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Today I learned that teaching, even of knitting, requires at least some talking.

I arrived at Dr. Grinder’s (not his real name) office precisely at noon, all ready for my root canal.

And how are we today? asked Dr. Grinder’s assistant. We’re just splendid. I replied.

Ms. Assistant (who was really very nice) took my history and talked about my tooth and laughed at the comment my dentist had made on my referral: She said that cold hurt worse, so I took pity on her and tested with heat. (I’ve known my dentist for 25 years. He has quite a sense of humor.)

Dr. Grinder, another truly nice person, came in. And how are we today? he asked. We’re just splendid I replied.

He began the usual poking and prodding and peering with mirrors and such. In the end he agreed with my dentist that the tooth did need a root canal. We’ll just numb you up and get to work. he said. You might have a little pain afterwards, but we’ll send you home with some medication to help.

Ahhh… thought I. The good stuff.

He numbed me and waited awhile. Then numbed me some more for good measure. By the time he started, 1/2 my head was numb from the eyebrows down to my chin. Next came the… well… you know… the root canal.

But then Ms. Assistant took a digital x-ray, and that was one of the coolest things I’ve seen for a long time. The pictures popped up on their computer in about 10 seconds. She could change the color and enhance the image and all kinds of cool stuff. That was really neat to watch. I would have asked more questions about it except my mouth was full of stuff and my head was numb.

Dr. Grinder wrapped up the procedure and removed all the equipment from my mouth. All done! He said brightly. I don’t think you’ll have much pain. I gave you an extra-long-lasting numbing agent. The worst part of a root canal is usually over after the first three or four hours, and you’ll be numb for at least 6 or 8 hours. Just take a couple of Advil when it wears off and call me if it’s too bad.

Wait a minute… I’m thinking… what about the good stuff? No good stuff? I’m going to be numb for 6 or 8 hours? no, no, no… I have to teach a class tonight…

But I have to teach a class! I said. Or at least that’s what I meant to say. It actually came out something like bmt I hvmg t tsch a clshh!

Just call if you have too much pain. Dr. Grinder said, and sent me on my way. All the way home, I kept wondering what I was going to do if I couldn’t talk.

#1 Son laughed at me when I got home because I couldn’t move half my face. I tried to eat some dinner (soft food, only). When I looked in the mirror, I realized that quite a bit of it had ended up outside my mouth. This was going to be interesting.

By the time I got to Tangle (I hear a song there…), some of the numb had worn off, and I could talk. I had to slurp my wine, which was rather embarrassing.

But I could talk. So I have no excuse for totally losing control of the class. No excuse at all. I think most of the students got the techniques I was attempting (badly) to teach. But I didn’t get as far as I would have liked to. I need to figure out how to make this work better. Hopefully next week will be different because there’s not as much to cover.

The numb is just now finally completely wearing off. Now. 10 hours later. I could use some of the good stuff.

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