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Travel Nightmare, 2

Well, okay, it wasn’t really a travel nightmare, but it wasn’t such a great experience either, and my last post was called Travel Nightmare, so this seems like as good a title as any for this one.

That last post described the start of our trip to New York early last Saturday morning. This one is about our return trip Tuesday night. We were on an 8:00 PM flight out of JFK, with an announced delay earlier in the day of at least 15 minutes, and we were through security around 6:30 PM. With time to kill, we headed to the Delta lounge, for which we had privileges, and found a corner with three seats. Joel settled in and plugged in his phone. We headed over to check out the snack options — crackers and cheese, a packaged hummus spread, celery and baby carrots — and I grabbed a couple of the baby carrots as Gail moved on to the bar. As I caught up with her, I started chewing a carrot, and suddenly I bit into something really hard, like a small stone.

I didn’t quite know what to do. I didn’t want to swallow it, but had no napkin to spit it into. And anyway, a carrot? What could be stone hard in a carrot? As Gail ordered something to drink, I deposited the contents of my mouth in my hand, then threw it out. I then got some water, picked up some hummus spread and crackers on the way back to our seats, sat down, and wondered just what it was that I spit out. A clue was that something sharp in the back of my mouth was stabbing my tongue. A little investigation and I realized my tooth had acquired a sharp point. That stone must have been some dental work, or part of the tooth itself.

What it was exactly would stay a mystery for a while. I determined that the troublesome tooth was #18, the one in front of my rear left wisdom tooth. Fortunately, it wasn’t yet 4:00 back in Seattle, so the dentist office would be open. I called and made an appointment for the next day, yesterday.

The plane we were flying home on was late into JFK from Las Vegas. We boarded some 45 behind schedule, but thanks to weak headwinds and the enormous padding built into the schedule (what was once scheduled for 6 hours was scheduled for 6 hours and 40 minutes), we were just a few minutes late, landing a little before midnight Seattle time. Yesterday morning, I was off to the dentist.

The diagnosis — the carrot broke off part of my tooth. I spent the next 1 3/4 hours in the dentist’s chair. When I got home, the left side of my mouth was so numb, and my tongue so uncomfortable, that I could hardly talk. Gail thought I was over-doing it a bit with my mumbling. And I couldn’t eat comfortably either. I tried to eat some cheerios, but gave up. For the next hour, I was convinced some cheerios had lodged under my tongue, but I couldn’t move them out with the tongue and couldn’t feel them with my fingers. Every 5 or 10 minutes, after abandoning the preceding effort and figuring I just had to wait for the anesthetic to wear off, I’d try once again to find those elusive cheerios. There had to be a reason my tongue was so uncomfortable, talking or eating so difficult.

Finally, around 3:00 in the afternoon, I made one more effort and hit paydirt. There was something in there for sure. I grabbed hold, pulled, hoped my mouth wouldn’t turn inside out, and out came one of those hard cylindrical cotton rolls dentists stick in mouths. Relief! I could talk again. My tongue felt normal. Maybe I could even eat again.

But carrots? Forget it. I’m done with them.

Categories: Food, Travel
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