I went to the dentist last week.
And unlike the last time, I was bound and determined not to be drooling on myself after the visit.
So I get myself settled into the dental seat and Heloise (my happy- go-lucky hygienist) informs me that Dr. Mollar wasn’t there, but assures me that Dr. Smiley (who happens to be walking into the room while she’s talking) is a “bang-up substitute for Dr. Mollar.”
After a minute or two exchanging pleasantries, Dr. Smiley begins stretching out my widdle wips like the bellows of an accordion and starts examining the deep recesses of my otherwise “tiny mouth.”
“Un hum”, I’m thinkin’ while eye-balling Doogie Howser and his toothy, fixated grin, “I hope to hell this kid has a verifiable medical degree and knows what he’s doing, ‘cuz Boo’s howling interfered with my beauty sleep last night, and my current tolerance for pain and incompetence is not too high.”
(And if he stretches out my lips any more, I’m gonna end up with pair of rubberized turkey lips and looking like a lip augmentation gone bad!)
After spending what feels like forever and a day probing the dark recesses of my mouth for various dental maladies, Dr. Smiley releases my irritated (very raw), rubberized turkey lips, leans back on the dental counter, looks at me like a 5 year old with that innocent, sweet grin on his face and says, “I’m afraid you’ve got a small cavity on your front incisor, but nothing we can’t take care of on your next visit. Not to worry.”
“I did, however, notice that you have some other dental issues,” he continues, “and wondered if you ever heard of cognitive behavioral therapy?”
“WTS?” I’m thinking while eyeballing this young man over my tri-focals with an inquisitive (more than likely disparaging) raised left eyebrow.
I know I have hearing problems and I’ve had very little sleep in the past 24 hours, but “Did Dr. Never Stops Smilin’ just tell me I have a cavity and recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to take care of it?”
“Ya gotta be kidding me!”
“I’ve got a former endocrinologist who thinks my medication problems were signs of a bi-polar disorder, an allergist who mistakenly thought I had bone cancer, and now a newbie Dentist who thinks my cavities need therapy sessions?!”
“I gotta be in the “Land of Oz” or better yet, “The Twilight Zone!”
I don’t wanna be rude to this young man, so I’m trying hard to compose my thoughts before I respond, when Dr. Smiley must have put 2 and 2 together while reading my affect and quickly says, “The reason I asked, is because I noticed that you’ve got some pretty serious teeth grinding issues going on and this type of cognitive therapy has proven to be highly beneficial for issues like this.”
“Yep,” I’m thinking to myself, “let me add cognitive therapy to my to do list for all my marvelous little maladies. I’ll just fit it in between my yoga classes, my special foot and knee exercises, my daily walking routine, and my special dietary constraints for my hearing impediment. No problem. I’m retired, don’t ‘cha know, and have all kinds of time (and money) to spend on life’s little medical necessities.
“Who the hell knows? Maybe it’ll help out with my nightly Jimmy Legs (a.k.a. Restless Leg Syndrome)! Couldn’t hurt, could it?”
I know Californians are known for going to therapy for everything under the sun, but I think this is gonna be a hard sell for even my most understanding East Coast family members and friends.
(I can just hear me trying to explain to one of them during our conversation, “I’ve gotta get going, Hun. Have a therapy session for my cavity. Yeah, my Dentist recommended that I go to it. Catch ya later!”)
Thank goodness my Mother taught me that life is a circus.
Just wish she had given me a head’s up with the fact that I’d be sharing it with a bunch of clowns.
Catch ya next week, People!
And remember, we’re all in this circus together, so be kind to one another. You never know when you’ll be asked to be the Lead Clown!