Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weaknesses of the Flesh

I have an irrational fear of inconveniencing doctors. I worry about taking time out of their day, sucking up resources that would be better spent on more deserving people, and being caught fretting over a trivial ailment. Unless I have arterial blood shooting out of my neck, I treat my illnesses by surfing WebMD and waiting for the pain to pass. Consequently, I tend to suffer diseases longer than necessary, and they occasionally get worse before I do anything about it.

Several years ago, I had my wisdom teeth removed. The molar furthest to the back on the right side had to be cracked and then dug out of my mouth in pieces with a knife. As my mouth recovered I felt a recurring irritation, but chose to ignore it rather than revisit my dentist. Three weeks later, I pulled out of my mouth a leftover chip of the tooth that had been removed. The chip had remained stuck in the place where my tooth had been. The gum, instead of completely healing over the wound, healed around that chip. Now gone, the chip left a gaping hole in my gum. Since then, small bits of food -- such as two grains of rice -- occasionally get trapped in that hole, and I have to fish them out with the pointed tip of a chopstick or a bent paper clip.

I consulted with two dentists about the hole in my mouth. Both have informed me that the hole must be filled and can only be filled by cutting healthy gum from elsewhere in my mouth and grafting it over the hole. Each dentist assured me that the surgery would be painful, take over several hours, require weeks to fully heal, and cost approximately $1500. I have yet to do anything about it.


  1. Maybe we'll find Jimmy Hoffa in that hole?

  2. Seriously. I should carry an extra key around in there or maybe some loose change. It's like how squirrels carry nuts.