Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get an appointment as a new patient? Doctors and dentists inevitably need more time for a "new patient appointment". Because of this, it usually takes longer to get in. After all, they've only got so many appointment slots set aside for those dreaded new patient visits. Aware of the new patient syndrome, I was prepared to wait awhile for my appointment, although the pain in my tooth wasn't going to be easy to live with. Imagine my surprise when I called and was scheduled for the following day. I guess that should have been my first clue. After all, aren't the good doctors and dentists in high demand?
My second clue was after explaining my problem. The receptionist summed up what she thought I was saying:
"So you want to get rid of the pain, that's why you're coming in?"
"All right then. I'll put you down as wanting the tooth extracted, if possible."
Wait a minute. You mean he would pull the tooth tomorrow? On my first visit?
"You're in luck," the receptionist assured me. "Not many doctors pull wisdom teeth anymore. Most refer them to an oral surgeon."
She scheduled my appointment for two the following afternoon. I asked if she could make it a little later because I usually work until two. But she said she was allowing enough time for any unknown contingencies. If I just wanted an exam and an x-ray she could schedule it later. I took the two o'clock appointment and juggled my work hours.
Truthfully, I didn't see this as a problem. I wanted the pain taken care of as soon as possible. And the only thing worse than going to see a dentist is having to go see a series of dentists in order to get the problem taken care of. Sure, what the hey? Schedule me for a tooth pulling! No muss, no fuss. I guess I'll need to bring someone with me to drive me home.
I wasn't sure what to think when the receptionist informed me that they wouldn't be using anesthesia. Oh no, they would do a local. I could walk right out and drive myself home when they were through. No problem at all.
I know many of you (okay, the two of you) are scratching your heads and going, "Whaaa?" I can only plead a combination of lack of dentistry knowledge and lack of common sense caused by my intense tooth pain. Plus, I'm slightly gullible. I tend to believe people when they say they know what they're doing or that they're the best. So I scheduled my appointment.
It was just pulling a tooth. Or two. I hadn't decided for sure if he should pull two at a time or not. I didn't really want to do all four at once, but two at a time seemed efficient. I wavered back and forth through the day while I was at work. I didn't come to a decision about that, but I did get more nervous as the day wore on. And I got a little irritable, too. I kept telling myself, it's just a tooth pulling. You've been through this before. Piece of cake!
If I had only known ...