The drill and the damage done

This one time, I went to the dentist and he told me he had to replace a bunch of gold crowns, so Dr. Painless set about yanking ’em out like so many weeds in my front planter, which is certainly the envy of my neighborhood thanks to its preponderance of so many weeds. The dental procedure involved the generous use of Novocain and sleeping gas and miniature forceps and the de rigueur drill. And tears. Bucketloads of tears. A few months later, while giving the new choppers a spin on my usual Sunday dinner of corn on the cob, peanut brittle, Jawbreakers, Laffy Taffy and walnuts (gnawed open with my choppers; nutcrackers are for pussies), a brand new gold crown mysteriously was dislodged and nearly swallowed.

Once paramedics coaxed me out from the space between my couch and the wall—where I’d been rocking in the fetal position—and neighborhood dogs who’d been driven into a frenzy by my sustained high-pitched wailing had been calmed, I was rushed to dental emergency (yes, my dentist can be summoned on Sundays; sucks to have your insurance, eh?), where I was fitted for an even sturdier gold crown. Thanks to the generous use of Novocain and sleeping gas and miniature forceps and the de rigueur drill and Super Glue, the new crown has remained in my mouth ever since.

I am reminded of this while reading Joel Davis’ cover story, which follows up his hugely popular 2004 cover story on a surgical procedure that involved the drilling into his skull to help mitigate the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Today, Joel takes us back to the operating table for a second encounter with the drill. Both times, our intrepid correspondent remained awake during the surgeries, which may make him seem more brave than yours truly, who was totally out by No. 8 counting backward both times I got gassed for my harrowing dental catastrophes. Um, sure, getting drilled in the head while conscious does take massive cojones, but anyone who has ever endured ice water on a gold-crown opening realizes that Davis isn’t the only one swinging a major set around here.