired of telling people, “Aww, it’s not so bad,” because patients come back and egg his office or set his car on fire in the parking lot on their way home.

The whole root canal procedure would not have been half so bad if in the middle of it the endodontist had not said, “Yeah, we gotta stop and do the second half of this in a couple of weeks. I just don’t have enough Novocain.” (Or maybe he said patience, or competence, but I think I recall him mentioning there was a Harry Styles concert he had to get to.)

So, in the interim, I’ve been ginning up by reminding myself that I birthed TWO babies. And the old story women always tell other women who are pregnant for the first time is, “If it was that bad, we’d all be creating “only child” families, right?”

Bullpuckey.

A good number of us are going through the agony of childbirth because we know that at some point we’re going to finally have help with the housework.

A root canal makes no such beneficial promise.

It’s not like I even have at least nine months to eradicate the memory of what I just went through, as half of the problem is still buried beneath a crown sadistically reminding me of what I have to look forward to once the grains of sand run through on my timer. It’s like the ER doc discovering you broke two bones in your arm—both upper and lower—putting a cast on one and tying a yellow ribbon of remembrance on the other so as not to forget where to do the rest of the reparations once he returns from his golf trip to the Bahamas.

The advice of “Remember to take your Advil” does not hold much of a candle to the urge to find the nearest pair of pliers and complete the job oneself. But for the sake of wishing to show my teeth for any future photo shoots and selfies, I shall hold off on any autodidactic dental care for now.

Wish me luck with the fun follow-up, but if none appears on my doorstep, watch this space for part two.

~Shelley

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Don’t forget to check out what’s cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all gossiped about down in the pub. Or check out last month’s post and catch up

Purrrly Whites

The cat and I share very few similarities other than we both like to have food available to us 24/7, and we want everyone to leave us alone.

Today, we had another similitude.

We both had dentist appointments.

With different dentists, mind you.

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I remember when we first plucked this lionhearted kitten out of a mass of squirming furballs at the animal shelter. She was less than thrilled at being disturbed from her nap amid her breathing blanket, and upon making eye contact with me, swiftly assessed I was less than qualified wearing my new hat of ‘caretaker.’

I could see her point. I’d broken the cardinal rule we both share:

Unless I come to you, don’t come to me.

She breaks our cardinal rule far more often than I do. She brings me a dead leaf approximately the size of a mouse in exchange for one of those doodads in the treat jar on the counter. A dozen times a day. In her mind, gluttony is justification for her behavior.

Plus, rules are for schmucks.

Brushing a cat’s teeth is not a job for anyone hoping to retain either their hypothetical friendship with their cat, or the same amount of blood they possessed in their body before starting the procedure. It is an adventure one goes into with the understanding that it will be pleasant for no one and likely fairly fruitless.

Chances are it would make an entertaining YouTube video that may have better than average odds at going viral.

Three years ago, upon securing this peevish puss, my daughter also amassed a collection of references in order to aid her on her journey of surrogate motherhood. The cat was “hers”—a birthday gift long awaited and finally realized. The gift also came with a few caveats that were not so gifty.

– Feed her

– Amuse her

– And dispose of her deposits.

PS. You get to brush her teeth. Good luck. Love mom. And remember pretty is on the inside.

The scratches didn’t leave scars, thank God, but we did figure out that a glass of wine helped to make the whole job easier. We also figured out that the cat preferred bourbon, so I took over with the glass of wine. Brushing the feline’s canines was clearly a two man job. My daughter wrestled the cat into submission while I sipped my way into oblivion.

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It was a win win.

Eventually, our bicuspid brushing bash trickled down from our twice a week joint shout of “SHOWTIME!” to my daughter’s “Yeah, I’ll get around to it,” and settled firmly at the bottom of my vet’s “Now, I’m not suggesting braces—you can decide that later after you’ve had a chance to discuss it at home—but your cat would surely benefit from scraping the three pounds of tartar off her teeth.”

Well, at least she’ll only be two pounds overweight once they’ve finished the job. Bonus.

It’s often said that it’s an easy slip to let the cat out of the bag, but getting the cat INTO the bag is usually more of my problem. Some cats do not see the appeal of a bag no matter how many pieces of dried chicken strips and dead mouse toys you throw into it. But I am not one to wither and give up. Plus, I really didn’t need that second eye anyway.

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Getting my teeth cleaned is not such an anxiety-ridden affair any longer, but stopping the whole procedure to answer my cell phone can be tricky. Talking to anyone with a mouthful of foam, a suctioning tube hissing away from the side of your mouth and a tartar pick embedded in the side of your cheek can be extra tricky. Telling your dentist to back off and give you a second can be trickiest of all—especially since he’s still within reach of all the sharp, gleaming surgical instruments and is running behind by thirty minutes. One must be delicate.

It turns out that the vet was calling to let me know a few quick things:

Firstly, the cat voiced an immediate complaint about her new lodgings and was not the warm fuzzy wuzzy widdle kitten you said she was upon dropping her off. A note has been made in her chart. And if you’re aware of anyone with even the minimum amount of experience and training, would you please pass on the word that the office is now short and in need of a kennel technician and receptionist.

Secondly, one must pay extra for anesthesia when the staff must employ the tranquilizer gun.

Thirdly, no more sugar for the cat—no matter how much she gazes longingly at the supersized bag of Sour Patch Kids.

Finally, why don’t we give her a few more hours before you come by to pick her up? Just to be safe.

Why so long? Surely her meds have started to wear off by now, I say.

At the moment we’re just waiting for her to stop hissing and spitting at everybody.

What? I thought you said she’d received anesthesia.

Well, to be honest, we’re not entirely sure that it ever kicked in.

Did you have to remove any teeth?

‘Have to’ is a relative term. We voted and decided that in all likelihood, any tooth that we originally had our eye on is bound to come out sooner or later of its own accord.

So the cat is back home, more pissed off than ever, partly because we’re back to the old tiny teeth brushing routine, and partly because I ran out of her favorite brand of bourbon. But after nearly choking on the bill presented by the vet, I announced she was just going to have to get used to generic.

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Here kitty kitty …

“SHOWTIME!”

~Shelley

**Gotta Have a Gott**

Last week, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. Click here to see the cartoons in competition and to cast your vote.

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery (here) and what we all talked about down in the pub (here). And to see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone–click here.

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