I’ve been putting off going to get my cavity fixed for over a month. Call me crazy, but I just can’t get excited about pain and needles these days. I know, I know…who does? But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a bit when she jabbed that twelve foot needle into my gums.
Ya see, you can’t get your teeth cleaned during chemo. It seems between messed up clotting factors and compromised immunity, they frown upon shoving sharp metallic things in a warm moist breeding ground for germs. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to find I had a cavity when I finally was cleared to see the dentist again. I suppose it’s also not a huge surprise that I didn’t want to deal with numbing, drilling, and filling. Boo. Hiss.
After rescheduling it on three separate occasions, I decided I better just get it done before I needed a full on root canal. Since I was making the trek across the river anyway, I figured I’d take care of a few additional errands. So once Steve Martin filled my face with Novocaine and finished practically mouth raping me, I staggered up to Columbus Circle to get new CO2 cartridges for my soda maker.
By the by, there aren’t many things on earth cooler than a soda maker. Take a bottle of plain filtered water, pump it full of bubbles, and kaPOW! instant seltzer. We first tried it out during chemo. I had gotten to the point where I hated the taste of damn near everything – especially water. But you’re supposed to stay extra hydrated so you can flush out all those fun chemicals as quickly as possible. Eventually we figured out the carbonation in seltzer made drinking water much easier for me. However, I couldn’t carry the damn bottles of the stuff up our three flights of stairs and it was killing me to throw away so many plastic bottles. And then the whole BPA thing really had me going. Enter our soda maker! And we all lived happily ever after! Well, until I ran out of CO2…
Williams Sonoma now has some deal with the makers of my soda machine to distribute the cartridges. This is super good news for me as my lack of doorman or front stoop makes it completely impossible for me to utilize their normal delivery/pickup system. So my numb, drooling face and I headed uptown, dragging my four empty cartridges behind me.
Despite spending the entire twenty-minute stroll poking my chin and lips, completely fascinated by the weird sensation, it did not occur to me that I might have trouble speaking. I wandered into the store and took off my sunglasses. I was tired, so were my eyes and I had trouble reading the section names on the walls. I slipped back on the prescription sunglasses rather than dig out my normal glasses. A lovely, well groomed, older lady approached me in the cutlery section.
“Can I help you?” she asked sweetly.
“Do you haf thoda threeb carthrigez?” I asked. I was immediately horrified by the syllables that were tumbling out of my mouth, along with no small amount of drool.
I took of my sunglasses to make eye contact and hopefully better communicate my need. I stepped towards the nice lady and she unconsciously shuddered and took a step back. I then caught a glance of myself in the mirrored cutlery display. Apparently my bout of water works had my non-toxic (and non-waterproof) mascara streaming down my face. My repeated poking of the right side of my face had left some rather disturbing black patterns all over my cheek and chin, but there was a nice clean streak starting at my lip, highlighted by a near constant stream of drool.
Oh dear God.
My heart went out to the poor lady. We were a block off Central Park and on top of one of the biggest subway stations in the city. A large mental institution (and it’s many outpatients) was situated only a few blocks west. I’m sure this establishment had more than their fair share of walk-in whack-a-doodles. I was merely their latest. I swiped under my eyes with the heels of my hands and turned to face her, cornering her before she could make eye contact with the security guard.
“Denthis,” I said holding my jaw with one hand and pointing at my tooth with the other. “Thorry. Throuble thpeekink.”
Her body visibly relaxed and she put the meat tenderizer back in its bin. “Oh! You’re the second one today! Really, don’t fret – you look fine.”
I started to smile but that simply released more drool. “Thoda threeb?” I tried again.
She handed me a tissue but continued to shrug in confusion. I pulled one of the empty cartridges out of my bag.
“Oh! Soda Stream! Sure thing. Meet me at the register.”
Don’t ask how long it took me to explain I was supposed to get a discount for returning the empties.