Step 1. I go to the dentist. I think I have an abscessed tooth. “No, you have a sinus infection. See your physician.”
Step 2. I tell the doctor I thought I had an abscessed tooth, but the dentist said my teeth are fine. “I’m going to put you on a Z-pack. It’s not the best antibiotic for a sinus infection, but let’s see how it goes. Come back and see me in 10 days if you’re not better.”
Step 3. Five nights later, I head up to the ready med clinic and get there just before they close. I think my gum is about to explode. “A Z-pack isn’t any good for this sort of infection. I’m going to put you on clyndromycn,” the physician’s assistant says.
Step 4. Having just finished the bottle of clyndromycn, I’m feeling mostly healed. I think I have something stuck on the bottom of my tooth. I poke it with my finger. The filling falls out of the tooth and clinks on the wooden kitchen floor. My face begins to throb like it did before the clyndromycn. I take two Advil and a glass of gin and try to sleep.
Step 5. Back at the dentist (see Step 1). He hopes he can replace the filling and I’ll be good as new. Me too. “Uh oh. Bad news. The tooth is split. It’s going to have to be extracted and replaced with an implant.” He couldn’t see the split before because the filling — the one that has fallen out — was hiding it.
And that pounding, throbbing, radiating pain in the left side of my head? Likely the sinister tooth was the cause of it all along. (See Step 1 redux.)
I express disappointment for the usual reasons, including the fact that it takes a long time to get an implant in after they pull a tooth. And, for bonus points, it will involve drilling a hole in my jaw. I could just go hillbilly? “That is an option,” the dentist says.
Step 6. I can’t get in to the oral surgeon until Monday. But I’m out of clyndromycn. I don’t want the infection to kick into high gear again. I phone the dentist’s office and ask if they want to give me another prescription so I don’t go back to feeling as if someone is pounding nails into my face. “That’s a good idea,” the dental assistant says.
Step 7. Mike returns to Walgreens.