Friday, November 03, 2006

W. Daniel Furst, DDS

Some of you may recall a blog installment I posted a month ago in which I described my first root canal appointment. In that installment I introduced the fortuitously-named Dr. Furst, who is the first dentist I’ve liked since I’ve been living in North Carolina. This is no small matter to me, as I have harbored the big daddy of dentistry phobias since I was a wee lass and had several of my baby teeth pulled in one visit without being as anesthetized as I might have liked.

Three weeks ago, I had to go back in for another 2-hour appointment during which Dr. Furst did the build-up for my crown. Having survived my first appointment under the good doctor’s care, I was considerably more relaxed. While I may have been tense and trembling a tad, I at least wasn’t making the floor vibrate this time around. During the two hours of my second appointment, more unpleasant drilling, grinding, and scraping occurred. This time, however, I felt fully confident that Dr. Furst was giving the matter his full attention, and that he would not allow the drill to slip off the tooth and pierce my cerebellum. Best of all, there was more humming. This time it was the Beach Boys’ song, All Summer Long, which solidified my opinion that Dr. Furst was, in fact, a true genius of dentistry.

So yesterday was the final phase of the process. No drilling or scraping this time. All Dr. Furst had to do was to pop in the crown and send me on my way. As this would be the first time I’d seen him without my face full of Novocaine and slobber running down my neck, I looked forward to interacting with him like a normal human being instead of like a patient at a state mental institution. I’d planned to thank him for getting me through the experience in one piece. Of course, there’d be some fond reminiscing as well. “Remember that one time when I was all scared of the needles and drills? HA! Good times . . .” I’d say. Then we would laugh and laugh.

But what really happened was this. I arrived at the office and was ushered to the chair by Thelma, my favorite dental assistant. Just before she pulled my temporary crown off, she said, “You heard about Dr. Furst, right?”

Well, I hadn’t heard about Dr. Furst. Did he get in a fender bender? Did he win the lottery? Was he conked on the dome by an errant golf ball?

“No, what happened?” I said.

“He died.”

Ah, shit.

That’s right. Dr. Furst, genius of dentistry, died in his home at the age of 60, apparently of heart failure. I’d only met him a few times, but after having his hands in my mouth for four hours I’d grown pretty attached to the guy.

But what did I truly know about Dr. Furst? Well, not a whole hell of a lot, but let’s see what I can piece together.

1.) He loved to play golf, but probably would never have qualified for the Senior Tour.

2.) He liked a lot of elbow room when he worked, and preferred a workspace that was uncluttered by patients’ spectacles.

3.) He was liberal with the Novacaine, but was a real hard-ass about Percocet. I don’t know what procedures would warrant a Perc prescription, but a root canal, in Dr. Furst’s opinion, was not one of them. (To his credit, I didn’t actually need them. Not even a little bit.)

4.) He liked to wear a sombrero on occasion, as shown in a photograph behind the reception desk.

5.) He had a nice little hum. Over the course of my visits, I heard a wide range of Dr. Furst’s tuneless avant-garde humming, along with his chipper renditions of Speak Softly Love (The Theme from the Godfather), and the aforementioned Beach Boys song, All Summer Long. Oh, and let’s not forget this one . . . .

Oh when the saints go marching in
When the saints go marching in
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

And when the sun refuse to shine
And when the sun refuse to shine
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in . . . .

Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm, Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm,
Hmm hmm hmm hmmm, Hmm hmm hmm hmmm,
Hmm-hmm hmm hmmmm hmm hmm hmm-hmm hmm hmm
Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. . . .

Thanks for the root canal, Doc. I hope you’re up there kicking Sam Snead’s ass.


evenstar said...

Nice, storchy...

Real sweet.

Bless ya :)

anaglyph said...

Well, it's nice to know that there'll be good dental care in Heaven.

... oh I want to be in that number... hmm hmmm hmmm hmmm hmmm

Trixie said...

I am deeply sorry to hear of the loss of your dentist. Be consoled with the fact that he is now in a place where sugar does not cause cavities.