I got a letter from my insurance company last week saying it won't pay for the previous "extraction", because the dental school hasn't sent them any documentation. Hmmmm. I think one of three things happened: 1) the dental office didn't send documentation because the tooth is still in my mouth, 2) the insurance company has cut back on file clerks, since they'd just assured me last week that they'd reviewed my dental records and there'd been no malpractice, or 3) someone's out to make me crazy.
* * * *
The resident came in and was puttering around. My dental student -- who was going to be observing -- got things ready. The two chatted a bit. The dental student had already shot me full of numbness, and was beginning to put the nitrous oxide to my nose when I stopped her. "He's not going to touch me until he has the decency to introduce himself," I said firmly. Startled, he did.
This is one of the advantages of middle age: if someone younger than you is doing something that's just plain wrong, you have few qualms about saying so. A decade ago I wouldn't have spoken up.
* * * *
It wasn't too bad -- except when the dentist was twisting a piece of the tooth and I could feel the pressure. Then I had to consciously relax my muscles again and again, and let the process be what it was: scary. It was during a moment like that that my jaw had snapped.
After it was over and I was stitched up, my student dentist asked gently, "How are you now?"
"Not as scared as I was!" I replied.
"Me either," she admitted, "I was praying the whole time!"
"Me too," I said.
"This is a bad memory that will stay with you a long time," she said ruefully.
"Naw," I said, surprising even myself, "The only thing we need to remember about hard things is that we got through them. Learn what you can, and be glad it's over. We'll both be okay."
* * * *
All that said, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. And sore.