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March 15, 2000

I woke up in such pain this morning that I knew I had to do something about it. But the Boss could tell I was in pain, and he took matters into his own hands.

I've had a minor toothache since Sunday night. It turned into a major problem some time during the day yesterday, and last night I doped myself up with Tylenol PM just to try to make it through till morning. That worked, but when I woke up I could hardly move without pain shooting through my jaw, such an excruciating level of pain that I couldn't ignore it as I usually do.

Most of the time, when I have a physical problem, my course of action is to wait for it to go away. And that works almost every time. I've had toothaches before, and when they hang on for too long they're the worst kind of pain I know. But in the past they've always disappeared after two or three days. I was sure when this started that it would be something I could deal with until it was gone.

Yesterday when it started getting worse, I chalked it up to the early spring weather, and the way my whole head was reacting to it. I had a high level of sinus drainage, and the problem in the back of my mouth just seemed part of that situation. But when I woke up with the sensation that an electric ice pick was being drilled into the side of my head, I was determined to do something drastic.

Fortunately, before I had to decide what to do, the Boss called, and the first thing he said after I answered was, "What's wrong?" So I told him, and he said, "Hang up. I'm going to call my dentist."

Before I knew what had happened I was sitting in the dentist's office filling out their form. Then I had X-rays, and the doc came in and shot me full of numbness. While he was waiting for that to take effect, he probed around and found what other work was needed, and then he just reached in and yanked the offending tooth out. I felt nothing.

I felt nothing, that is, until I got home and the anesthetic started wearing off. Together with a sore throat from sinus drainage, I was for a while feeling almost as miserable as I had first thing this morning. But a couple of Advil and a three-hour nap took care of that. Tonight I'm sore, but no longer in pain. I'm worn out from the trauma of it all, but grateful that the right circumstances were there for this to be taken care of so quickly. Not completely painlessly, but quickly.

So nothing much got done today in the way of work. It just kept piling upon the corner of my desk, until I had to make a separate stack for the stuff I want to get to first thing tomorrow, and the other items that can wait if necessary. I did get to some of it tonight, even though I promised Mom and Suzanne I wouldn't. I feel better for having accomplished something today, but I need to be more productive tomorrow.

It's unusual for me to sleep in the middle of the day. Sometimes I can fall asleep for an hour or so in the evening, but only after missing most of the previous night's sleep. That didn't happen last night, and thanks to the drugs I had the best night of sleep in weeks. At one point I thought that if I could just lie back down in bed and stay there all day, I wouldn't have to have the tooth taken care of. That's the coward's way out, and it's ordinarily my way out. When confronted with a set of options, I generally take the one that requires the least effort out of me, and then hope for the best. Fate had a different plan for me this time, I guess.

I'm grateful for the people who care about me enough to worry, and try to help. That gratitude doesn't often go beyond the family, but I have to give credit to the Boss for knowing how hard it would be on me to call a dentist on my own. He also knew he was probably going to lose a whole day's work out of me, but in the long run this should pay off for both of us.

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