Today’s holiday story is one of my favorites, I hope you like it too.
A few years after moving to Los Angeles I returned home to Long Island for Christmas. I arrived on December 23rd and all was going well for the first few hours. I landed, went to Dunkin Donuts and then to a party before heading to my father’s house. By the time I arrived at my dad’s place at 1 AM something was very wrong. I was suddenly in incredible pain. I had been nursing what I believed was a toothache for a few days but this was something worse. My sister was awake so when I said I was going to the hospital, she said she was coming with me. We stopped for coffee and headed to the emergency room.
It was determined that somehow I had managed to develop an infection and exposed a nerve in a tooth that had been broken in an accident (I didn’t have dental insurance at the time and was waiting to have it fixed). There is pain, and then there is the pain of an infected broken tooth. I had never hurt so badly in my life. I was given painkillers and antibiotics but the painkillers were no help to me because a few hours later I’m at my fathers house, lying on the kitchen floor crying.
By the time I made it to the kitchen I hadn’t slept in close to 48 hours and I wanted to die. I had gone there to find the phone book to help me locate an emergency dental office that could take me on what was now Christmas Eve. After not being able to find one I broke down on the floor and started to cry. That’s how my father found me. I can’t recall crying in front of my dad as a kid and I had never seen him do it, so to be 27 and to be found like this was humbling. But I was beyond pride. In a gesture I had waited for my entire life, my father said
It’s going to be okay. Look, you get upstairs and sleep, you’re exhausted. I’m going to find someone who can help you. Right now it’s 6:00 AM so get some sleep and when you wake up we’ll fix you up.
With that he helped me off the ground and sent me on my way. Although I hurt like never before, I went to sleep. After all, my dad was going to save me.
A few hours later I woke up and went downstairs. Dad was reading the paper and watching Patton. Clearly, it was Christmas Eve.
I asked if he was able to find a dentist and he looked at me as if I had spoken another language. After a second he said:
I didn’t look. I just wanted you to stop whining. Call your mother if you need a dentist.