two person vicodin party
Thursday, November 3 2005
I went to the office of an endodontist in Kingston this morning for a somewhat-procrastinated root canal. As far as I could tell, the only thing not to like about this particular endodontist was a signed picture of Rudy Giuliani in his waiting room. When you're sitting around waiting to have a root canal, there are only a few people who I'd be less happier seeing. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, would have put my mind more at ease.
At first the endodontist suggested I just get the infected tooth pulled out, since it's just one of my wisdom teeth. Perhaps to provide some indication about what is and what is not cool, both he and his assistant said they'd had their wisdom teeth yanked out long ago. It was nice of him to offer this advice, considering root canals are his bread and butter. But to me, my wisdom teeth are just teeth like any others. To accept that they are in some way different and less worthy would be to buy into a mindset that leads people to driver Hummers, eat white bread, and flush every time they go pee. I wasn't going to do that. This tooth was part of team Me and I wasn't done with it yet. I told homeslice to get on with the root canal.
For some reason the audio (but no video) of CNN was what issued from the operating room speakers in lieu of relaxing music. As for the root canal itself, it went amazingly quickly, a point emphasized by the fact that I had to piss very badly through most of it.
After it was over endodontist commented that the reason it went so quickly was that I have the ability to open my mouth unusually wide. Perhaps I should enter a hotdog eating contest.
The endodontist wrote me two prescriptions: one for a course of antibiotics and the other, just in case I needed it, for vicodin. A prescription for vicodin is a very valuable thing to all but the most ascetic of saints, so I was sure to cash that puppy in, especially considering that most of it was paid for by our half-assed insurance.
Even after the Novacaine wore off, my root canal was mostly painless and I didn't require any pain relievers for comfort. This meant that my bottle of vicodin would now serve an entirely recreational purpose.
The day was a good bit warmer than yesterday and I found myself working in my shirtsleaves out in the garage. I turned off a couple circuits so I could remove wires passing through a laboratory floor joist that needed a sister, the last sistering I would do on the entire solar project. I'd discovered a series of episodes of This American Life from 2001 that I'd somehow overlooked and these provided the soundtrack for my work.
The sharing of opioid pain medication is a time-honored Gen-X ritual, so this evening Gretchen and I had a little vicodin party for two. While waiting for it to kick in, we watched Tivo'd episodes of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. That latter one is a new show, and with the first one or two episodes we'd thought it was rather weak. But over time we've come to like it. To prepare your mind to have an appreciation of it, you first must understand how it differs from The Daily Show, to which it is inevitably compared. In The Daily Show, the anchor Jon Stewart is a proxy for us, the enlightened viewers hoping to see through the madness of news in a post-reality universe. Stephen Colbert in The Colbert Report is something entirely different. He is fully in-character and the character he plays is that of a self-obsessed pundit in the mold of Bill O'Reilly et al. Slathered with patriotic trimmings, and talking incessantly (in that casually Orwellian way common today) about truth, he mocks all the blowharditry that fills the blank spots in the news cycle. Once you realize this, it's hilarious.
Later Gretchen played me some old videotapes recorded during her days as a union organizer and as a spokeswoman for an entity called Women's Rights At Work. She'd been on CNBC, New York One, and a few other things. Since some of these tapes were made in the mid-1990s, we were on the lookout for bad hair decisions and the position of her teeth. A gap between her two top front teeth appeared to be bigger back then; recently that space has closed while a another one off to the side has grown wider, much like the Atlantic Ocean with respect to the Pacific due to the effects of continental drift.
I didn't get to the peak of the vicodin experience until a half hour before bed. I have to say, I didn't find it particularly enjoyable. If anything, it made me feel anxious a little nauseated. Gretchen, on the other hand, was having a great time and, as she said, "feeling no pain." Chalk it up as more supporting evidence for the idea that body chemistry varies widely.
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