Monday, May 10, 2010

Masochistically foolish vanity

Moooooooooooooooooooan.  Whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.  Kveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch!

My mouth is killing me today, because I'm even more vain than I might have guessed mere months ago.  All the months of coffee-swilling and curry-cooking during the final push on the dissertation have had a less-than-attractive effect on the coloring of my teeth.  (To say nothing of my increasing predilection for drinking red wine at home as a cardiac restorative.)  I was a little irked to notice that, amid all the celebration on display in the photos of my post-defense party, my teeth are disturbingly yellow.  I was so bothered by the idea that the photographs of me in my doctoral regalia with my family would also feature gnarly-looking teeth that I took drastic action: I had my dentist do a power-whitening session on me today.

There, I admitted it.  An unemployed grad student paid an absurd sum to have his teeth temporarily brightened so he could look a little nicer on Graduation Day.

As if the pain of paying for the procedure weren't enough, almost every tooth in my head hurts right now -- not the gums, but the teeth themselves.  The lower set in particular are throbbing, as though some really terrible sonic frequency were making them resonate.  I was impressed by how painful this would be when the dentist explained that he would write me a prescription for Vicodin.  I was further impressed -- among other sensations -- to discover (about an hour ago) that Vicodin IS NOT FUCKING HELPING ME.  I seriously don't know what the drug is doing right now, but it's certainly not making me any less sensitive.  It's not even zonking me out: look, everybody, here I am, typing away on the computer without generating loads of gibberish! 

Just exhaling hard, for fuck's sake, actually makes my teeth sing with pain.  I'm going to have to think about this for a while, next time I'm inclined to mock someone for getting Botox or a boob job.  It occurred to me in the dentist chair that this isn't even the first time I submitted to cosmetic dentistry: technically, the entire first set of braces I had as a kid were cosmetic, since they were mostly on my baby teeth and wouldn't have much effect on the eventual adult teeth that came in.  (A fact that my family and I even knew at the time.)  I had such snaggly teeth, though, and such a low opinion of myself in general, that I chose to get the braces in an attempt to seem -- if only to myself -- less like a freak.

Plus ça change, I suppose...

So now I'm afraid to try to eat, since fucking breathing is already presenting pain management problems.  While waiting for my scrip, I stocked up on eggs and those little balls of fresh mozzarella, so that I'd have something on hand that didn't really need to be chewed at all.  But good heavens, any kind of contact might send me through the ceiling right now!  I haven't eaten a morsel since breakfast, and I'm just terrified of how it's going to feel when I try to get a little cheese past my teeth.  I'm also frustrated that my damn painkillers aren't working, and they're the kind where you can't just try other stuff.  (If this is all Vicodin does, then I'm stumped as to how my druggie acquaintances make an evening out of it.)  No doubt a glass of tequila right now would induce some collapse leading to hospitalization, even though the Vicodin may as well be placebo on its own.  (Holy fuck, my dentist wouldn't write me a placebo scrip, would he?)

So, looking forward to the next three days: pain, pain, pain.  No coffee.  No red wine.  No dark-colored food of any kind.  (Do you suppose I can freeze the huge mass of curry sitting in my fridge?)  Probably some more pain on top.

Well, good thing I don't have to tutor any students.  Oh, wait: yes, I have tutoring appointments!  I actually made it through a two-hour review session today with only a few moments in which I was in too much pain to speak.  I don't know if I'll have the same, er, luck tomorrow.  

Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooan.  Ow.

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