I'd rather not go through again.
It all started 3 years ago here in Paris when we were out for dinner with Curt, Terry and Klodia. I was eating a slice of cheese-y pizza when I realized I had pulled out one of my crowns and, before I knew it, swallowed the crown never to be seen again. All that was left was a stub of a tooth that had been ground down for the crown and as it did not bother me, I never did anything about it (despite my dentist's suggestions to the contrary)>
Well all that changed the other day when I chomped down on something and got a shot of pain through the top of my head, It seemed under control for a few days but came back with a vengeance today. I figured I had to do something about it. Despite some recommendations from friends for a kindly, qualified and in-expensive dentist, I decided to go to a "walk-in" clinic near the St Lazare train station.
We went to the floor for the "dentist without appointment" and got in line. My tooth was really bothering me then. When it was my turn with the receptionist, I asked, in French, if she spoke English. She responded, "Not at all", in French. I explained, in my best French, what my issue was. She didn't seem to care too much. She just signed me in, told me to come back at 2pm and kept my passport for security.To kill time, we walked to the Madeleine, an impressive church that took a couple hundred years to complete due to wars and revolutions.
We came back about 1:30 and waited for my turn. I had an X-Ray then, after explaining why I was there, I was sent to room 3-1 on the next floor. I walked into the room. There was a dentist and his assistant.He was about our age and asked if "Madame voulait entrer" I asked Judy to come into the room for company and as a witness to the torture I was about to endure. Without looking at me, the dentist said, Je vous ecoute... I'm listening. After explaining my problem, he said he would take a look and sat me down in the chair. He proceeded to poke, prod, twist, dig, gouge, pick and drill all without any hint of Novocaine. I thought I would have my tooth pulled but he had other ideas.(I concluded, after the fact, that they probably don't use Novacaine because they don't want to wait for it to take effect. Get 'em in, get 'em out.)
Here's our dialog.
Does this hurt?
Not too much.
How about this?
etc, etc, for a while. At this point I was almost jumping out of the chair.
I should have known I was in for some trouble when he kept whispering in my ear, "Is it safe?" (film reference), He said the tooth was infected and that I needed a root canal. He gave me a prescription for anti-biotics and pain killers. He didn't have much of a "bedside" manner and the only time he smiled at me was when I asked if the pain killers would work until I got back to the States. He looked at me, grinned and slowly said, "Maybe".
So, I got a not so kindly, probably qualified and definitely not expensive dentist. The X-ray and session in the torture chamber totaled less than $60. He said he could do a root canal for me in a couple of weeks, but I told him I'm good. When I went to pay, another receptionist retrieved my passport and started giggling as I was her first American. She had never seen an American passport and was enthralled with it. Sort of cute, actually. But it made us realize that this clinic was probably meant for people with no regular doctor or dentist,
Having said all that, it is now about 5 hours later and my tooth feels pretty good and maybe the anti-biotics will work for a while and I will make it home for the rest of the story.
Back to cultural activities tomorrow...