I will not make a scene. Nor will I kill anyone. I'm just going to the clinic and waiting for the doors to open. If they will not help me immediately, I will quietly proceed to get some fresh and functioning dilaudid from the impostors with prescription pads next door. I will then drive down to my dentist in Mendo World and he will fix me up.
The big news of the morning is that—through the miracle of pain killers—I have at last been able to identify THE offending tooth. It's the very last one on the bottom on the right side of my mouth. I've been just sure it was the second to last, and that one may be suffering too, but THE bad one is the last one. I can tell by pressing on it. None of the others hurt when pressing on them. Except I can't get them all to stop hurting until I have enough dilaudid in me to shut them up.
Zen. I'm going to be Zen. No one will die. No one will be knocked on their ass. This will just be handled. Or everything in Northern California is coming to a grinding halt.
NOON: Nobody died. I was quietly emphatic and a cancellation came in just in time to give me the appointment. We are nuking me with amoxicillin and ibuprofen and the remainder of my aged dilaudid, to be refilled if I'm still hurting too badly. Back bottom tooth needs a root canal and crown, which I can get for a mere $600 since I'm so poor. Or, they can pull it. I'm getting in bed for a nice nap now. If the pain will just ebb enough. OMG, this shit just does NOT ebb once it's really made up its mind. I was SO good. None of that drama queen moaning and thumping, and people were alarmed anyway. I guess I'm in that zone where you have to be blind not to tell something's wrong... because people have been VERY solicitous toward me all morning. Total strangers.
Please let me know if the tsunami's coming to get me or Norway nukes Madagascar or the entire government suddenly drops from space rays... or whatever.....
SIX: Well, that was fraught with difficulty! Good thing I didn't wait any longer to go have it seen to. Even taking way more ibuprofen and the dilaudid, the pain had gotten so it was still pretty bad anyway. It took me some hours to do anything more than lie there in misery awaiting naptude and I had to get up a couple times to take more pills. Now my ear and throat and side of my tongue hurt along with my teeth and gums, but it isn't as despicable.
I dreamed a lotta stuff, and most of it's long gone, but my mother was in there somewhere, and that means I was dreaming of relative reality instead of absolute reality. I'd been this lump of Zenned-out pain sculpture in the waiting rotunda. The building that houses County medical and dental and old people and lort knows what else is a really large barn-shaped building with labyrinthine halls and cubbyholes for labs and nurses stations and examination rooms and whatnot. They'd have to fit me with some sort of GPS device if I worked there. One begins to feel terror if one's escort pops out of one's field of vision. But all the waiting around goes on in one wide stretch down the middle length of the building and the roof is a long way up from there. It makes you feel as though you've come to be seen by elephants. They'd turned on a television to entertain a very young Hispanic boy whose brother was in with the elephants.
The shrill sound effects of cartoons were skewering my neurons through my right ear. I had a stately O magazine on my lap and I slowly and silently went through its pages one-by-one until such time as I would be shown what was the professional choice for me or the elephants called me in. I never got to discern my true destiny. I was still back in the ads for diamond-encrusted things and not-your-daughter's-jeans. I'd gone off to find some breakfast that didn't demand chewing while I filled out a stack of forms, dotted T's and crossed I's and had to get up to go beg a couple crusty old dairymen to tell me the date. They'd both whipped out their cell phones to find out, but I was the only one with cheaters to read it. It's the 9th. I'd known that hours earlier, but had stopped in the intervening debacle and didn't want to punt because last week I arrived at my hair appointment a full twenty-four hours early. So I'd come back and handed in my assignment before settling down to the meditation in the fires of hell bit. I thought I had another hour to endure, but I guess there must have been another cancellation because, mercifully, except if you count my need to have Oprah point out where I've gone wrong with my life, they got me in pretty quickly.
I remember taking one of those personality tests by which jackasses set so much store, and it advised I should be a counselor. Oprah probably would have done the same. So I guess my dreaming was trying to tie up that loose thread. I was counseling one woman who had taken up grieving widow duties over another woman's dead husband. I was telling her it wasn't a good idea to let the actual widow dump her grieving on a surrogate like this. She was upset by this, as though the real widow had maybe put one over on her, not, maybe, as gracefully conceding the position out of the kind of generosity and sublimity of spirit my patient had been supposing. Leave it to me. I'll wreck everything.
Somebody get me started analyzing this dream.
Anyway, I'm going to try gently going about my stupid little house without whipping up any more PAIN now, and see if I can't go back to sleep by around eight or so. I mean, I only slept for a couple forty-minute sprints last night and I've been in too much pain for fatigue to really register. I just know I must be tired back there, and that holding still while nuking with antibiotics is the best way to insure they actually work. So I'm just going to keep on funning my way out of this Zenhouse hall of mirrors, and will pop back in if this doesn't go according to the sensible plan I can just barely make out that I've plotted for myself here.
SEVEN: It occurs to me I should point out that Del Norte County's medical and dental, etc, clinics are not like those you find in most counties. In most counties, those are just for poor people and are relatively squalid places, even when it's just the rumpled throngs of abject persons making it appear that way. Here, it's close to two hours in any direction to get to something more approximating a medical professional. We do have some dentists, and about four private practice doctors, but their waiting lists are so long you'd die of gangrene from waiting to get your indigestion seen to. So everybody but a mystical few goes to the County clinic. It's really very chic, which is unexpected in one of the last bastions of true redneckdom in all California. Exotic fresh flower arrangements are always on the redwood block coffee tables and the chairs are not hard plastic. They are remotely comfortable and there are a lot of them and usually very few people waiting. The hospital is pretty much the same thing. Chic. The Urgent Care Clinic blows chunks and I don't know about the mental health clinic. It's back in some trees with mysterious signage at the road.
The problem isn't the facilities. It's the staffing. Homeless people plucked off the street and dressed in scrubs to look authentic. They only look authentic. They have computer terminals that display all lab tests optimal for persons of the age and general description of each patient and they let you vent about your complaint for a moment and order the tests on their screen for you. They never match the complaint even remotely. This is of no moment. You can bring it up all you want and they have a designated extra-concern person to not help you then. Very civilized. Never gets out of hand. In fact, you have signed something that certifies you know you will be 86'd for life if you get out of hand.
So I guess I am lucky I had something as straightforward as an infected tooth. My dentist looks like a church lady in scrubs. She didn't even have to scrutinize my x-rays because a computer puts black bugs on them at the spots that show infection. No room to maneuver there. I wonder if they have a robot that does the root canals? I wonder if I will end up like my real estate agent, getting them all yanked in favor of false teeth, it being so many thousands of dollars cheaper than trying to keep them. Old lady waiting at the pharmacy next to me said she just had two yanked. I'm, like, pretty interested in chewing and have already paid millions to dentists to keep my mouth perfectly pristine over the course of my life. I don't think it's right to be telling me these things now.
TEN-THIRTY: Go postal for me, please. I'm too sick.
Monster storm barreling down on me. The surf sounds like cannon fire. I'm too uncomfortable to sleep, to stay up, to think, and so until I'm not dying of this anymore, you gotta handle dat stuff please.
The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans outmaneuvered the chamber's missing Democrats and approved an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.
"You are cowards!" spectators in the Senate gallery screamed as lawmakers voted. Within hours, a crowd of a few hundred protesters inside the Capitol had grown to an estimated 7,000, more than had been in the building at any point during weeks of protests.