My Private Hell

9:06 AM

    For those of you who are craving an in-depth recollection of my morning at the dentist Wednesday, you are in luck because I feel like writing about it! Strap yourselves in for this joyride!

     First off, I am certainly not proud to declare that I, a grown woman of sound body and (mostly) mind, am totally creeped out by dentists. This is my only "thing" (as in, most people have a "thing" about heights, reptiles, or commitment); I would rather commit to skydive with a parachute made of live snakes than be strapped in that damn chair, while one or more strange people are doing hurty things to my mouth.

     I have reasons. I am prone to un-numbness. As a dentist you REALLY have to work at it with me. You can shoot my face full of Novocaine until it's coming out my eyes, and I will still be able to feel what you are doing. With today's technology, I can't think of a reason that I should have to endure physical (and in my case) emotional pain.

     I feel dentists don't like me for this reason. They must either get off on inflicting pain, take the whole thing personally, condescendingly assume that I am just being a baby, or that I am flat out lying about it. You CAN'T possibly feel what I am doing, because these numbing drugs affect EVERY single human in the same EXACT way! That's just how SCIENCE works!

     This last time in particular, (and I will keep this on the short side, since this horror-filled appointment lasted over 3 hours) I was super-nervous because there was going to be "roots" and "digging" involved. I had decided to try the oral sedation route, where they feed you a bunch of happy pills, to make you forget that they will be jack-hammering nerves that are very close to your brain.

     They feed me the pills, leave me alone to "relax" for a half hour, then come back to a me that is clearly 475% more UN-relaxed than when I got there, (ie: sobbing) because I realize this is ALL they are going to do to me, and then expect I will be more than willing to sign up for this nightmare.

     So my accompanying knight in shining armor says, "Hey, can't you just put her out? She is not a happy camper about this AT ALL."  The dentist looks perplexed at this, as if I have just blown his mind by not feeling ecstatic to experience the equivalent of oral surgery while in this "relaxed" state. Long story short, the dentist decides it is in his "realm of power" to give me nitrous oxide.

     I have never experienced this stuff by itself. The only other instance was when I had a similar appointment at a different dentist. (THEY knocked me all the way out. I heart them.) I think they pumped the nitrous oxide through the vents just to get me off the ceiling and in the chair. Anyhow, I thought, "Oh, this stuff! It makes you not care about the horror show that is going on in your mouth! I will be like Bugs Bunny on ether! I can do this!"

     This scenario could have been borderline acceptable, except after they placed the gas-dispensing apparatus over my face, they gave me only 60 gas-filled seconds before they shoved some sort of rubber surgical shield in my mouth, and gave me about 8 shots of Novocaine so that I could not have possibly relayed the message that I was still hopelessly freaked out. The gas was effective in that it made me feel drunk, although not a happy drunk. A still horrified, and now unable-to-communicate type of drunk that just caused more panic. Kind of like those people you hear about  that are not quite anesthetized during surgery, and are still awake, yet paralyzed so they are unable to tell anyone "Hey, I can SEE you cutting me open!" Yeah, that brand of awesome.

     So they start to go to town on not-quite numb and/or ready me. Luckily the gas does kick in somewhat, as does the Novocaine, but I am still responding to it slowly. I try to move around way too much so they will  notice that I am still unready-ish. They seem to ignore me for a while, but....

     Finally! The dentist told me he was going to give me a shot of muscle relaxant, which I am sure he did to get me to stop flailing my appendages around so much. The thought of this made me happy, but where did he end up giving me that shot? Right in the tongue, people. Why? My tongue was numb. Right? RIGHT? Tell me why it hurts like hell, then! Have you tried keeping your tongue still when there is a 3 inch long needle in it for about 15 seconds? Probably why my tongue is still sore today. I guess it made sense, but at the time, I would have opted to get that shot almost anywhere else in my body. It did manage to make me "less" aware after a few minutes, so that was good.

     From there, I can still remember tapping my fingers so violently I made the pulse-reader fly off twice, gross crunching sounds coming from inside my jaw, a whole discussion on what color my teeth were in some crazy Pantone dental color chart (B1, for all of you who are familiar with this chart), and someone coming in  to take the dentist's lunch order. He wanted a tenderloin with mustard and pickles.

     Then I remember him taking the mask off my face, but then continuing to work. I am thinking to myself, "Um, hey! Why are you cutting me off? I am still wanting that mask on my face very badly please!"  Looking around, I am starting to see and hear things that are going to make me vomit/sob. He must have sensed my uneasiness, because he assured me he was ALMOST done. Besides, I had already gone through 2 tanks of nitrous oxide. I guess I had reached the cutoff point.

Finally they say I am done, and I try to fly out of that place as quick as I can with Valium, Lorazepam, Nitrous Oxide, and some other form of muscle relaxant in my system. Wait! Not so fast! They didn't get everything done, and I have to make another appointment. Did I want to schedule that now?.....

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