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Nurse Judy’s Nook: “The Tooth”

I may have mentioned that I had an abscessed tooth last Thanksgiving. Nurse Judy, my diva alter ego is jumping up and down begging me not to bring up THE TOOTH again. “An abscessed tooth is not a pleasant subject,” she says. “People like to hear about me and my glamorous life,” she says. “They are not interested in you and your mouth disease.”

I can’t help it,” I say. “It is constantly on my mind.”

“It’s not on your mind,” she contradicts. “It’s in your mouth and you should keep your mouth shut around it and about it.”

“I can’t,” I say, “but I’ll try to just write a brief outline of the timeframe involving the TOOTH. Here goes:”

• Thanksgiving weekend-worst pain I ever experienced in the TOOTH. Dentist not in. Called at home. Ordered antibiotics and ibuprofen. Did not sleep 2 nights until finally antibiotics worked.

• Following week- saw dentist-had x-rays-told it was an old infected root canal – to see an endodontist if it flared up again.

• Christmas weekend- flared up again-dentist not in- took another round of an- tibiotics.

• January-routine cleaning from my dentist-more x-rays- referred to endodontist. First appointment available in February. Fussed to no avail- to call if it flared up in the meantime.

• February-saw endodontist-more x-rays-nothing he could do-referred me to oral surgeon for extraction.

•1st available appointment with oral surgeon was in May. Really fussing now -informed to just keep calling in case of cancellation. Calling every week.

• March- heard of a friend who broke a tooth, saw dentist next day, oral surgeon next week and appointment for extraction the week after. Got name, called my dentist, got referral there.

• March15- Saw oral surgeon-all set for extraction the next week when he noticed a medication I was on. Must be off medication 6 weeks before extraction -New date for extraction-May 9th.

I shove my notes under Nurse Judy’s nose. “I can’t believe this,” I say. “It’s taking 6 months to get a lousy tooth pulled. I’m waiting 6 months with a low grade infection simmering away in my mouth. This can’t be good.”

Nurse Judy laughs at me. “You know what your problem is?” she asks. “You are a type A personality. You are so impatient. You have to be on the go all the time and you can’t wait for anything. The world doesn’t work that way. Be calm, enjoy life. We have a whole month and a half to take it easy, go out and take in some sights and even do a little shopping. “

“But now the tooth broke off,” I say, “so I have a hole in my head.”

Nurse Judy laughs harder. “You’ve always had a hole in your head,” she says. “Now you’ve learned a good lesson about patience.”

“And who are you to teach me about patience?” I ask

“Oh, it’s not me,” she says serenely. “It was GOD and I think He has a sense of humor.”

“What are you talking about?” I ask.

“You were fussing and fuming and carrying on all this time and in the end you will have your tooth out in May just as was originally planned. That’s some lesson there. Now let’s go out and enjoy life.” She pauses. “There’s just one thing,” she adds. “Please don’t open your mouth too wide. That ugly swollen crater will surely spoil my image.”

think about this. I really don’t think God is the least bit interested in preserving Nurse Judy’s image, but I try practicing a little Mona Lisa half smile.

More Later,