September 11, 2013
Those Damn Doctors
By Dean Steinberg
I feel like I have come full circle. Child to adult, and back to child again. Ok, lets re-do that. There is no doubt in my mind that I can often display the emotional intolerance, instability, and even at times the black and white, void of logic, absence of reasoning, and inability for abstract thought of a child. Last week though, I was catapulted back to single digit years simply because I saved a tooth that came out. Unlike a child, this tooth did not simply fall out, or allow my fingers to wiggle it free from bondage to be sold (at bare bottom prices I might add for a body part) to the tooth fairy; and can we all agree as adults, capable of abstract thought, that the tooth fairy must be one great big Super freak. No this was a wisdom tooth that needed removal, and I saved it because the oral surgeon who removed it told me that it was the largest wisdom tooth he had ever seen and asked me if I was born a shark. (My dads face flashed in my mind, when he posed that question and I told the surgeon I would get back to him on that). So proud was I to have the biggest anything that a doctor had seen, I decided to make it a keepsake.
But none of that is what this week’s piece is about. It is about the god-damn doctors. First off, sitting in this high-tech dental office, (so many computers, I thought I wandered into the employee lounge at Google, and the weird chair was something those left brain techies use to get off with at lunch) was strange enough. Then, in walks the king of nitrous, (I never get to have any), and he's holding a wrench. A bit newer and cleaner than the one in my toolbox, but it was still a fucking wrench! So I'm like, "Doc, were you just working on your car?" Doc gives off this stupid placating chuckle like he's heard that joke every day for a decade, but I was dead serious. No high tech laser to open the gum and sliiiiide out my precious tooth. This sadistic little shit is gonna pry open my jaw, shoot me with enough Novocain to do an extraction on King Kong, and wrench my impacted (shark size) fang right the f*#k out of my skull. And that is exactly what he did. But here is where I get a tad bit miffed with our darling doctors. After the surgery, I'm rubbing my swollen jaw as if I have just been passed around a prison yard, and Doc starts writing out a script saying here's something for the pain. I ask what is that? He replies, "Vicodin." Of course my addict brain lights up like a pinball machine after hitting a high score, but the memory of 5th's of vodka, 8-balls of cocaine and eventually handcuffs, pops in my head and I summon the energy to say, in a very quiet, mouse-like voice, very unlike my normal tone, "uh, Doc, you remember before the surgery I told you I am a recovering addict, I cannot have anything narcotic." To which he replies, "yes I remember, but you’re going to be in a considerable about of pain while your mouth heals, this is just for the first week to help you through that."
So I say, "Wow Doctor, you’re so sweet, but that little bottle of vicodin (to help me through the first week), will most likely turn into a 1/4 ounce of weed, then a 1/4 ounce of coke, then 2am trips downtown to skid row, and ultimately when I am calling you collect, to bail me out of jail, I doubt you will accept the call; so may we please just stick with the Advil for now, because if you keep fucking asking me with that look on your face, saying I am crazy not to take the script because the pain is going to be intolerable, I will eventually take the Vicodin and after I get out of jail, I will come and kill you. My sweet, darling, caring, Doctor.” "Cool?"