Because maybe you’re wondering, Garry had two extractions today. It was supposed to be one, but it turned out to be two and the $200 turned into slightly more than $500. CareCredit, we’re back!

We went to our dentist’s office and the specialist who had come in for the extraction didn’t feel comfortable doing it.

So they called another oral surgery and we drove 50 miles to the edge of Boston metro-west. It turned out the tooth adjacent to the tooth that was rotten was brown and falling apart. Even with a filling, it would maybe — with good luck — last a year and then fall apart.

A falling apart tooth is not a tidy event like an extraction. It crumbles or shatters and can take months for all the shards to finally work their way out of the gum. Not fun.

So I said “You should pull it. It’s dying anyway, so let’s get it done before it becomes even more complicated.” Garry agreed. You can’t see it anyway. It’s on the side, so his lovely smile will not be ruined.

Even with a triple whammy shot of Novocain, it still hurt. The abscess was sitting on a nerve and no amount of local anesthetic was going to entirely numb it. He was trying to be very Marine Corp about it, but this was one of these “mind-over-matter doesn’t always work” events.

We’re back home. Our faithless GPS sent us home by “the short route” which takes twice as long as the “longer” way and sends you through every one-lane town. It was nice to see the trees changing. It would have been nicer had it not been raining.

Tomorrow, it’s me and the Pacemaker specialist for much of the day.

Meanwhile, while we were trekking the slow roads of Massachusetts, Owen was removing trash from the house — including that big box that had my writing in it. I guess I’m not going to find that script fo “Fall of Sauron Day.” Oh well. At least the basement is empty. We’ve got two dehumidifiers running, trying to get the dampness out. It has been a wet year.

Garry should be okay now. He’s on the equivalent of baby food for the next few days. And ice packs. He can have cold drinks, but nothing hot. No citrus — lemonade, OJ, or grapefruit juice is too acidic — but other stuff is okay.

Maybe it won’t rain all day tomorrow and maybe we won’t be at the doctor’s office all day so I can get a few pictures. It is ironic that Garry, the most dedicated tooth cleaner anywhere, is the one with problems. Not to worry. My turn will come again.


John Corcoran, Jr.
to Garry, me

Garry and Marilyn,

Total empathy. Been there, done that. My most memorable dental experience is so seared into my brain I remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, it was about 50 years ago. I was a wee pup — well a USAF second lieutenant.

One of the benefits of being in the service is if you get a horrific toothache, the military would cheerfully provide you with a dentist to extract it, or if one wasn’t handy, a civil engineer.

I had what is known as an “impacted wisdom tooth with a side of abscess.” My “dentist” received his training at the Ghengis Khan University of Dentistry and Yard Work.

He loaded me up with a few Novocain shots, then grabbed his ball-peen hammer and a set of clamp-nose pliers and immediately set to work. As soon as he began, I commented: “Aiiiiyeeeee.”

Since many metal implements, his fat mitts, and at least one of his feet were in my mouth at the time, he interpreted my screams to mean “Please continue.” My follow up shouts of pain and agony eventually got him to stop. He then brought out a new tray full of Novocain-filled syringes and unloaded them into my pie-hole.

“That should do yuh,” he said. It didn’t.

After a few seconds to let it soak in, he resumed pulling and I resumed shouting in agony. It didn’t help that the roots of my wisdom tooth went very deep. My orthopedist later estimated they ended up just below my femur.

Here’s the deal. I learned afterword, from another dentist, that they should first clear up the abscess with antibiotics — this may take a few days — and then yank the offending pearly. My uncivil engineer didn’t do that obviously, and it was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt. And I have gout.

The second dentist told me the abscess likely neutralized the Novocain (I’d had about ten shots) and I essentially had a tooth extracted without a working anesthetic. There was only one upside. Perhaps filled with guilt, my torturer wrote me a prescription for a big, big bottle of codeine-based pain-killers. I finished the last one Tuesday.

So, Garry, I hope you got the good stuff, and you’ll be all better soon. And Marilyn, thanks for a lovely piece.




Cork, shame on you. You got me (and) Marilyn laughing. Laughter isn’t the r/x here tonight. Not for me, at least.

I wore my USMC sweatshirt today so that made me very “special”. As the road gang worked on my mouth, one of them said: “He’s tough. He can take it.” I guess they were deaf and didn’t hear my screams. They didn’t see my legs flopping up and down.

I must confess they gave me 3 local shots to calm me down. I could feel them chipping at the dead tooth atop the abscessed tooth. It sounded like Dragline and the boys keeping the man with no eyes happy.

I kept waiting for Strother Martin to come in and tell me there was a failure to communicate. Of course, there was. I sounded like Boraxo’s Old Ranger from Death Valley days. One of the winsome aides kept stroking my arm as if that would make it all go away. She looked like Flora Robson so no luck there.

I must admit my GP (Sam Jaffe) gave me antibiotics last week to make things easier. Helped some, I admit, but not nearly enough. I tried to mentally escape but it was no go. I couldn’t conjure up a suitable fantasy.

I kept hearing them jack-hammering inside my mouth. I shudda taken off my cochlear implant and my hearing aid. I could HEAR everything they were saying, including “This is a tougher job than expected.”I guess I postponed the happy-hour for the dentist and his aides.

When the deed was finally done, dead tooth removed and abscess cleaned out, I remained hazy and woozy as in days of old when we conferenced at the local pub.

Sure enough, as I Walter Brennaned my way out of the room, one of the older aides smiled and said, “It was a pleasure. I grew up watching you on TV.”

That’s a wrap.

Vince Edwards


    • Garry and I go to doctors in convoy, especially in case one of us misses something important. I’ve had I think three abscesses. One wasn’t too bad, but the other two were really bad. I was ready to pull them out myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Mr. Swiss sends his sympathies. His tooth also just fell out and only the day before yesterday was the final treatment. Removal of the remains, with some other work on the neighbouring teeth. His teeth are also crumbling away.


    • I think our teeth just wear out over the years. I don’t think we were supposed to live this long, but if we ARE going to keep living, we need sturdier teeth! One of Garry’s teeth had literally fallen apart, so that one came out. And the abscessed on was abscessed right on the root (ouch). But it’s over, mostly. One more tooth to glue together. For now, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t even think about teeth. I had a horrible past with dentists at a very young age. I don’t like going, but I’m not scared anymore.., especially when I read about methods in the past where there was no anesthetic.


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