5 Life Lessons 2022 is a series of five posts that will appear over the next couple months on http://www.QuietEndeavours.com. I hope you’ll want to follow along. Consider subscribing to receive new content in your inbox.
Today’s post begins with a question I never thought I’d ask or have the answer to. It goes like this, is it possible to break a tooth on a Panera sandwich?
The answer is, yes.
I know, because I’ve done it.
Now, it was no fault of the sandwich. It was crafted with care on the softest sourdough imaginable. The tooth was just waiting for a moment. The moment it chose was the middle of a workday. I had planned to eat this Sandwich Of Fate in my car on my break as I waited for a scheduled phone call from my primary care physician.
I bit down into the sandwich and heard a snap. It was one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard. I think my heart fell in my chest with grief while simultaneously beating at 50mph out of fear. My tooth – a front one – fell into my hand. And then the phone rang.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing,” the doctor replied, as I explained why I was lisping as I spoke. Yeah, neither had I. I think this is when I silently swore and my soul began to weep. Seriously? Haven’t I had enough dental for one year? 2021 had begun with a root canal in January – which had pretty much wiped out any remaining insurance for the rest of the year. It was now Autumn. Any major work would need to wait months.
The front tooth had broken at the gum line. (I’ve never been so glad to be in an era where wearing face masks is accepted.) I’ve always been self-conscious of my poor teeth, growing up in a family that couldn’t afford braces – and now I had another reason to be more so.
I drove to my dentist with dread. I’d never been exactly keen on this office. I had found it in 2020 when I had cracked a tooth. It was hard to get an appointment in those early days after the pandemic shut everything down. The waiting room was so crowded, even with social distancing, that the fish swimming in a tank designed to keep the customers calm – looked stressed, too. It never got any better into the following year.
And the fish vanished.
Over the next several months while going to one appointment after another in this office, over this one tooth, I was becoming uneasy. There was a nagging voice growing inside of me that said something wasn’t right. My questions were getting fluffed over, and I was being billed hundreds of dollars for surprise reasons not on the original estimate that were presented to me the moment I walked in the door under different expectations. Communication between the dentist and administrative staff was non-existent. Instructions were contradictory. I began to fear that I would spend thousands of dollars and come out looking like the children’s book character, Nanny McPhee. (And I’m talking about the beginning of the book before her magical transformation.)
Days away from having an implant drilled into my head, I tested positive for Covid. I was now in quarantine. Part of me had just wanted to get the surgery over with, considering the time that had passed since the ordeal had begun. Another delay was frustrating! But solitude had given me time to think about what was important to me.
The nagging voice was pretty loud at this point.
I found another dentist through recommendations from a friend, and called to cancel the other appointment, asking that my records be transferred. When asked (a bit aggressively) by the receptionist about why I was leaving, I simply told her as politely as possible that I’d lost confidence in their office. They were rude. Then, she tried to convince me to reconsider.
Um, thanks, no thanks. Moving on.
I hung up and felt an instant, extraordinary sense of relief and calm.
Fast forward to today. I’m sitting here typing this as I heal from the implant procedure. The new dentist I’d found had taken one look at me and voiced my concerns without me needing to say a word and then sent me to a specialist. This specialist had ten years experience doing only implants. The appointment was quick, painless, and the staff, pleasant. I have the utmost confidence that everything is now going to be okay in the end. It’s been a year of dental stress, (should I call it my “gap year?”) but the next four months to get to the finish line will go by quickly and this story will end in the best possible way.
So, this brings me to the second lesson 2022 has taught me:
FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT AND LISTEN TO THAT INNER VOICE WHEN SOMETHING DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT.
Don’t let people try to sway you from doing what you need to do to look and feel better in your life. Surround yourself by professionals who truly care about your health and well-being. Get rid of any unnecessary stress in the process. Be persistent with your questions.
You know you best and what you need to live your best life.
Lesson two. Learned.
Miss the post with lesson one? Click below to go right to it:
5 Lessons 2022 Insisted I learn: Lesson 1 of 5
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