A few miles from the scene above we bagged a dentist at the bottom of a canyon. He’s been there for almost forty years, across the road from a mountain with a cross on top.
We had to divorce our old dentist after fourteen years. It was surprisingly difficult for me, although my wife was hot to bolt. I loved my hygienist and hated to leave; after all, your hygienist is the true face of the operation as the one you see most often. But whenever she had to summon the boss to check an x-ray or look at a tooth, I’d hear the shark theme from “Jaws” and my guts would turn ice-cold…
[Daa-DUM, daa-DUM, daa-DUM]
Less like a patient, more like prey.
I’m very fixed and loyal, though, and stuck it out. Also maybe scared to change: the devil you know, etc. Besides, sometimes I’d get away without another root canal and crown, and these little triumphs kept me going. My wife would get her teeth cleaned and nothing ever seemed to happen. I’d curse my luck and sob and dump another couple thousand on the Visa card. The money was outrageous. Not that I didn’t need the work, but it makes you wonder, and there were mistakes. And then my honey drew the short straw—and she decided she’d had enough. Primal fear about the cost, but more the lack of empathy. We had to take control. She also needed treatment right away.
A friend who doesn’t live here now remembered being saved once by an unnamed dentist down the road, but no one I knew had a clue. I searched the Internet—it took a while—and came up with a photo. Identity confirmed! Thirty minutes away, but we got an appointment and checked him out. You get there by plunging deep into the canyon of the Rio Grande, a thrilling, gorgeous ride. It’s a different world at this guy’s place, all calm and competent and human. (He gave my wife a root canal today and changed to classical music for the pianist in his chair.) We’ll pay about a third less, too, but you know what?
We busted out. Now this will set the tone.