The Beautiful People (in my mouth)

Dentist today.

TheBeautifulPeopleHaveNovocaine

Dr H has been bugging me to have three old crowns from the ’80s replaced, so I did two today (will do the third late next year). What an experience. I’ve had enough 90-minute appointments there to know what it takes to put in a crown or two. But this time, he had to take off the old ones. Holy hell, I think he used the dentist’s version of a jackhammer. It all seemed like a lot longer than 90 minutes.

Toward the end, he said, “I’m going to put the temporary crowns in, but I have to seal your gums around them because they go below the gumline.” I know that crown go below the gumline, but this sealing thing was new. He said, “I’ll give you a little more Novocaine along the edges of your gums, but you won’t feel that” (I was already full up on the stuff) “and then I’ll use electrical pulses to seal the gums.”

Interesting.

I said okay — what do I know? More to the point, what choice did I have? So he gave me more Novocaine, then said, “This little pad goes under your shoulder,” and slipped a small, thin pad under my shoulder. Hmm. The pad had a wire attached to it. Hmmmm. I frowned. My eyes narrowed. When Pickle got her warts removed, Dr Fitch had been telling me she’d had to lay Pickle down on a special pad so she didn’t get a shock from the electric burning-off of the warts. So there I was, about to get my gums seared, not sealed.

So he does this, and I smell a very slight waft now and then of damp, burning flesh. Gag. But this kind of appointment involves a lot of weird smells: medicinal, mostly, but also the occasional other mysterious, unidentifiable smell. This smell was of the latter category, but it didn’t take long to realize I’d been hoodwinked into having my gums burned off at the edges for some nefarious purpose.

Then he does the rest of it all: cementing, polishing, etc.

During the whole appointment, I feel like it’s taking forever — really, longer than usual. Maybe halfway through, I had asked him if everything was going okay, because he kept stopping every few minutes for maybe 30 seconds at a time. He said yes, it’s going wonderfully, and that he’s just stopping now and then to give me a break because this is a bit tougher than usual.

Ya think?

The appointment turned out to be about 80 minutes. During a 90-minute appointment, I often get bored and sleepy. This time, I was bored, sleepy, and wondering if it was ever going to end — ever. I think the mini jackhammer had a lot to do with that. There were pieces of old crown flying everywhere, even up my nose. I actually heard a couple pieces pinging off of metal objects in the room (the tray, etc.).

So I go back in three weeks to have the new, permanent crowns put in. That’s just a 40-minute appointment, which will seem like 20 minutes compared to this one.

Finally getting up from the chair, I said to Dr H, “That thing with the ‘sealing’ the gums — that’s new to me. That was weird.”

Dr H is a very mellow guy with a wonderfully soothing, melodic voice. Pretty much nothing fazes him. He says, “Oh, we do it all the time.”

“Yeah, well, in all these years, you never did that to me. And, I dunno what all this is about sealing them — you cooked them.”

He gets this reluctant grin on his face, which translates exactly to: We don’t say we’re going to burn your gums with electrodes, because then you would leap from the chair and run screaming.

To that, I reply, “Uh-huh. Yup. You burned them. You seared them. That was gross.

His grin is huge now. “Okay, well…”

I grin back at him as best I can because the left side of my face has detached itself from my skull and may be on the back of my head for all I know, thanks to Novocaine. I really have no idea what my face is doing, but I know he’s used to that. The hygienist is giggling as she’s cleaning up all the stuff that was flying around the room out of my mouth. Dr H and I start to walk out of the room to the front desk. He had asked me at the beginning if the music was okay — there was some ’60s station on, which I could very much have done without, but I wanted to hear him sing along to it under his breath as he worked (as usual), and I wasn’t disappointed.

So I said, “You know… If the music had been different, this could have been a Marilyn Manson video.”


We’re walking down the hall. He’s musing. “Marilyn Manson… Marilyn — oh! For a minute there, I thought you meant Charles Manson!” We crack up, but I’m thinking: Yeah, that too, maybe. He grins again. “I thought you were insulting me.”

At the front desk, he tells Kathy when the next appointment should be, pats me on the shoulder as always — with a slight affectionate squeeze — and wishes me a great Thanksgiving. He walks back down the hall, shaking his head and laughing to himself: “Marilyn Manson… Marilyn Manson…”

On the way home, I’m thinking how it’s been at least 20 years he’s been my dentist, and as for a happy Thanksgiving, I am so very thankful for him. As a child, I was going to dentists in the ’60s and early ’70s who were the Conan the Barbarian of dentistry (blood on the walls: literally, not figuratively). Dr H has put up with me since the beginning, when I was a whimpering, cowering, crying, scowling, hissing wreck each time I went there. How he got through our first several years without kicking me to the curb is a mystery to me.

He truly is one of the Beautiful People — in the best sense

Waxy alien irradiated dog penis

This scared the pants off me this afternoon:

Moonflower1

I bent forward to look closer at it and actually said out loud, on my porch, “Oh my god. What the fuck is that?”

Morning glories are supposed to look like this (note the smallish, normal-looking pod):

MorningGlories1

When I saw the gigantic wrong-looking morning glory penis pod, I really did wonder what was wrong with my plants, and what could have got into them to suddenly make them start sprouting such disturbing-looking buds. It creeped me out. A lot.

I started inspecting the rest of that bunch, and then saw this:

Moonflower2

What a relief. I realized that the waxy alien irradiated dog penis thing was actually a moonflower bud. I had put some moonflower seeds in with the morning glories this year but they hadn’t bloomed until now. So far, these are the only ones I’ve seen, and since it’s late September, there probably won’t be any more this year.

I may not get to see either of them in full flower because that might be around 3 AM. But maybe one will still be in bloom tomorrow morning. If so, I’ll take a photo and add it to this post.

This led to a convoluted conversation with Nitram that started out with my telling him how the moonflower bud scared me and grossed me out and ended with talking about cold medicines from the ’70s and ’80s. In between was the corpse flower; skunk cabbage; how smells can send you back to a memory in an instant; the smell of orange-scented nitrous oxide at the dentist’s when I was a kid (mixed with the smell of the black rubber mask, yum); the taste, smell, and consistency of that glutinous orange-flavored Triaminic cold medicine in the ’70s; the uselessness of Sucrets (made your tongue and punching bag numb but did nothing for your sore tonsils); and the experience of having your mom fight with you to spray Chloraseptic down your throat.

Holy crap. I just looked up all three of those meds and they’re still making them. I’m going to have nightmares about those now instead of the alien flower pod penis.

UPDATE 9.27.14:

Friday afternoon, the moonflower that was trying to bloom gave it up and fell to the ground without fully opening.  Last night, the penile one bloomed:

Moonflower3wm

It’s still in bloom today, but will probably close up and die once the sun hits it directly:

Moonflower4wm

Utterly fascinating, I know.

You must be… (take your best guess)

Old school answering machine by aeminphilly on Flickr

I’ve been meaning to write (rant) about this for a while, but a friend’s WTF post over on FB about companies’ and people’s answering messages has re-inspired me.

These are the most common messages — from people who know me — that get left on my home answering machine:

“Hi, I guess you must be in the shower…” (It’s the middle of the day, I’m already showered, thanks.)

“Hi, I guess you must be asleep…” (It’s midmorning, I’ve been up for several hours.)

“Hello, I guess you must be eating dinner or something…” (Dinner? At 4 PM?)

“Hi, I guess you must be… out.” (Well, now, there’s a no-brainer.)

After getting one of these messages, what I sometimes fantasize about having as my outgoing message (other than Carl Kasell‘s voice) is something like, “Hi, I’m either out, in the shower, sleeping, eating dinner at 10 AM, picking my nose, or listening to you right now and not picking up. You just take your best guess from those possibilities and get back to me.”

Why do people feel the need to leave a guess as to your whereabouts and/or whatabouts? Why can’t they just leave a message? Preferably one with actual info in it rather than a guess or just some babble.

Why does this bother me so much? Because I don’t do it myself, and because I also have to listen to people do this in conversations, except they usually say “maybe” or “probably” more than “must be,” and they don’t usually feel the need to guess. I can say something as simple as, “She went to the store,” and get back something like, “Oh, she probably had to get there before it closed.” Well, yes. People do have to get to the store before it closes, if they want to buy anything and not just sit out there in the parking lot. Picking their noses. Or showering.

One and only one person is exempt from my freaking out over this because that person has Alzheimer’s — the fact that they did this all the time before they had Alzheimer’s is irrelevant now, they get a free pass.

None of the rest of you get a free pass.