AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 7/30/2004 02:49:00 PM ----- BODY:

Munchausen Part Deux

Joaquin Phoenix...still among the most breathtakingly beautiful human beings I've ever seen in my life. One of the only highlights of today. Posted by Hello
On my lunch break earlier today, I finally broke down and went to get some Orajel at the CVS. The people at this CVS are quite familiar with me by now, I would think--I'm constantly in there on my lunch breaks from work to run necessary errands, and to peruse their wide magazine selection. Yeah, I'm one of those people who'll stand there and read the article(s) I want without buying the mag. What can I say, I don't give a fuck. So I went in and dawdled for a while reading Boston magazine's cover story on Matt Damon (the pics weren't that juicy, the story was short, and there was nothing else in the mag I was interested in). Looking over the rest of the rack, there were some fantasy football mags with Tommy on the cover (I'm on to their game by now: they splash Tommy all over the cover, but it's just to get you to pick up the mag, but there's nothing inside but pulpy pages full of unremarkable stats)...Lance Armstrong, blah blah...and then..gasp...Entertainment Weekly absolutely outdid themselves with their cover photo of the gorgeous Joaquin (above). I looked, I flipped, I looked, I hemmed, I hawed, and then I finally got real and snapped that puppy up. No way was I going to let a magnificent work of art like that just languish at the CVS, uh uh. But then I snapped back to reality, and remembered what I was there for: Orajel for my achy breaky gums. What is it with me and that peculiar syndrome where you walk all over a store tracing a path like that kid from The Family Circus looking for something that was in a huge brightly colored display at the very front of the store the whole time? I did that at Staples yesterday looking for printer paper. Seriously, literally, it was in a huge, bright red cardboard display just inside the door. I had taken a thorough tour of the entire store by the time I finally came back around to the front to ask someone where it was, only to have it practically slap me in the face with my own stupidity. This time, I'm going to blame Joaquin. I was in a hormone-induced daze when I was looking for the Orajel (and also Q-tips) around the CVS today. Yeah. Finally found it, and purchased it, and made the highly ghetto move of heading over to the MacDonald's nearby to apply it in the bathroom. "Dry the affected area", the instructions said. How the fuck am I supposed to dry the inside of my mouth? was my first reaction, but I decided to give it the old college try. This is when the faint of heart might want to discontinue reading. I took a Q-tip from the freshly purchased box, brandished it, and inserted it into my mouth, swabbing liberally around the sore part of my gum. When I removed the Q-tip, I nearly fainted. It was soaked in blood. And pus. Lots of gooey, browny-orange pus. Have I mentioned I was inside a MacDonald's while having this experience? Taking a deep breath, I repeated the process with another Q-tip. Same result. I took the tube of Orajel and squoze the shit out of it into my mouth. Seconds later, I was rewarded with a horrible, heavy, numb sensation in the entire left side of my mouth--in other words, I'd exchanged sharp pain for dull pain. Then I ran away. Far, far away. But by the time I got back to the car, I was in a panic. That abcessed wisdom tooth scenario was looking more and more likely. Jumping into my car (and barely registering the blazing inferno that was its interior in today's ninety-degree heat), I yanked the mirror down, held my cheek open hooked-fish style, opened my mouth, and looked. Now the pus was bright yellow. It was all over the place, oozing together with the Orajel goo. (Don't say I didn't warn you to stop reading...). I did the only thing a strong, independent, young adult can do in such a situation. I called my mother on the verge of tears. And blubbered endlessly about how I have a horrible abcessed mouth and no dental insurance and... "And what if it's cancer, or something?" I wailed. "Beth." She had that now-you-stop-that tone, which, of course, was exactly what I needed. "You ever hear that expression, if you hear hoofbeats, it's probably a horse and not a zebra?" I was struck dumb. "No." But it's one I'll certainly remember from now on. "Go. to. the. dentist." she told me for about the fifth time before we hung up. Finally I sucked it up and called the dentist's office. They told me to come up right away. I whined about the insurance thing, and the dentist told the receptionist to tell me not to worry about it. This is the upside to having had the same dentist since you were four (and it doesn't hurt that he performed any number of highly expensive medeival procedures on you throughout your life already). I have to admit it; I was a baby. It wasn't the pain, it was the worry. "Howaya?" the receptionist, and the hygienist, and my dentist all asked me when I came in, as is common, of course, to which I replied, poutily, "I've been better..." every time. I was picturing the dentist coming at me with those pliers again. Dear God, no. I ever tell you the story of how, when I was seven years old, my father told me we were going to get ice cream? And how he took me to the dentist's office instead? And the dentist proceeded to stick needles in my gums and yank out four of my teeth with huge shiny pliers? No? Well, now you know. It's a wonder I don't have a phobia. I don't, really, but I was worried this time. First and foremost because I've never had a cavity or mouth infection of any kind (perhaps because many of my teeth have not stayed in place long enough to become infected before this point...?) "Oh, yup," he said upon peering into my infected maw, in the tone of a plumber hiking up his drawers and telling you, "Ayuh, there's ya problem." "What!?!? What!?!?" I demanded. He explained to me that there's a small flap of gum over the back of my as-yet-not-fully-erupted wisdom tooth, and that either food had gotten stuck under it, or it had gotten irritated, causing me to bite down on it, which made it more swollen, which made me bite down on it more, etc. "But it happened so quick," I said. "Oh, yuh," he nodded, with the wisdom of the ages. So he took a wicked-looking syringe, stuck it under the gum, and flushed it out with saline solution. It actually didn't hurt as much as I thought it would (although once you've had a Novocaine shot in the roof of your mouth, not much else compares in terms of sharp-object-gum combos), but now it aches something fierce. If it keeps getting worse, I'm to get a prescription for antibiotics. If it keeps recurring, he can trim the gum, which just sounds delightful. Worst case scenario is even after paying my dues with losing most of my baby teeth due to extraction, having oral surgery to remove impacted teeth from my jaw, having braces for two years PLUS the Headgear from Hell, I would actually end up having to get at least one of my wisdom teeth removed. The good news is, I'm out of work early, and it's the weekend. Talk about Thank God it's Mother Fucking Friday. I plan to kick back now with my boyfriend and try not to dwell on this any longer. Maybe I'll even watch a Joaquin Phoenix movie.