The scene is a ladies room in a very nice restaurant near the upscale Garden District in the city of New Orleans. A woman sits on the floor of the ladies room, the door of her cubicle partially open, her head close to but not in the throne (sounds much better than toilet). She is sweating, pale, apparently in discomfort, feeling bad all over.
No one enters to disturb or observe the woman's unique position.
A few minutes later a man knocks on the door, "You alright?"
A couple of minutes later the door opens, and a waitress and my hub peer inside. I look at him with bleary eyes and murmur, "Call a cab. I have to go back to the room."
And so ended our elegant lunch before it really began.
Several hours earlier:
A twinge of a toothache a couple of days before quickly became a throbbing pain on one side of my jaw. Two extra-strength anythings barely took the edge off. I got little sleep.
Early in the morning hub leaves for a breakfast meeting - we are in this unique city because he has a convention. While he works, my plan is to play.
Realizing I cannot continue normally with the pain, I fire up my iPad and seek dental help. Fast.
Kudos to the internet site Yelp! A dental clinic contains dozens of positive Yelp reviews. It is dicey seeking medical help out of town, but my tooth demands immediate attention.
The dental clinic offered an appointment at 9:00 a.m. and one late in the afternoon. I grabbed the morning hour and texted hub. He arrived back at the hotel in time to accompany me.
We took a cab the four miles to the clinic. Flying into the city and staying in a hotel downtown, our transportation options are limited to one free means of transport (walking), public transportation (reasonably priced) and taxis, a pricey choice, but I was in no condition and did not have enough time to seek alternatives.
The dentist turned out to be a kindly gentleman/grandpa type. He plans on retiring at the end of the year following 50 years fixing people's teeth. I felt confident he knew what he was doing.
I thought the agony was in an upper tooth. I was wrong; the problem tooth was a bottom one. The dentist did some prodding and fixing and prescribed an antibiotic and pain killer. He cautioned I might eventually need a root canal, but took a conservative stance - if my tooth was not permanently fixed, it would be in good enough condition long enough to enjoy this Southern city and get home.
We left the office and decided to walk, touring neighborhoods, stopping for lunch, taking our time.
First stop was the drugstore to fill my prescription. They were out of the pain killer. The pharmacist made a couple of phone calls. Another pharmacy a mile away stocked both drugs.
We walked to the second pharmacy, then continued on, strolling at a leisurely pace another mile to a restaurant the dentist recommended, a one-hundred-year-old establishment favored by locals and renowned for their barbecued shrimp.
We arrived, got seated, perused the menu, and ordered. We chatted with our waiter.
The soup arrived, a small cup of seafood gumbo, and I tasted a couple of spoonfuls. It was delicious.
Suddenly I started to sweat, feel nauseous and lightheaded. I sat still for a couple of minutes, then quickly left the table and (hopefully) inconspicuously dashed to the ladies room.
Fast forward a few hours:
I sit in our hotel room, relaxing with my coffee. Hours earlier the cab delivered us to our temporary home, and within minutes - seconds actually after entering the room - I fell asleep. Awaking a couple of hours later, I felt better. Hub and I walked to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch.
Hub went on to a business meeting and dinner.
Foregoing the business dinner (translation: we don't pay out of our own pocket) at one of the most highly rated restaurants in the French Quarter (all those Yelp reviewers can't be wrong!) for a good night's rest, I look forward to a day of sightseeing tomorrow.