A cascade of infections
Apologies to both Charles Bukowski and Rosie O'Donnell
Jesus God! My jaw hurts.
Is it my night guard?
I need a root canal.
The tooth is dead.
The tooth has three roots.
One of the roots is hooked and must be scraped clean by hand with a sharp, tiny file.
I feel the file hitting the top of my jaw.
Then the chills and fever begin.
My dentist is now out of town.
Here's the number of a friend of his.
Who will see you if you can get there in ten minutes.
His office is a half an hour away.
I sit in an unfamiliar dental chair.
I wait for an hour.
I read most of a New Yorker article about a man who went into the Amazon jungle and never came out again.
An assistant takes my temperature with a mercury thermometer.
It rests in my mouth for three minutes.
"The mercury isn't even moving!"
I sit for three more minutes.
"I don't know what's wrong with this thing."
"Let me see"
-- I angle the glass just so --
"There. 99.4, see?"
Silence. "It says 97."
Do I tell her each thermometer mark means two-tenths?
That three little hash marks below 100 don't mean 97?
I wait until the dentist comes in to straighten her out in front of her boss.
"We had a little disagreement about reading the thermometer."
I'm friendly about it, but my temperature is not 97 degrees.
Feeling sick makes me put myself first.
On the way to the pharmacy I drive fast, changing lanes a lot, pulling out onto the sidewalk and making pedestrians walk around my car.
When I feel like crap, watch out.
The pharmacist looks at my prescription.
"What kind of name is Eden" she snorts. "Names today! Is that supposed to be male or female?"
I look at her.
"I don't know." I look down. My boobs are right there. "What do I look like?"
"Oh, God, this is for you? I'm so sorry."
She types nervously.
I let her suffer for a minute.
"It will take about two hours to fill this prescription, ma'am, do you want to wait?"
I want to take a nap, bitch.