What can I say about that post-termination Thursday?
My oldest son and I got ready to head off for our dental appointment, with me getting one of my back teeth pulled and my son getting his three cavities filled. I let my son go in first because he had to rush off to his college class again when the work was done on him. I was amazed that they finished with him in less than 30 minutes.
Then it was my turn. I knew what was in store for me, although I was happy to discover that the dentist would numb my cheek and gum slightly with a dab of Anbesol or something like it before getting the big needle stuck in to REALLY do the job of feeling absolutely no pain.
“So this is the numbing before the numbing?” I asked the dentist after he’d swabbed with the gel.
“Well, I like to …” he started answering with more of a clinical explanation before hesitating a bit. “Yeah, the numbing before the numbing. That’s probably the best way to put it, now that you mention it.”
The needle soon went in with the old, familiar “Now, this is gonna pinch a bit, bear with me” words of warning. I sat in the chair and relaxed while the stuff that was just shot into my cheek and gum did its thing, listening a bit to the conversation the doctor was having with another patient not far behind me, and looking out at a clear, sunny day.
Then, the doc came back in to see me and do the deed. I’m not sure which is worse … finding out that you’ve lost your job and your family’s comfort and security are on the line, or seeing a dentist grab a curved pair of pliers and swinging back around in his chair to stick that instrument into your mouth.
Okay, maybe with all that numbness in my mouth it wasn’t all that bad. The worst part was hearing and very slightly feeling a cracking as the tooth was being gently wiggled and pulled out at the same time. The tooth was in such bad shape with the root cracked to where he had to fish around some more for a smaller piece that was still in there after the majority of it had already been pulled out.
Yeah, I think losing the job was a bit more painful.
With gauze stuck in my mouth and me biting down to stop the blood and a plastic bag with more gauze to take home, the doctor wrote out a prescription for a strong painkiller (not to be taken at a time when I’d be driving) and some penicillin to take away any infection. He told me that the other tooth that still needed root canal work done could probably wait up to a year or so, unless I started noticing any pain. I didn’t even recall any unbearable pain with this worst one which seemed to surprise the doctor, unless I’m just one tough ol’ bugger.
I wrote out a check for our portion of what was owed on the bill … another painful moment, but at least our insurance would be picking up the biggest chunk before going away. With one side of my teeth clenching the gauze – I must have sounded like Clint Eastwood in one of his old spaghetti westerns , clenching his cigarillo in his mouth while saying his lines – I wished the receptionist good luck on her husband’s job search and walked out to drive to the neighborhood pharmacy.
At home, I put fresh gauze in my mouth every half hour until the bleeding pretty much stopped, popped in a painkiller while my mouth was still getting past the numbness, straightened up the kitchen and got the dishwasher going before laying down on the love seat.
I started trying to do some Bible study, on the Book of Job to kind of compare notes, but my mind was starting to drift because of the drug. After making it through the first seven chapters of Job’s story, my mind was going so I decided to catch episodes of “Bachelor Father” and “Father Knows Best” on TV and kind of toyed with the thought of drifting off to sleep once the medicine had kicked in. It was a nice, relaxing feeling – a welcome change from the stress of the previous several days.
Once the numbness was completely gone, the mouth pain really started to kick in. Even with hydrocodone in my system, it was a somewhat miserable experience. That’s the way it was for the remainder of the day … lying around being miserable (except for an all-too-short period of time when I could snuggle next to my wife on our family room futon and watch an old episode of “The Waltons”) and trying to take it away by popping more hydrocodone every four hours.
That night, after everyone had gone to bed, I think the medicine was playing tricks with my mind. I was having a hard time falling asleep, but my eyes stung if I kept them open. I laid on the futon downstairs with the TV on to take my mind off things, closed my eyes, and flirted with sleep again. But for the longest time, it was one of those weird experiences where you’re just on the edge of falling asleep and your mind goes through wild gyrations but you know you’re kind of dreaming between a state of being awake and asleep. The same thoughts kept going through my head.
Do the blog. Give the blog your best shot. Do the blog. It can help make things better. Do the blog. I was starting to wonder if I was going bonkers. Visions of a better life kept dancing in my head.
Finally, sometime after 3:30 a.m., I finally turned off the TV and went off to sleep. Blissful sleep.