Tuesday, June 14, 2011

grand canal

I went to bed last night with the start of an ache in one of my upper right molars.  Nothing terrible, but it got worse overnight, occasionally waking me up from sleep, to the point that I realized that I might need to go in to the dentist post-call on Thursday in order to get it looked at.

By early this afternoon, the pain was, shall we say, exquisite.  It was like a ball of flaming nails inside my head.  It hurt so much I couldn't even think straight.  And I knew I was to be on call all day tomorrow, in a job that requires above all that I can think critically and pay attention and be able to make big decisions in a split second without being distracted by the fact that my mouth felt like it was going to freaking explode.  It could not wait another two days.  So after work, I made an emergency appointment with my dentist, and soaked a gauze pad with lidocaine to mash on my gum over the tooth.  (Pathetic topical attempt though it was, it kind of worked, enough for me to drive to the dentist's office anyway.)   My dentist, who very nicely carved out a spot for me in his schedule, took one look at my tooth, took one look at me, and promptly did a root canal.

So, that was my afternoon.  Well, that, and the fact that I found out, while I was in the dentist chair waiting for the calcium hydroxide (or whatever that stuff is that they use) to exercise its bacteriocidal action on the inner workings of my molar, that my response to Dr. Sibert's Op-Ed in the Times this Saturday was quoted in The Wall Street Journal online.  So I guess this day wasn't all bad.


  1. so awesome!! this will be a massive publicity boost =)

  2. So glad that your response is getting noticed!! And so glad that you wrote it; that Op-ed definitely needed a response - it was infuriating!

  3. First of all, I just had a root canal the other day too. It was not emergent but instead it was because my front tooth mysteriously just died. No reason. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that it wasn't as painful of a procedure as I thought it would be. The novocaine did hurt quite a bit but nothing after that. I hope your root canal was pretty painless too!
    Second, I thought your response to that Op-ed was phenomenal. Her piece really infuriated me. I sent it to my mom and her response was "Just be thankful she's not your mother with that kind of attitude!"

  4. I wanted to point this out too:

    "Sharon Phelan framed this more as a generational issue than a gender one. Many older physicians — including herself — have 'tended to live our lives around our careers, with our families secondary,' she told us. “The younger generation refuses to do that. They may have a more even-keeled approach...even believe that personal life takes priority over work life.”

    There are a recent string of articles lately that have supported or decried the statement that "today's college grads are lazy" and I felt that Dr. Sibert's comments had many undertones of generational bias towards the younger folk. While I have met and worked with a fair share of lazy peers, I also know that I and many of my friends have worked hard to pay for school/living expenses, get good grades and pay the bills after in a tough job market.

    I know that polarizing sensitive topics makes $$ somehow by making people jump on their facebook/twitter/blogs to pop out angry rebuttals or excited cheers, it glosses over all the reasons that cause these problems in the first place!

  5. I am so glad to have read your response to Sibert's op-ed. Congratulations on also publishing a book. I haven't read your blog since medical school (got busy with residency and applying to fellowship) until I randomly stumbled upon links to your article after reading Sibert's article.

    Since then I see you are still working, blogging, and writing aside from being a mommy of two now! Congrats and keep it up :)

  6. Anonymous9:48 PM

    I know the pain you speak of. a pain that causes one to spend any amount of money for relief. My root canal was last month and as much as I despise the DDs I was so happy that he helped me stop the pain!!!

  7. Rebecca9:59 PM

    Glad you are no longer in pain.

    One thing about the WSJ post that tickles a sore point of mine: "Michelle Au, the female anesthesiologist who labeled this a mommy-war battle"

    'female anesthesiologist'? I guess there might be male Michelles, but I'd guess most of them spell it with one l instead of two.

    Usually I encounter this on the radio in the morning, and then my neighbors get to hear me yell at NPR. "Female scientist? Because 'scientist' is by default male? Half a sentence later, you use the female pronoun. Not only are you pissing me off, and every other female scientist out there, you are reinforcing the notion for every little girl that hears this that although she can become a scientist, she'll have to be at war against people's assumptions the whole way."

    Which isn't entirely wrong, come to think of it. But it's in the category of things where saying it makes it worse instead of better.

  8. Anonymous10:01 AM

    Well done on your response to the article. It is heartening to hear a more measured viewpoint. Had shown the Dr Sibert article to my Mum, and had a long discussion on life and work, and the challanges of balancing the two. She made a similar response to Dr Army Wife's Mum!
    Hope things are better with the root canal. Tooth pain, is bad pain!

  9. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Cals science book looks like something out of Kaplan. "Think about it as pea (p), corn (c), apple (a)" So cute!!

  10. Oh, the pain! We can all relate to that! At least it went well, and you're not having a hard time with your tooth anymore. My sister will also go through the same process this weekend. We wish her luck!