25 April 2007

Root Canal

by Phil Johnson

his morning epitomized my whole week. I had an emergency root canal.

The dentist who worked on me is a root-canal specialist who only works alternate Wednesdays and Mondays. He told me it was "lucky" I got in today, because the tooth had a very long, narrow, and partly calcified nerve sheath (he surely meant before the procedure; not after), so it was an extremely difficult procedure, and he was pretty sure my regular dentist would have had a hard time completing it.

Then he grinned at me and looked for all the world like that Nazi dentist in The Marathon Man.

Root canals sound a lot worse than they really are. They are more tedious than truly painful. There are lots more painful dental procedures. I once had two root canals in one appointment, and I think I've had five (averaging one per decade) in my lifetime. What really hurts is the bill for the crown you have to get afterward.

But the root canal itself can actually be something of a relief. It destroys the nerve, so that classic, bone-jarring toothache pain is suddenly gone. (Your whole face will ache for days from having your jaw jacked open for two hours, but that's not as bad as the toothache that made the root canal necessary in the first place. Seriously. Trust me.)

Anyway, after the root canal, whilst standing at the receptionist's desk trying to book a follow-up appointment, I realized my phone wasn't properly syncing my appointments and contacts list. I knew I had an appointment I needed to get to the office for, and a couple of impromptu meetings before that. But I also had to get the phone syncing properly today, because Friday I'm leaving for my annual stint teaching systematic theology in Sicily (8 hours a day for five days straight), and the phone will be my lifeline.

Thanks to Bill Fickett, who spent a couple of hours working on the syncing problems and finally had to make a trip to the phone store to get my SIM card replaced, the phone is now working again. But by the time I got away from the office this afternoon I had accomplished very little else.

And I have an important writing deadline to meet before I can leave for Italy.

And tonight my jaw really aches from this morning's root canal.

That's why this is will be last blogpost for the week. I'm writing mainly to put Dan and Frank on notice that they will be responsible for this weekend's Dose o' Spurgeon®—and to ask everyone to behave for the next few days. I'll prolly check in from Sicily a time or two next week. See you from there.

Phil's signature


Even So... said...

Prayers for your trip, much fruit for the glory of the Lord...

James Scott Bell said...

Sicily? Offer them a system they can't refuse.

(Isn't that the very definition of, er, Calvinism?)


wordsmith said...

You are light years ahead of me in the root canal tally, Phil - not that I envy you, or anything like that. I will be perfectly content to let you capture that crown (pun unintended, but it does work out nicely anyhow).

Bet my dentist is way cooler than yours, though.

Now show off those pearly whites - after all, they cost a small fortune :)

Ebeth said...

Re the dental visit--I feel your pain in both mouth and wallet.

OK, my mouth, Garry's wallet.

We'll be holding you up in our prayers as you travel and teach.

Doug McMasters said...


Blessings on the trip. Coming through London at all, even if for a layover? Would love to see you.


JackW said...

That looks like it's south of Cantania and north of the base? ... I spent a week there years ago ... very nice!

Al said...

Sicily... cool.

When I was active duty I spent many a week in Sigonella, Sicily. Got to fly over Etna once when it was erupting. It was a clear night and you could see the lava flowing down the side of the mountain. Truly lovely.

I am sure that the loveliness would be tempered a bit if you were looking up at the lava instead of down at it.

Have a safe trip.

al sends

Kim said...

Oh yuck. Any kind of dental work leaves me feeling very unwell.

I'll be praying for you and Darlene as you set out this week.

DJP said...

I've always thought it was such a compliment that someone thinks enough of your personal contribution that he pays for you to come in person and give it. What a great opportunity. And what fun! God bless your labors there.

steve said...

The world is now on alert that you are about to travel abroad.

May your time of ministry abound with blessings!

FX Turk said...

I hope when I'm old and semi-retired, I can travel the world bringing natural disasters just like Phil.

Solameanie said...

Jeepers, Phil! Right in the path of the smoke plume from Mt. Etna. While the smell of sulfur might be an effective backdrop for a lesson on Hell, I don't think I'd really want to be downwind from an active volcano.

Why not do seminars on Stromboli and Vesuvius also? Somehow it fits with the overall theme of being a Pyromaniac. You can begin at Mt. St. Helens for the American leg of the Volcanic Tour '07.

Rich said...

Know that pain Phil.

Had a tooth ready to explode while in LA. Went all the way to Visalia to have it worked on. The dentist started and blood spewed out as soon as he drilled through my crown. Yes, it was a RC in a crowned tooth – long story.

It was too complicated and he could not finish. I was looking at a return trip to Valencia with a partial root canal and novacaine that lasted only 1/2 the trip.

In God's good grace an endodontist friend of the dent. in Visalia saw me and completed the procedure in 30 minutes. Both were friends of TMS - God was very gracious and I am very thankful for those two men.

Funniest part was waiting in the endo office with a mouth fully of gauze and a fair amount of blood. A guy comes in, looks at me and turns white. Asks the receptionist if the doctor sends all the patients out to the waiting room during root canals.

I was on orders to eat only milk shakes for two days to help with the swelling. Nothing like telling the family that, “The doctor is making us eat at In-N-Out kids!”

Looking forward to FIRE.

Product Person said...

Travel save - make sure you post some pictures so we can live vicariously through your travels.

Yeah, as for the 'relief' by killing the nerve - true - but then does that make us insensitive in a sense?

Bobby Grow said...

I'm waiting in the wings, with a tooth-ache as I type this, I'm supposed to go in for a root-canal next tuesday, although there's a small chance I can avoid the canal . . . but unfortunately either way I'll be paying for a crown--so I'm right there with you, except I'll be in Vancouver, WA, not Sicily have a great trip.

Stefan Ewing said...

There are are Protestants even in Italy!? Wow. May the Lord bless you in your travels and teachings.

Unknown said...

Hope you had a great time in Italy!

Haven't seen a post to this thread in a while.

Not to sound like a Geico commercial but, you could have saved a lot of money on your root canal by getting a dental plan (not insurance). For under 100 bucks a year you could expect to save $300-$400 on your root canal. See http://www.dental-finder.com/rootcanalcost.shtml for details.