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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Dentist's Chair


If there is a 12 Step program for fear, I should join. I am loath to admit what a big baby I can be about things that most likely don't bother others, like the dentist. I'm not talking cleanings, I'm talking things more extensive, like root canals, crowns and as I had done yesterday, extractions.

I think part of it is a history of horrible dentists in my childhood. One I swear was one step up the food chain from the Wolfman. He was mean, rough and impatient. And very hairy. So that pretty firmly planted the seed of dentist=unpleasant experiences.

I wasn't thrilled when my new dentist told me that I was going to need to see an oral surgeon (two words you never want to use together) and have a couple of teeth removed. So I did what I'm really good at. I procrastinated for a few weeks. But, knowing I was going to need someone to go with me I could only stall so long while my son Ben was going to be spending some time here. So I bit the bullet and made the appointment.

Until the actual day came I was pretty calm. On the morning of the surgery I meditated, went for a walk and tried to be in a good place. And then I walked in that office, accompanied by Ben and THAT smell hit me. The people in the scrubs, masks around their necks and it all seemed so ...medical and medicinal. My pulse quickened. I filled out forms, signing away my rights if anything terrible happened to me, and answering questions - oh my God, maybe I have a heart problem and I just don't know it! Lung diseases?! I was stunned to see "bronchitis" on there - I had bronchitis last year, what did that mean?! My doctor never told me I now was diseased! Maybe my diseased lungs wouldn't survive this procedure. Of course in that moment I forgot that I walk/run two to three miles several days a week and do another cardio-heavy workout 6 x's a week - my lungs seem just fine. But still...

Finally they called me in. I think I exhausted the doctor before he even began peppering him with questions and making sure he knew about my allergy to barbiturates and sensitivity to epinephrine. Yes, I'm sure he was thinking he'd really drawn the short straw that day and could not wait to knock me out. Which he did quite shortly, but not until I told him I am close to getting a deal on my book and didn't want to die right before my career takes off. I think he just wanted me to shut up at that point.

And the next thing I remember I was in a recovery room. I have no recollection of walking there, if they took embarrassing photos of me, rolled their eyes at me once I was out, or just talked about what a charming gem I seemed to be. I'm hoping for the latter.

My son laughed at my inability to remember anything they were telling me and helped me walk to the car, lest I fall on my butt. I don't remember the ride home either. It's kind of weird. As a born-again substance virgin, I am not used to feeling so out of it. Ben I think found it quite amusing to see his normally lucid mom, under the influence of a veritable smorgasbord of drugs.

Even today I'm not feeling quite like myself - and I've taken nary an Ibuprofen. I'm still a bit spacey and yes, somewhat sore. Hey, in another context this could sound like I had a great time last night!

I am so glad to have this behind me, No more thinking about having to face the music. Well, except apparently now I do need a crown.

Holy crap, this will never be over...

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