Saturday, March 10, 2012

I need a what?!?!

If there is one thing I am more afraid of than spiders, it is the dentist.  And, as luck would have it, early last week I found myself wide awake at 3 am, in excruciating pain, in a guesthouse in Iringa, Tanzania.  Looking back on it, it is sort of funny.  I had pretty much convinced myself that I had the worst migraine imaginable that was radiating pain through the right side of my face, my eye and my jaw.  Truthfully, it was sort of like the time I fell face first on the ice, held my hand over my bloody smashed in teeth and told my mom I didn’t have to go to the hospital because it was only a broken nose.  Apparently, I will subconsciously recreate any ailment in order to avoid a trip to the dentist.

My denial lasted a few days and then last Friday night I woke up with pain that was undeniably only in my tooth.  So this past Tuesday, I started my two day journey to Dar es Salaam to find a dentist.  I was able to meet up with four of my friends from Zanzibar and for a couple of days we hung out, played cards, caught up, cooked fajitas, enjoyed a few drinks and ate at great restaurants.  It was a much appreciated mini-vacation.  Then, Friday morning, I found myself rolling through the traffic jams in downtown Dar in a bijaji, chattin’ it up in Swahili with my driver, heading in to the dentist to get a filling.  In Africa.  To be honest, I was pretty proud of myself for just stepping up and figuring out where to go and how to get there all by myself.  Unfortunately, by the time I got to the dentist’s office the excitement of my adventure had worn off and in its place was a nauseating feeling of fear. 

My fear quickly turned into downright panic when the dentist informed me that a filling wouldn't do it.  I would need a root canal.  And, of course, not just any root canal, but a triple root canal.  Apparently my tooth had three canals that had to be drilled out and the process would take two days.  Fun.

It’s been exactly 24 hours since day one of my root canal and I’m doing surprisingly well.  Somehow, in a third world country, I found a really smart, extremely kind dentist who reassured me he would do everything he could to make sure I was comfortable.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have the headphones I asked for to block out the drilling sound!  Aside from that, he held true to his word.  He was great.  I clenched my trembling hands together, did my best to think about anything other than what was going on in my mouth, and in thirty minutes it was over.  The pain hasn’t been too bad and by next Tuesday I’ll be ready to head back to Dr. Shabbir, my new favorite dentist at SD Dental Clinic for round two.

In the meantime, I plan to enjoy my time in the city and take advantage of the little luxuries like movie theaters, Subway, pedicures, ice cream, high pressure showers and digital TV. 

One hour after my root canal - on the way to the U.S. Embassy


  1. Wow! Compared to my last root canal yours sounds like a trip to an amusement park. My own experience was awful as far as after effects and took forever to heal. Well, and ultimately had to be pulled anyway because it had a hairline crack that NO ONE could see? C'mon! I'm paying a bazillion dollars for xrays and you can't see a crack? Okay- I am NOT doing any butt jokes here....

    I am glad it is fixed for you. I can't imagine having a toothache that long with no relief though. How miserable. When you get back to the states you need to go to Bob Wagner. He is a wonderful dentist although he does not do root canals. He is gentle and sweet and easy on the eyes, too.

    I am off to a school fundraiser tonight for the three girls (Smarty, Sweety & Sassy). I am selling tickets or some such. Ryan and Amy are going, too. Ryan is a good hawker and I'm sure he will sell the boxes in no time flat.

    I am glad you were able to get a bit of relaxation in with your trip to the dentist. It gives you a whole re-charge, doesn't it? I need a weekend away, too, I think.

    BTW-Thank you for the post made me smile right out loud! Take good care-love and blessings to you- Diana

  2. Well after seeing this post, I have been reassured that you are in-fact doing just fine. And, it wasn't what you wrote. It was the fact that in all the dust, sickness, root canals in a 3rd world Country, unbearable living conditions, a hole in the floor for a toilet you SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY managed to squeeze into hot pink peep toe shoes. You are just fine. xoxo