Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh Bother...


“But his arms were so stiff ... they stayed up straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off. And I think – but I am not sure – that that is why he is always called Pooh.”  ~A.A. Milne
With the majority of my beloved sit-coms down from production for the Holidays, I lumbered Penny-the-Pooh-like into my yearly den of hibernation for a long winter’s nap. 

As Mother Nature commands before such a state of metabolic inactivity, I’d fed shamelessly and relentlessly from Craft Services on my last show, pawing and devouring as much free hearty food as possible at every catered meal, complimented by the inhalation of a variety of pies, cakes, cookies, cream puffs and brownies for desserts.  (There were actual CREAM PUFFS!)  And with my tummy nice and round for the seasonal slumber, our last sit-com already picked up for another run (again – no guarantee of steady employment for me), but never fearing that work will always come, I did my best to ignore the creepy little canker sore under my tongue...
“This is a prescription for an oral paste” the gentlest Dentist whatever lived finished his butterfly-like inspection of flitting wispily around inside my mouth.  “Just apply it with a Q-Tip at night, and it will form a nice barrier for the sore to heal” he assured me. 

And fifty bucks later at the pharmacy, he was quite right!
Well, for a week or so...  Until...

Waking up at 2:00am with bright red spittle on my pillow and face, I “calmly” called the phone service to see just when my Dentist would be available in the office that morning.  “I’ll be there at 8:00am” I ever-so professionally informed them, Spock-logically prepared for nothing more than maybe an antibiotic, refusing to let my anxiety get the best of me.
After all, I had plenty of time to hop in the shower, put on some make-up, style my fabulous ponytail, select my wardrobe and sit quietly for FOUR MORE HOURS.

Oh, bother...
But there were more tasks I could achieve!  And rather than dealing with the hooker who lives upstairs and parks behind my car, I pulled out a leopard print change purse, and counting out quarters, I made certain that I had enough bus fare for a ride to the Dentist (maybe two miles down the Boulevard), a jaunt to the pharmacy if need be, a secure amount of coinage to ensure my arrival home, and just to be on the safe side, an extra $1.75 for any error in metro miscalculations if necessary.

Additionally, I’d recently received some sort of new-fangled missive from my Insurance company for ordering prescriptions on-line (I think), but not knowing for sure whatever importance the cut-out thingy might entail, I promptly pulled my wallet out of my purse and added it to the Las Vegas hand of medical cards that I’ve been dealt of late.  (Did I win?!  Is that a Royal Flush?!)
And so I sat quietly and “calmly” for another three and a half more hours.

...OK, BLATANT LIE!  My mouth was still full of bright red spittle, my anxiety was peaking and I’d already begun to mentally write my last will and testament!

“Let’s have a look, shall we?” the once again gentlest Dentist whatever lived used his gossamer fingertips to peer as possibly unobtrusively at my newly formed multiple canker sores under my tongue.  “Oh sweetie, I’m afraid you’re going to have to see an oral surgeon...” he sighed despondently.  “Can you do that today?” he fretted, genuinely rueful that he was unable to help me.
“Yes of course” I nodded.  “Bring him in here!” I cheered, already exhausted from the morning and more than happy to just lay there like a lump.

“No, no, no, he’s in Beverly Hills.  Shall I call and see if he can squeeze you in today?”
“But, but, but, I came here by bus...” I whimpered.

“He can see her right away!” someone from the inner office piped up whilst holding the phone.

And thus Penny-the-Pooh was destined for yet another unwelcome adventure...

With a reliable cab company on the contact list of my NOT-smart-phone, I piled into the taxi for a ride into the zip code of the rich and famous. 

To be sure, there exists a certain amount of “entitlement” in Beverly Hills if you will, and perhaps my utter fatigue had propelled my inner self-preservation to a higher level than I’m generally accustomed to. 
Why, I was literally chauffeured to the surgeon’s office! 

I was hand-delivered to the building by my driver!   
And wallowing sanctimoniously in the fact that I possess a credit card with which to scuttle my royal highness ass to and fro, I unzipped my purse to compensate my charioteer only to discover that my wallet was nowhere to be found...

Oh bother...

(Please forgive my obscenity, but sometimes, there are no more appropriate words.)  (And thank God, that my Mom always insisted that I hide a twenty dollar bill somewhere separate inside my purse!)
“I don’t have my wallet with me” I explained Un-Spock illogically to the oral surgeon’s receptionist, suddenly panicking that perhaps my twenty gazillion pound wallet had somehow been miraculously pick-pocketed during metro transit.  “But here’s the card from my Dentist with his notes.  I’m sure that they can vouch for who I am and my insurance” I mumbled, curling up most unpleasantly into a teeny tiny ball of nerves in the waiting lounge.

But with the opening of the door, and a rather officious “we have an appointment for him”, the matriarchal wife indicated her rather annoyed husband in tow; oddly, I suddenly didn’t feel quite so nervous.
“May I please have his photo ID for our records?” the receptionist asked pleasantly.

“Photo ID” the wife elbowed her hubby, who harrumphed loudly at the entire intolerable process. 
“I’m standing right here.  Take my picture if you need it” he Spock-logically suggested.  (My hero!)

And having been led into a Dental Chamber of Doom for whatever fresh hell awaited me, I couldn’t help but tune in to the sounds of the nurses leading my Hero to a separate room. 
“How tall are you?”

“How tall am I?  I'm five foot four”.
“Do you know your weight?”

“Of course I know my weight.”
“Can you tell me your weight?”

“Yes I can” he snarked.  “What, do you need my shoe size too?”

As luck or The Universe would have it, I’m delighted to report that my wallet was indeed at home (*whew*), I was rescued by a friend who was able to give me a lift back to my apartment (nothing like being stuck somewhere in the heart of Beverly Hills with only eight dollars in your pocket, FFS) and I’d even successfully made a follow-up appointment with the oral surgeon for a CT scan and possible surgery. 
But as the surgeon was running hours behind on my return visit with his paws in someone else’s gaping maw (yikes), the staff and I managed to achieve two more tasks – one being my CT scan (I don’t care how heavy that leaden x-ray apron is, I still almost managed to Houdini my way out of the room!); and two, being the successful uploading of the movie “Airplane!” from Netflix onto a wide screen TV to keep me cheerful!

Muting the movie as “Dr. Giggles” entered the room (someone really does need to create a “sarcastic” font because the man has NO sense of humor); I listened patiently to my prognosis and gaped in awe at the 360 degree pictures of the insides of my head.  With a circle and a swipe on the computer, my spinal column (well, my neck) disappeared; another circle/swipe and my nose had been erased (insert obligatory Hollywood rhinoplasty joke here) and with some fancy-schmancy finagling of every angle of my teeth, Dr. Giggles confirmed my rather common condition of having “Torus”.

“No, I’m a Capricorn” I attempted light-hearted humor; the response to which was nothing more than stoic blinking.  (Geez!  Talk about a tough audience!)
Yes, apparently, “torus mandibularis” is a bony growth in the mandible along the surface nearest to the tongue which occurs generally on both sides of the lower part of the mouth.  “It’s a simple procedure.  I’ll just slice open your gums and sand down the bones.”

Wait, whaaat?
“You may also have an infected tooth, but I won’t know for sure until I get in there.  If I have to pull it I will, but we’ll just do a bone graft if need be.  Okay, I must go back to surgery now” he deftly tossed his latex gloves into a bin and vanished into thin air as a nurse led me into an intimate consultation room.

“Would you like to go over everything one more time for clarity?” the nurse asked, as apparently my pea-brain was sort of visibly spinning.
But with my insistence of the typing of a signed waiver that my parents can call and ask any questions that they need to; meticulous note-taking of all possible procedural activities; a rough financial estimate of costs lest my insurance carrier doesn’t approve the surgery, and somewhat calmed by the fact that nothing invasive would occur that day (I’d ingested no food or drink for eight hours lest I might be put under sedation) I slurped down two bottles of water in the office, contemplated a hearty (yet SOFT!) rewarding dinner for my bravery and asked only two more questions.

“So can you show me what Torus surgery looks like?” I queried “calmly” as the nurse had already logged on to her computer to print out my legal waiver.

“NO, NO, NO!  Don’t look at THIS page!” she squealed as I nearly threw up in my mouth at the visuals.  “Here!  See?!  Just a few simple stitches, warm salt water rinses and you’ll be all better in just a few days!” she reassured me serenely.

“OK then” I Spock-logically regained my composure after I stopped hyperventilating with my head between my knees.  (I’m not particularly proud of such moments, but we’re all human, and sometimes we falter. Still, I choose to own these experiences, even if they’re not necessarily the societal norm.)  “No bother” I nodded ever-so Penny-the Pooh calmly, supplicated by the nurse in the Hundred Acre Woods of Beverly Hills. “So, last question just out of curiosity?  Where does the bone graft come from?” I wondered most innocently and secretively if there existed some manner of unmentionable epoxy in “Area 51” that genius scientists had rendered in a laboratory from aliens wherein of which one not dare governmentally speak.
“Oh, that would be from medically donated cadavers”.

Wait, WHAAAT???

According to my lifelong Fortune 500 Executive friend RJ (who blissfully shares my macabre sense of humor) and who was savoring a cocktail in a hot tub somewhere at a New York casino, clearly I’ve been asking all the wrong questions...

“Do you get to select your cadaver?  Can you decide if you want a dead man or woman?  Do you get to know the person’s name?  I’d want to hand pick just who’s going to be in my mouth” he asserted duly and forthwith.  “For the love of God, I had to special order the turkey chili for dinner!  And what if they pour some dead guy’s bones into your gums who liked sushi?  You don’t eat sushi!”
“True!” I chimed in.  “But I’d never eat another meal alone for the rest of my life!”

To date of publishing this post, I’m holding off on the oral surgery pending my insurance.  And with the approval of my oral surgeon that I’m permitted a soft (not just liquid) diet of soup, I’m gnawing cheeseburgers once again relentlessly.  I’ve too become an addict of milkshakes from my local Fatburger (yes, I DO want whipped cream on top, thank you very much!) which entail 910 calories and 45 grams of fat and wicked delicious chocolate frothiness; but with gauze in my mouth nightly so as not to irritate anything and lots of warm salt water rinsing, I choose to believe I’m on the mend!
As to the surgery, I suppose I will eventually have to have the Torus (Tori plural?) removed, but certainly not without a second opinion and/or financial comparisons of oral surgeons who are not located in the heart of the wealth of Beverly Hills. (Yipes!  It’s an immediate ten dollar co-pay just to walk into the Suite!)

And as to my beloved sit-coms, I’ve been pre-booked for a pilot on a cable network, scheduled somewhere around the last week of February or beginning of March; all hopes being that the Writers from one of my previous shows will find great success and I can hop on their gravy train for a few years at my favorite Studio!

As always, thanks for popping by kind readers, and I’ll do my best to extricate my head from of the “hunny” jar and get back to writing more frequently.  Sincere apologies for not keeping you posted, but sometimes, you just have to unplug!
Wishing you all a prosperous and healthy New Year,