Skip to content

Can I PLEASE Have a Root Canal?

May 8, 2013

Ever wanted something really bad? I mean, you wanted it so much that not having it physically hurt? Have you ever wanted something as badly as you wanted a root canal?

Yeah, I probably lost a few of you on that last one. No one wants a root canal, right? Root canals are so bad that they are the punchline to really bad jokes.


Last week I bit into a piece of ham and it bit back. It bit back like I’ve never felt before. My jaw pretty much exploded. I can’t tell you if it was the worst pain in the world since I’ve never given birth and I can’t pull my lower lip over my head. But, I don’t remember ever experiencing pain like that. Not even during the time “I Really Did Have a Dentist Appointment.”

It was constant; an ice pick through my skull. Ibeprophen (i.e. Advil) wouldn’t touch it. Oh, I ate them like candy, so maybe without them my head really would have exploded. At times the pain made my eyes water. I retreated to my room and closed the curtains and the door. Not because that really helped, but I didn’t want to keep scaring the kids.

I knew exactly what it was. I had some work done a couple of months ago and the dentist warned me that I might need a root canal in the future. Well, WELCOME to the future!

The problem was it got really bad on Friday. My dentist isn’t open on weekends. And besides, I’m a tough guy. Maybe it will go away?

Yeah, and maybe I’ll die of an aneurism before Monday!

Saturday night I got pretty much no sleep. Sunday was lots of pain and dark rooms. Sunday night was worse. By the time Monday morning rolled around, I couldn’t wait to call the dentist. I wanted it really bad. I wanted a root canal more than anything.

“Can I get a root canal done today?”

“Excuse me? Ah. . .how’s 11:30 sound?”

(It sounded like an eternity!) “Yeah, that’ll be great.”

How early is TOO early to show up for my appointment, and would my car insurance cover an accident if I black out from pain induced migraines on the way to the dentist?

20130507-233838.jpgJust make the pain go away!

Laying in the chair waiting for the dentist I’m thinking,

“Can’t you numb it NOW? Do we really have to wait for him?”

When my lip went to sleep, I nearly did too. Blessed numbness. The pain was gone.

Okay, so what’s the big deal, Rodney? You had a toothache and you got it treated? Why are you dragging the readers through that. . .and on a business blog?

Because, in comparison, the pain of a root canal is short and it solves a much bigger problem. How many of us avoid the pain points in our organization because we are avoiding the pain? The sales guy who hasn’t made his quota in 3 months? The engineer who just screwed up another customer installation? The vendor who just raised their rates for the third time in four months?

But, I hate the dentist, you say. The sales guy MIGHT turn it around.

Yeah, and my tooth might just suddenly stop hurting on its own.

The engineer did great work in the past.

Yeah, and four days ago my teeth were fine.

I’m not suggesting you immediately terminate an employee at the first sign of struggles. One of the best engineers I ever had “Deserved to Be Fired.” He wasn’t, and it was the right decision. But, at some point, you realize that the situation isn’t going to improve. Postponing the inevitable simply drags out the pain. The sooner you get through the painful change process, whether it is letting an employee go, or reorganizing your reporting structure, or replacing a vendor, the sooner you will get your organization back to a healthy state.

Today, my tooth feels like it did a week ago, before the pain. But, the memory of the pain is still fresh and so in comparison my tooth feels WONDERFUL.

I really, REALLY wanted a root canal. I’m grateful I got to have it.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply