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The Root Canal
Waiting is often the hardest part...
Two weeks before the date came, James had started to get uptight about his root canal. It had been a long time in coming, mainly because he had neglected to see the dentist for more than seven years. When he did go, the root canal was one of many procedures the dentist thought was priority. Even with his insurance, all the procedures combined would cost him quite a small fortune out of pocket and it would have to occur over a 12-month span.
Dr. Haskell explained the root canal procedure to James before he scheduled the appointment, but it didn’t make him any less uptight. He would still have to get numbed up and endure the drilling and prodding. He probably wouldn’t feel a thing except for pressure and vibrations as his dentist said.
It was a good thing he scheduled it for 7 a.m. because then he could get it over with and could continue his day.
On the other hand, the procedure might ruin the whole day. He would probably have to forego lunch, and supper would be liquids only. If he had scheduled the work for later in the afternoon, he’d be fretting about it all morning and wouldn’t be able to get any work done at all. Plus, he’d have a late supper.
Either way it was proving to be a rotten day for James. The alternative, of course, was to let the area become infected, and who knows what they’d have to do to resolve that? It’d definitely be more than a day’s worth of pain and agony, so the one-day, early morning shebang was the best of all scenarios.
It didn’t mean he’d like it, but it needed to happen.
The night before, he lamented to his wife that he really didn’t want to go through tomorrow. Her kind-hearted response of “Buck up! You’re a grown man. Get a hold of yourself” wasn’t exactly what he was expecting, but probably what he needed.
As he lay in bed thinking about the work, the what ifs appeared out of nowhere:
What if the procedure goes wrong?
What if the anesthetic wears off too fast?
What if the dentist yawns his way through and talks about the nasty hangover he has while he’s working?
What if the dentist has an emotional breakdown and doesn’t want to deal with patients ever again while he has my mouth open?
What if the area gets infected?
Of course, they were all possible though improbable, but it didn’t stop James from thinking through them as he dozed off.
When he woke the next morning, he wasn’t refreshed at all because he had tossed and turned and added a few more what if scenarios to his list. He jumped in the shower and it was mostly cold water to wake him up quickly. He had to be alert today to make sure the dentist didn’t pull a fast one on him and take out three or four teeth while he wasn’t fully 100% alert. Totally illogical thinking, but what can you do on meager sleep?
He poured himself some cereal and sat down at his computer to browse the news when his phone buzzed.
It was a text from the dentist office telling him the doctor was sick and can James postpone? Of course he could. The dentist wouldn’t be in the office and he really didn’t want the hygienist or the receptionist to work on his teeth, and especially not a root canal.
So, now the long cycle of worrying about the next appointment begins again.
****Author’s note: This story is a work fiction. Any resemblance to real life events is purely coincidental, especially James’ wife’s response to him bellyaching before the event. Purely fictional. :)
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