They are officially called, "Non-Essential Personnel". That is, anytime the Army must deploy these people don't necessarily NEED to be invited. How they got to be "Non-Essential Personnel" in the first place is a complete mystery, although I have a theory. I theorize that once upon a time there was a guy who lived comfortably in his ivory tower, looked down upon the general populace and, thrusting his very long, very bony index finger downward, declared, "those guys aren't necessary! Don't invite them" And the events of today prove beyond all doubt, at least to me, that they are not persona non grata. I'd say they are a grata as anyone. "They" are dentists.
In my post dated October 21, 2003, I wrote about my need for emergency dental work and the lessons I had learned about why one shold not wait to have such problems treated. Note to self: Listen to self! I apparently did not learn a thing.
About 2 weeks ago, while enjoying a wonderful Iraqi afternoon, I perchance took a swig of nice cold water. Immediately I thought to myself, "Perchance my face is gonna explode!" Unsure of the cause, but certain it was a tooth that had gone to the dark side, I did what anyone who had been in this siuation once before would do...I took motrin. Lots and lots of motrin. That seemed to work for awhile.
As the days passed, the level of discomfort grew until it dawned on me that I hadn't slept in 48 hours because of the pain. So last night, right around 2 am, I headed to the doc's room. He felt so much sympathy for my plight that he laughed and asked what took me so long to tell him. He gave me a rather high powered pain killer called Tylox and sent me home with instructions to go see the dentist in the morning. I took my medicine and proceeded to writhe in agony for the rest of the night.
After painfully staring at the darkness until it ceased to be dark I dressed and headed to sick call. Until the night before, I didn't even know we had dentists here. I figured I was going to have to wait to get home and just kind of endure. I am thankful I was wrong. Upon arrival and initial assessment by the "Non-Essential Personnel" at the dentist office, I was x-ray'd and given a chair. Being entirely tired, I nearly fell asleep within moments.
The dentist (I wish I had his name because he deserves a medal) began to drill and poke and pull and jab all the while using words like "lingual" and "mezial" and "no wonder that hurt so much, you should see this!" When all was said and done he had performed what is lovingly called a "pulpectomy" which turns out to be something of a modified root canal. I was totally intimidated by the title but it was almost an entirely pain free procedure. That dentist is a god amongst men as far as I'm concerned.
So now my pulp has been ectomied and I am looking forward to a solid night's rest. All thanks to the most essential "Non-Essential" on the battlefield.