I Went to a Hipster Dentist

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And I’ve never felt more like George Washington



This little bit of goofiness was written in response to a satire writing contest and I must have been in some sort of weird state of mind. I had a lot of fun writing it. My story didn’t go anywhere in the contest, but it found a home on Medium and I wanted to share it here.


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Photo by Nathalia Belfort on Unsplash

After working four years and six months at my Angel Investor-backed, cash-infused, market-disrupting employer, I finally qualified for benefits. Whew! I know, I know. As far as unpaid internships go, that was on the short side.

After unironically eating too many Flintstone gummy vitamins from the company breakroom, my back tooth started to ache, so I found a company plan-approved dentist in the rapidly gentrifying part of town.

Okay, it was the only approved dentist, but no matter. I have insurance!

Well, color me delighted when I arrived at Dr. Ethan’s one-room office in the backroom of a nail salon and was greeted by the sight of so many archaic dental implements scattered about. What a collection!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think he’d actually use the hand drill on me. But he did. Without novocaine.

 

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An illustration of dental keys for tooth extraction from Savigny’s catalog of surgery implements, circa 1798, and found here

I guess the screaming upset the mani-pedi customers, so Dr Ethan handed me a half-empty fifth of gin and an old Iomega at Comdex giveaway stress ball to squeeze. It was all very Old West and I feel honored to be a part of the vintage dental ways.

I can’t believe people actually lived through this! I bet my brother — the one with good job — has never experienced anything so cool.

After the rotten roots were properly canal’ed, Dr Ethan offered me a wide range of replacement teeth in many colors, none of them white and porcelain.

Oh, I could have chosen a gold tooth (not covered by insurance), an amalgam of something toxic and something radioactive (also not covered by insurance), or a nice assortment of wooden teeth.

I don’t know if it was the gin or the blood loss, but I was pleased to have the chance to choose between a knotty pine, a beautiful mahogany, or a nice hard teak.

Well, I chose mahogany that day and haven’t looked back. Sure, the varnish is seeping into my salivary glands and small splinters of tooth fly off when I eat oatmeal, but I am now the coolest, most throwback guy in the office. I can hardly wait for the next tooth to rot out of my head! And for this infection to go away.

The only downside: My urge to chop down cherry trees has never been stronger.

This item first appeared on Medium, find more of my work @karenfayeth over there

Ow

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The funny thing is, when your tooth hurts, nothing else really matters.

The sun could be shining, birds chirping and a thousand dollars in cash just lying there on the sidewalk begging you to take it, but none of that matters.

When your tooth hurts, there is just bleak darkness and anger and frowns. Lots and lots of frowns.

A little over a week ago I was having The Worst Friday Ever and during that day I managed to break a tooth. It didn’t hurt but it needed to be fixed.

Monday was fixin’ day. I spent two and a half hours in a dentist’s chair with two people in my mouth doing barbaric and vile things to the tooth way at the very back of my jaw.

You know that moment when the dentist is drilling your tooth and you smell smoke? Tooth smoke? Yeah. There was an awful lot of tooth smoke in that room on Monday.

Also, you see, here’s something you should know about me. I’m a sensitive little flower. I can’t take a full dose of over the counter cold medicine because it will knock me out. I take one quarter of a 25mg blood pressure pill. 25mg is the smallest size they make and I have to half it and then half it again. I can’t drink a cup of regular coffee or it will give me a migraine. The small amount of caffeine in a cup of decaf will actually wind me up.

When the dentist gives a normal person Novocain, they add a drop of epinephrine, a hard core stimulant. The epi helps the medicine act fast, be more effective and last longer. I cannot tolerate the epinephrine. At all. So I have to have more shots that don’t work that effectively. Then halfway through the procedure, I have to have more shots. And then there is a point where I am asked to simply gut it out.

I don’t gut things out all that well, especially pain. See delicate little flower syndrome.

But I have been seeing this same dentist for nigh on sixteen years and he knows I’m a fruit cake and I know he’s a good doctor and he’s about the only person I would allow to do such mean things to my nice little teeth.

So I survived the two and a half hour ordeal and was near catatonic for the rest of the day. Yesterday I went to the office and worked a thirteen hour day while blood oozed from the wound and made me nauseous.

And it hurt. When your tooth hurts, nothing else really matters.

Today I’m improving but it’s not great.

I haz a cranky.






Image from Oral Pathology.




Waiting — (The Oversharing Edition)

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So, yeah, this is going to be a less than politically correct post.

Turn away if that sort of thing bothers you.

You see, I’m sitting here…waiting.

I have a little infection, minor really (absolutely nothing to worry about), and my doctor prescribed me a “short course” of antibiotics.

Quick and easy.

Except.

The pharmacist, when handing me the script said “So…this can cause diarrhea. Take it with food. You can take a probiotic if you wish, that might help. It doesn’t happen to everyone.”

So I said “ok.” Shrugged. Walked away.

Then I read the fact sheet that comes with the script.

It must have used the D word 82 times in three pages.

And the bottle. When I took my second pill this morning, I saw on the bottle it has, in large letters “may cause” and the D word.

So. Um. Even if I’m not the sort of person this might happen to, I think all the warnings have certainly auto-suggested my brain (and body) that this is inevitable.

No way to avoid it.

No hope.

Right now, outside my window, dark, angry storm clouds are rolling in.

And in my tummy, after three doses, so far calm seas.

But can I escape this fate? Can I just have a nice “short course” of antibiotics, have no issues and call it a day?

Is that even possible?

If you see me go running by, you’ll know the answer.

Until then. I just have to wait and see.






Image from Demotivational Blog



When a Good Idea Pops You Across The Chops

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“Where do you get your ideas?”

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Sometimes with a shake of the head after reading one of my more out there blog posts. Sometimes with genuine curiousity.

I even talked about it a bit here.

Really, I think coming up with ideas is about being an observer of life. About noticing the little things here and there and then talking/writing/painting/arting about them.

For me, I’ve always thought the world is a fairly absurd place, and I find something to laugh about or think about (or both) every day. Ideas are everywhere. Around every corner. In the sky. On the ground. At the bottom of your cup of coffee. Yet so many still can’t see them or maybe don’t pay attention.

Then sometimes, a good idea pops me so hard across the chops that I don’t know how anyone could be oblivious.

Today, I had to have a minor procedure done at my HMO. The center where I had this done performs a LOT of different minor procedures so there were a lot of us, and my doctor was running late. This meant I had some time on my hands as I sat there in the ready area in my backless gown with a blue shower cap thing on my head.

I was separated from the other patients by only a thin curtain on either side.

I listened as the 88 year old lady in the slot next to me ran down the list of medications she is allergic to (quinine..what an odd thing to be allergic to), explained that her knees hurt all the time and could they prop them up. She was also quite determined to make sure every person attending to her knew it was her left eye that was the problem. She was very concerned over them getting the wrong eye. Very concerned.

There is totally a story there. I mean, I was already starting to craft it in my head as I waited. I wished I had my trusty MacBook so I could start making notes.

Then there was the 67 year old woman on the other side of me. She was there for a colonoscopy. She was clearly nervous, you could hear by her voice. She was very docile and compliant to everything the nurse asked of her, but she struggled a bit to get into her gown (I heard her muttering to herself).

When they came to get her for her procedure, I heard the nurse say, “Ma’am, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have to take off your underwear.”

pause

Bwahahahaha!

C’mon! You can’t make this up!

But by far the best idea I heard all day was when the doctor came into the space next door (the lady with the eye issues) and said, “Hello Mrs. Sanchez. I’m Dr. Scary. I’ll be working on you today. This is my nurse, her name is Mercy. Are you ready to begin?”

A doctor called Scary and a nurse called Mercy? Tell me that isn’t a fabulous short story just begging to happen.

I was catching ideas with a butterfly net today!
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And for the record, for my procedure, I got to keep my underwear on.

Just sayin’.






Image from the Best Quotes and Poetry blog.


Family Traditions

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With the insanity of a more-than-full-time job, and the crush of the holidays, I’m a little sad that I wasn’t able to make a batch of my Blue Ribbon biscochitos this year. (Long time reader Ephraim has agreed to eat extra of his wife’s batch of biscochitos in order to bring balance back to the universe)

I also didn’t get a chance to make sugar cookies.

I didn’t manage to get to that chocolate covered peanut butter ball recipe I wanted to try.

And toffee. This year I was going to make toffee.

I didn’t get any of that done.

Thankfully, one family tradition did manage to squeeze through my kitchen as we near the holiday.

When I was growing up, my mom used to make these fabulous cream cheese mints. I always considered them to be so elegant and classy. Posh, as the Brits would say.

I remember my mom wrapped up a beautiful box of mints and gave them to my kindergarten teacher (who I idolized). She sent my mom a gushing thank you note. For some reason that stuck with me.

Through the magic of the internet, I was able to find myself a set of candy molds that approximated my mom’s collection, and Thursday night I put all else aside and whipped up a batch.

Tasty treats. Family lore.

Happy Christmas Eve to us all!!




This tin was supposed to make its way to work to share. It didn’t make it to work. More for me!



So pretty!!




Photos Copyright 2011, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons on the right column of this page. Photos taken with an iPhone4s and the Hipstamatic app.