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They say that sooner or later it all catches up to us. What they don’t tell us is that it’s because we are moving slower.

I had a dental check-up today. I don’t dare complain about fillings, needles, drills, or any of the horrible things that are synonymous with dentists. My DH has a dozen crowns and has endured 3 root canals. He’s logged enough time in the dental chair to pay for a summer cabin. Maybe he has.

It’s like the time he first needed glasses to pass the eye exam at the DMV. He looked at me and said he wanted eye surgery. Having been near-sighted since the third grade, I nearly slugged him.

Now we have an unspoken understanding. He doesn’t complain about his vision and I don’t complain about dentists.

Still the writing is on the wall. I passed the first twenty years of life with one measly cavity. Sorry folks, but it’s the genes. However, since then, there has been an erratic, but unmistakably determined, trend to make up for it. Mylast exam had been awhile ago, and I approached the chair today with trepidation.

“How are you doing?” the dentist asked with feigned interest.

“Paranoid.”

He didn’t expect that. “Paranoid?” Could you whisper that mam?

“I’m worried about decay since I’ve reached that age where decay seems to occur all over as a general rule.”

He seemed flustered with where the conversation had gone. “And what age is that?” He doesn’t remember there are some questions you DON’T ask a woman. But I don’t mind. I’m learning to live with it. Besides I sort of set him up.

“I recently reached my half century mark.”

“Fifty! You’re fifty!”

I guess the next five minutes of compliments were meant to take the sting out of the final bill. But I ate them up anyway.

So after the x-rays and the exam, the good news was—no decay. At least not this time. And it cost me five minutes and more than $70 to hear that. For that price, I should have recorded his comment about no wrinkles to play over again later. Of course I was lying on my back and everything had sagged toward my ears. . .

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