This is what is known as a “venting” post.

My wife says virtually all of the things I am about to vent about were preventable, and I don’t disagree, but it still doesn’t make them any less maddening.

TUESDAY:  right before I started taping an interview on National Public Radio, I began feeling a pain in my jaw.  I’m no stranger to tooth problems and have put off needed dental work (that’s the preventable part), so I was wary, but fortunately it subsided just long enough for me to do the hour-long interview before coming back with fury. By the next day, it was an intense pain.  Toothache pain is awful.  I keep thinking that the pain itself wouldn’t be so bad if it were in, say, the leg or shoulder.  But when you put that pain right in your face it really is like living with a pounding mallet in your skull.  Anyone else out there have some bad toothache experiences to share?

  WEDNESDAY: After trying to flood my system with OTC painkillers I succumbed to the inevitable and realized I probably had an abscess and needed to get into my dentist or doctor’s office.  I guess if you get sick during the afternoon in my hometown, you’re essentially out of luck.  You’re on your own.  You need to plan for sudden sicknesses or maladies days or weeks in advance.  After calling a dozen doctor’s offices and being told that I couldn’t get in today (one office offered to schedule me an appointment in  3 WEEKS…long after, I’m sure, the abscess had spread and I’d be dead).  There is, however, an “urgent care”  walk-in facility in our town. So after exhausting all other options, I went to that health court of last resort. After waiting 90 minutes in their “customer welcoming area”, I was told that the patient in “Room 3” had slashed his hand butchering meat (so much for HIPPA) and that he was a priority so it could be another 90 minutes of waiting.  Not sure why if he had a sliced-like-roast beef hand that he was there instead of the hospital….but oh well. So I left vowing to come back in the evening when it might be less busy.  On my return visit – the mallet still pounding in my jaw – I was  armed with my laptop. At least I could pass the endless waiting time surfing the internet.  No wireless at the Urgent Care but I was able to poach a signal from a nearby Bob Evans.  Thank heavens for sausage.

After another hour of waiting I was finally ushered into see the doctor.  He was a grumpy, elderly man who shuffled around with the aid of two canes.  After looking in my mouth for about 2 seconds and mumbling something under his breath, he prescribed me some antibiotics and pain medicine.  Relief. Finally.

I decided to use the men’s room before leaving.  As I entered the closet-sized facility I was juggling my laptop and cell phone and I hear a sickening splash as my phone does a graceful dive into the open toilet.   I’m even more sickened as I see the sign above the toilet “patient drug screening in progress: do not flush”, so I look down and see my beloved Blackberry swimming in lemon-colored water.  I hold my nose, reach in, and then spend 10 minutes washing and sterilizing my hand. But my phone was irreversibly damaged and someone’s urine sample might have come back contaminated with flecks of phone.

That night after battling writhing pain – the antibiotics hadn’t kicked in yet – I decided to get up in the night and just lay on the sofa downstairs. Perhaps a 2 a.m. change of scenery would do me good.  In a medication and sleep-filled stupor I set my glasses on the sofa in the dark and somehow in my throbbing pain  rolled onto them. The sickening snap told me all I needed to know.

THURSDAY: Morning light revealed broken glasses.  My 1 year old nephew loves to grab glasses and at his birthday party in March, he snatched them off my face and and flung them onto a concrete floor which snapped them the first time.  A little super glue later, though, and they were good as new (the super glue wasn’t enough to withstand being slept upon, though). The tally of victims was growing: teeth, cell phone, and now my glasses.

On Thursday, since I couldn’t see well and was still battling the tooth pain, my mother agreed to accompany me on a trip to Dayton to get new glasses (my wife was away at work).   It was one of these eye mart optical places that always promise glasses in “about an hour.”  But the “about” is open to very liberal interpretation. I’ve learned that they consider 3 hours “about” an hour. Not wanting to wait around for 3 hours for my new glasses, Mom and I drove home and she wonderfully volunteered to go get them for me when they were ready in the evening.    So, fast-forward 3 hours later…I excitedly open my glasses case for my new specs and….I can’t see.  It’s like looking through the bottom of a thick glass Coke bottle. What the??  I call Mom and ask if she had received any paperwork with the glasses.  Turns out they had filled the prescription for the wrong Kevin L. Williams.  SIGH, common names will get you every time.  This is a post for another day, but with my common moniker I’ve been confused with everyone from drunk drivers and hit-skip perpetrators. Sometimes I wish maybe I had been named Raisin or Squish or Cheer, I bet if my name were Cheer Williams there’d only be one of those in the eye mart’s database.

FRIDAY:  Tooth pain is gone so the antibiotics must be doing their thing. But I still can’t see. So today I blindly drive back to the eye mart to have them correct their mistake.

“Your not Kevin L. Williams on Horsley Drive?”

“No, I’m Kevin L. Williams on….”


I glare.

“Uh…we’ll get you fixed right up, I apologize for the error. Feel free to have some complimentary coffee while you wait,” the manager says.

The eye mart has me waiting another 90 minutes for them to redo my glasses (they cut the “about” an hour in half since they screwed up).  But after 90 minutes of waiting the assistant manager comes out and gravely informs me:

“Mr. Williams…there’s been a slight problem.”

I stare at him.

“The left lens was filled for the wrong Kevin Williams, but they got the right lens right.  We’ll have this fixed in about 20 minutes.”

So it’s Friday evening and I can finally see again, my phone is fixed, and my tooth pain is a memory.  But I ‘m so glad for the arrival of a 3 day weekend….