Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tracking the Elusive Dentist in Yellowstone Park

Today was another big driving day with its share of mishaps and more mishaps.  My goal was to leave Yellowstone at 6:30 a.m. to give myself plenty of time to arrive in Livingston by 9:30. 

Here's what happens to plans.

This is me sitting in a line of cars waiting for the road to Mammoth Hot Springs to open at 8:00.

I got there at 7:00.  I forgot about the construction.

And, as is usually the case in the Park, there is no other way to get there.

Did I turn back, surrender to fate, and keep wiggling my loose, broken tooth?

No!  I was determined to make to the dentist and if necessary, throw myself on the floor in the reception area and plead for help without any shame.

I had some books in the car to pass the time while I was having my little pity party.  Poor me, all alone in the wilderness (with 30 plus tourists also in line.)  I read some stories about women who had adventures traveling to exotic locations.  After reading about a woman from L.A. who volunteered with Mother Theresa in Calcutta, I decided that my journey was perhaps, shall we say, not that significant in the scheme of things.

The gate did open at 8:00 as promised.

I got a shot of this rare and exotic forest creature along the way.

I hear that they can attack humans when startled, so I drove by quietly.

This is called Christmas tree rock by the Yellowstone employees.

There is a tree growing on the top of the rock.

The Park employees celebrate Christmas in July and the tradition involves some of them sneaking out to the rock and decorating it.

The Park rangers are not pleased with this, but no arrests have ever been made.

There were plenty of bison as usual.

Don't worry, momma and child are just sleeping.

There are lots of babies now.  They run and frolic like all children.  Of course when they grow up they can barely hold those gigantic heads off the ground.

I finally made it to Livingston around 10:00.

Like most western towns, every other store front was a bar.  The rest of the stores sell outdoor gear.

Drink and hunt and drink and fish and drink and shovel snow.  That about covers it.

At last I approach Livingston Dental Care.

Will they be nice?  Did the dentists really go to school or did they just practice on some cattle?

I rushed inside.

It looked professional.

No one attended veterinary school.

I met Dr. Kevin Scott, one of the nicest young men anywhere.  He was concerned about my poor broken tooth.

I know that you are all on the edge of your seats to hear the outcome.  Am I toothless?   No.  He glued it together, quite expertly, I might add.

He made no promises.  He gave it the 5 rule.  It might last 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, he couldn't say for sure.  I have made it 5 hours without disaster.  I even cautiously brushed my teeth tonight. 

It/s just a temporary fix.  The worst case scenario, and the most likely one is that I will need an implant.  Do you think the management at the front desk would mind if I put a tip jar on the counter?  Help your poor
underpaid guest services agent buy a tooth.  Implants cost a fortune, but I cannot and will not go toothless.  For now all is well.

Dr. Scott even called me later to make sure I was alright.  What a guy.

On the long way back to Yellowstone, I noticed that spring had finally arrived.

There are leaves on the trees. 

It was heaven to see something other than pine trees.

It stormed a little.

I drove back into Yellowstone, through the construction again....

I only had to wait once for the bison stroll.

They love walking down the center of the road.

You haven't lived until one of them passes within 5 feet of your car and gives you the beady eye.

I gave it right back...with my window up.

I was in my dorm room by 3:00 and back at work by 4:00.  Oldest son arrived on schedule.  It's been a long day.  My mind is numb.  Sleep...must sleep.



Mike said...

Glad you hung in there and Dr Scott saved your tooth for the time being! Thinking you might assemble an emergency kit in your car to cover the unplanned delays that seem to occur frequently on the park roads. I'm getting your care package together so if you want anything special, please advise. Thanks.

Davine said...

Glad you were able to get your tooth fixed evn if if might be temporary. I am not real keep on Dentists either and it is so good to find a nice one. Good Luck with it and hope it lasts 5 years at least. I am really enjoying your Yellowstone posts.

POD said...

Wow, at least you got the tooth fixed even if temporarily. I need an implant too. Brains, beauty and teeth.
I understand the teeth are about 3-4k apiece. The mom and baby looked dead for a moment. Thanks for helping with that photo caption.

Judy said...

Thanks everyone. Yes, implants are expensive. I may have to get a real job with dental insurance, although it doesn't pay much for something major like that. Growing old isn't for sissies.

darlin said...

Whew no dead buffalo, your tooth is saved for now and you made it there and back in one piece. You're so right, growing old is not for the faint of heart, it takes tons of courage and crazy glue to keep us in one piece.

By the way does anyone know how to get rid of decorations which are crazy glued onto fingernails? It's tough trying to look pretty at this age without instructions!

Tom said...

Hi Judy...You're certainly welcome to join us for our Ohio Nature Photographers photowalks when you're back here in Ohio. My good friend lives in Livingston, and a week from this Wednesday, I'll be flying to Bozeman to meet him. We'll be spending three nights camping in Yellowstone, hanging out in the NW part of the park, and hitting the Lamar Valley. I'm not exactly sure where we'll be because I'm leaving that up to my friends, but I'm super excited.


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