Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Name's Tugmolar, Isambard Tugmolar. Licenced To Print Money

I had an 8:30 am dental appointment this morning

I arrived at Doc Tugmolar's House of Pain at around 8:15 am, and was seated at around 9. The doctor strolled around his office, drinking heavily and bumping into things and finally arrived in theater to begin work at 9:30. There followed an application of topical anaesthetic (which could have been administered at 9 by my calculations) and a mere twenty minutes after that, a series of jabs to the gum above my upper incisors.

The attempt to turn the tide of thousands of years of genetic selection was about to begin. Yes, I. Tugmolar DDS1 was about to attempt to "repair" British Teeth™.

He began by filing off all the enamel on the front of my incisors, all four of them. In this endeavour he demonstrated a weird sort of tooly link between us as he strove to use every single bit in his 250-bit set. Burrs, drills, files and something I swear should only be deployed on a horse were all applied to my gnashers in the interests of prophylactic dentistry and a fine time was had by him.

I didn't enjoy it so much.

Bad enough that the office filled with the choking stench of burning teeth, an acrid gaseous nastiness I'm sure at least two of my three readers are familiar with. Bad enough that his ditzty assistant was using the Syphon of Patient Undrowning in the Fallout of the Water Assisted Drill and Their Own Saliva as a baton to illustrate some endless tale of how her best friend's philandering boyfriend had left notes on her car2 and how the best friend had pissed her off3 forcing her5 to show her6 the letters and then crow about how everyone was laughing at her7 instead of using it to assist me in breathing.

Things came to a head when Doc Tugmolar wedged two fingers under my broad, sensuous upper lip and jammed it into my nostrils. With both nose and mouth out of the respiration business it wasn't long before I began showing signs of distress. I thrashed around in the chair, gurgling, clawing frantically at Tugmolar's face and going blue and finally Miz Ditz realized the problem and thrust the Syphon deep into my mouth, where it promptly stuck to the little dangly things at the back of my throat and I threw up.

It was all very tiresome.

It took only three and a half hours to complete the restoration of my teeth, whereupon I could engage the Doctor in the discussion about what to do viz-a-viz that damned twice root canalled tooth that needs capping8.

Basically, the tooth became troublesome last April or so as detailed here, and required emergency root canal surgery. After this, the tooth seemed okay, but proved painful when the temporarily capped tooth was subjected to side-to-side force. Doc Tugmolar and the Endodontist both replied to this with "well, don't do that then", advice about as useful as a sodium spitoon since the act of chewing would always end up with the tooth being laterally stressed at some point. I put up with this situation and the desire on the part of the Endodontist for me to do month-by-month evaluations for six months then asked for a second root canal please. The Endodontis obliged me around a month before Christmas, but it didn't help.

Then the temporary crown let go the week before Christmas.

The pain almost immediately subsided since the stubby broken tooth was not in contact with anything unless I ate, so I decided to live with it and made an appointment to get a new permanent crown measured, which would happen around early March due to Tugmolar's busy golf and vacation schedule. Just when I thought I might catch a break, Mrs Stevie had two crowns let go of her head and the insurance company that provides what we laughingly refer to as our dental "plan" informed us that I would have to pay 500 bux if I wanted my tooth crowned, since the process of capping teeth was partially disallowed on "age related" grounds.

That's right.

The insurance company won't pay in full for a process one would need mostly when you are older because they feel it is age-inappropriate surgery. Presumably they are saving their money to pay for fixing the teeth young men and women have kicked out in Karate lessons, playing rugby or mosh pit diving.

They went one better with Mrs Stevie and refused to acknowledge she had filed a pre-approval for the procedures until the temporary filling she had instead of crowns, put in by Doc Tugmolar "while the paperwork cleared", fell out. Today, after my prodding the dentists administrative department to see what the hold up was, we got approval, provided we could come up with 800 bux (Mrs Stevie is a tad younger than me12 and seems to have gotten a 100 bux per tooth break in the ageist insurance procedure here).

Coming up with this cash on spec these days is problematical. In my youth I would simply not drink so heavily for a couple of days, but now money is in short supply. I made a descision (Mrs Stevie wasn't there to immediately rescind it on principle, which would only necessitate the rescinding of the rescinding once she got the details since she would be the ultimate beneficiary of my actions). I told Doc Tugmolar that I didn't think it was a great idea to crown my tooth because it was my feeling that I would only be able to stand the pain of it moving around in my head for about six months before I was hammering on his door demanding a session with Mr Screwclaw.

We agreed he would file off the sharp edges (he'd had lots of tooth-filing practice that day and was feeling confident in his dental tool superiority over the world as one would in such circimstances), fill the little hollow that keeps filling up with cornflakes when I eat them with ordinary tooth filling gunk and we'd call it a day. The money saved would then be available for rebuilding Mrs Stevies formidable mastication equipage.

Now I just have to figure out how to pay the car insurance bill.

  1. Doctor of Domestic Science
  2. Miz Ditz's car. Curse the lack of reflexive pronouns in English!
  3. Miz Ditz was the one with nose out of joint. Again, curse the English language and it's confusing lack of reflexive pronouns4
  4. See footnote 1
  5. Miz Ditz. See note 2 for criticism of lexical confusion when writing in English
  6. The best friend. English. Curse. Reflexive pronouns etc
  7. the friend, I think, though to be honest I had lost track myself by now
  8. A lie. It needs to be regenerated since the consensus is that it has a lateral crack somewhere along the root. If only scientists hadn't spent the last twenty years figuring out that Pluto isn't a planet and arguing endlessly about whether Global Warming is real or not9 they might have been able to put some of those idling grey matter cells to the task of making teeth grow back. Useful science like this only gets done if there is a Nobel Prize at the end of the rainbow though, and the insurance companies probably have a vested interest in having teeth go south painfully on a regular schedule
  9. Duh. Next time you are travelling from Jasper to Banff stop off at the Athabasca Glacier and take a gander at how the ice sheet has behaved of late. Look at the colour of the ice. Think of what it must have looked like before we started burning coal and oil like it was going out of fashion10 and look at the colour of the exposed morraine11. Now think about your high school physics classes on heat transfer
  10. Which, if you think about it, it is
  11. That's what we geological types call the ground under a glacier
  12. Though quite frankly I've lost count of the times I've been mistaken for a younger, cuter, visiting friend by passers-by

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