Monday, April 26, 2010

Wisdom Teeth But No Wisdom

I was having a couple of problems. Rather, one problem compounded by another.  I had two sore wisdom teeth and not enough money to get them taken care of.

A “friend” told me about a guy he knew of, who didn’t charge much for dental work. He was a retired Navy dentist. He wasn’t sure if he still had a license, or if he ever really had one, but he was supposed to do good work. I had to see somebody soon, so I took the guy’s phone number.

I called him to make an appointment and was surprised when he answered the phone himself. He said he could see me later that same day. The address was on Linden Avenue, in downtown Long Beach. “Just walk right in when you get here,” he said. I don’t remember the street address today, but the office number was 37.

I found the address; it was a third floor walk up. The number 37 was stenciled on an otherwise unmarked door, in a lonely hallway lit by a couple of bare light bulbs.

There was no receptionist or dental assistant to greet me. The small dusty waiting room contained only a single wooden chair and another door that apparently led to a back room. I didn’t sit down.

The inside door was opened by a smiling older man. With a single elegant wave of his hand, I was invited in and directed to a dental chair. After we talked for a few moments about my pain, he said he would pull my wisdom teeth for 50 dollars cash, in advance.

The whiskey and cigarettes on his breath and faded bloodstains on his clean white lab coat didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. But my throbbing teeth told me to go through with it and quickly.

He gave me some nasty tasting liquid to drink and several injections that numbed my entire head. Then he pulled all four of my wisdom teeth, one by one. When it was over, he said he couldn’t write me a prescription and gave me a handful of pills to take for pain. “If they don’t help, alcohol will give them a boost,” he said. I took two of them and walked out the door.

Because of heavy traffic, it took me quite a while to drive the 10 miles across town to my house. I drove right past my front door and went to the local bar. With my jaws throbbing and my lips and tongue still totally numb, I ordered something that sounded fairly close to Budweiser.

I tossed a couple more pills in my mouth, picked up my bottle of beer, and split my upper lip wide open trying to take a drink…

21 comments:

TS Hendrik said...

Well this post should give anyone with a fear of dentists a couple of good nightmares. lol

Jhon Baker said...

great story, I've had this kind of pain management with dental work before.
this will make me smile the rest of today - simply great.

On Smash said...

More of a man than I am...hope you got laid after.

Brenda's Arizona said...

Oh my. No wisdom is right! My jaw aches just thinking about it. Did he use pliers???

California Girl said...

sounds like the abortion clinics of old...on the DL.

Pat Tillett said...

Fifty bucks, can you imagine that today? I think it was about 1973 or so, when it happened. For some reason, I still have the teeth!
--------------------
An interesting side note. I read in the paper today that an unlicensed "doctor" who was just charged with manslaughter when a person he had recently done gall bladder surgery on died. It sounds like he has been doing surgery on folks for years. Cheaply...

Ms. Anthropy said...

Now my teeth are hurting and my brain is in panic mode, full of dreadful thoughts. I was already a white knuckle patient and this story does nothing to calm my fears. Glad you survived.

Joe Cap said...

My friend, you are braver than I am...but if they hurt, I guess you gotta do something...

Copyboy said...

Now that is truly the guy's way to get your teeth yanked out!

Alice in Wonderland said...

Wow! You are one brave guy trusting yourself to someone like that.
I hope you had a good mouth-wash incase of any infection!
That makes me wince just reading about it!
Certainly no wisdom! Lol!!!!

KarenG said...

Horrible horrible. I hate all dentists. But especially that one.

Chuck said...

That sounds like one step above trying to pull them yourself...something about desparate times and desparate measures comes to mind, circumstances dictate action. Then drugs.

Ally said...

Man, I hate the dentist. Thanks for the reminder. I have one wisdom tooth left I've been putting off removal for 20 years.

FourthGradeNothing.com

Teeth Whitening Pens said...

Pills and alcohol DO mix?

Pat Tillett said...

Everyone - He knew what he was doing, but I really don't know if he lost his license of what. Pulling one tooth is brutal. Pulling all four in one sitting is barbaric!

Teeth Whitening Pens - GET LOST YOU STUPID SPAMMING BASTARD!!!

Sarah said...

Like Joe said, you are way braver than I am! I would've ran out of there inside the second!:P

Pat Tillett said...

It felt so good to have my mouth numb...or I might have run out!

Megan said...

Sounds almost like a Chandler short. Almost. :)

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

Wow.... I'm not going to go to this guy.... I think I'll spend a little money and go to a certified dentist....

DrSoosie said...

OMG Patrick..I am glad you lived to tell the tale. Next time come see me...I am in downtwon LA and I promise to provide a sterile envionment, clean coat, alcohol free breath and a real prescription. This story is too scary and hilarious at the same time. I actually know of few of these old-timers. I hope everything healed well and the good doc was able to pay his bar tab that night!!!

Pat Tillett said...

DrSoosie - Thanks for reading and commenting. At that time it was really the only option I had. I was very happy that it worked out.
I always wondered how the guy got to that point.