ROOT canal job, and looks serious! said the dentist as he peered into my mouth “Is it going to be expensive?” I asked.
“This could take a few visits,” said the doctor as I saw my bank balance sliding purposefully into his lab coat pocket. “Shall we start today?” he asked and I nodded as he smiled to himself.
As the machine whirred in my mouth I realized that this was one dentists job that could have been avoided.
It was hardly a year ago, that five painful visits to the same dentist and finally the capping of the tooth, had stopped, what I thought permanently the throbbing pain that came with every cup of hot tea or ice-cold beer.
I remembered smiling with relief and thanking him profoundly as he nodded at the hefty check I made out for him.
“Good job doc,” I had said and knew that he was already laughing his way to the bank with my hard earned money.
And then one day, there was an extra crunching sound as I ate. It was same cap. “The capping came off!” I shouted over the phone. “
No problem,” came his reply over the sound of the drill, “Come over tomorrow and I’ll fix it!” I didn’t go that week, that month, and not for another six months.
Now as the machine whirred in my mouth, I realize that this is one whirring that could have been avoided.
How easy it would have been six months ago, to have walked over to his clinic, tooth cap in hand, and seen a look of dismay on his face, “You actually came immediately?” “Yes doc, I did!” “Well if everybody was like you we dentists would go out of business!”
But I didn’t go, and now I see the unmistakable tightening of his jaw, the gleam in his eye, and of course that unnerving quivering of his nose, as his drill bit jumps up and down my tooth, uncovering, exposing six months of laziness, callousness and irresponsibility on my part.
“I hope you brought your check book with you?” he asks and I sigh as I see my vacation disappearing with every whirr of the drill.
“Your machine speaks when it drills!” I tell him wearily as I write out the check. “Yeah and what did it tell you?” “A stitch in time saves nine!” I say and see the unnerving quivering of his nose as he looks at the check and nods his head at me with a gleeful smile. Never wait till the last moment.