What I lack in conviction, I certainly make up for in fear. I'm afraid of everything. I'm afraid of getting stuck in an elevator for like 48 hours. Of course, it didn't help that as a little girl my father would come home and tell us all stories about how he got stuck in an elevator like every other day. I'm afraid of heights and bees and the dentist. And for every single thing I'm afraid of, my dad gave me one more reason to be fearful. For every fear, he'd have a story of something that happened like that to so-and-so and it was the absolute worst possible outcome. His words never calmed my fears, they fed them. Like the time my papa was fixing something on a roof and didn't get stung by one bee, but a whole hive of bees. Now what little girl wouldn't be afraid of bees after a story like that? Bees are vengeful little beasts that sting for the fun of it when people are minding their own business. I believe that to this day...honey smoney...they're out for blood...
The dentist is my biggest, most irrational fear. I firmly believe that dentists have found a way to legally torture people and not go to jail for it. Seriously, pulling teeth out was a form of torture in some war, I'm sure. It's true. Dentists have the highest suicide rate of any profession out there, because they know people hate them. And how can they live with themselves? With all the evil things they do to people? I swear to you I would rather have a pap every day for the next year than have to go the dentist once in the next 10 years.
Not surprisingly, I avoid the dentist. I have stories that will make your toes curl. I was in the 'chair' having a root canal when the freezing wore off. Instead of giving me a little more freezing (or a shot of tequila...) he just kept going. I had tears streaming down my face, while the hygienist alternated between wiping my tears, holding my hand and holding my head back so I couldn't move. Have you ever had a metal file stuck up a live nerve???? There's one word for it....TORTURE!!
I've thought of having them all pulled and getting dentures...but how do you mention that on a date? Because you know you'd have to mention it, before they popped out while you were kissing or uh....something. And I'm pretty sure it would be a deal breaker. I mean it would be for me. You think dentures, you think OLD...
I finally summoned up the courage to go to the dentist on Friday. He smiled and said, "Oh, it's been a while since we've seen you." I smiled back and tried not to vomit. I found him a few years back, because he specializes in sedation dentistry, but he really is very good at what he does (torture) and so he talked me out of the sedation (sadistic). He talked me through the procedures. I like that he doesn't teach me how to brush my teeth and floss every time I go for a cleaning (which isn't every six months, in case you were wondering...) I'm an adult for crying out loud. I may have highly irrational fears, but I do know how to brush my teeth...geez.. He smiles. Lots. He has very, very nice teeth. They're so white. And he's very, very handsome. So it's somewhat embarrassing that I make such a fool of myself every time I go. To be honest with you, I usually work myself up into such a frenzy before the appointment that I have to cancel the morning of because I'm an absolute basket case. I'll pay the $50.00 cancellation fee. Damn, I'll pay $250.00, if it means I don't have to go to the dentist.
But I had two teeth that had broken off. Molars. One on each side of my mouth. So, we had decided the best thing was to do was pull them. I was actually quite relieved. No drill is good in my mind. Pull the suckers, who needs to chew things anyways? Just please don't use the drill. And I've had teeth pulled before. When I was a little girl, they pulled a couple of baby teeth so the adult ones could move in. I mean, how painful could it be, right?
It was horrible. Horrible. First of all, he gave me so much freezing the whole roof of my mouth was numb. This makes it very difficult to swallow, as you can imagine. So, when they're pouring water in your mouth and you can't swallow it, you start sputtering and look like a complete idiot. My nose was numb. My right eye was numb. And there's something about the freezing that gets my adrenaline just pumping. I had a major panic attack in the dentist's chair. He's trying to talk to me, and I'm trying to breathe...and all I can think is that maybe I'm dying of a freezing overdose. Can that happen? I'm not sure, but anything is possible, right???
So, there I am doing stupid breathing techniques trying to bring my heart rate down and resisting the urge to either punch him and run, or just run as fast as I can out of there. Finally, I calm down, they bring out the consent form, and start rattling off all the things that can go wrong. I hear something about sinus cavity and then for the sake of my sanity, tune out completely. There's like seven different things that can go wrong, but #8 isn't "Die" so I sign away and say a prayer that Q will be okay without me. Oh, and he says, "You'll hear a lot of cracking, because they're really close to your ear drums. But it's okay, it's just the tooth breaking off." See, now that's reassuring...at least it's not my ear drum popping, because I bet that could happen too. Thankfully, it didn't.
Then he starts reefing on my mouth. And I notice out of the corner of my eye that my dentist has rolled up his sleeves. He's prepared for some work. Some tough work. "Open your mouth" he says. Uh,okay...well I thought it was open. But just to clarify, Dr. Dentist...my mouth is so frozen, all I can feel is my lower lip quivering every so often. Thanks for the reminder though.
And then I go to work. Literally. It still didn't really occur to me that this was a big deal. I'm still frozen. I feel no pain. I have gauze in my mouth to stop the bleeding and T3's in my pocket "in case" there's pain once the freezing wears off. Everyone has a good ol' laugh about the fact I can't talk, and then they all tell me I'm a "trooper" for being at work, and I try to smile and say, "ith nob tho bad..." About an hour and a half into my shift, the freezing wears off. "In case" my friggen ass...I have an abnormally low pain tolerance as it is, but holy mother of GOD...this pain is like all encompassing. It goes up the sides of my face, down my neck and along my jaw. It pulsates, it throbs, it aches. Plus I feel horribly nauseous from all the blood I've swallowed...I know, I know, Too Much Information...
Three days later, and I still can't eat solid foods. I'm eating yogurt and mushed up bananas and ice cream. My Tylenol is all gone, and the Advil doesn't work as well. I cannot clench my teeth. Every tooth hurts. I'm grumpy. I'm swollen. I'm wholly convinced that dentists really are very evil.
I'm totally stoked though, because I get to go back to the dentist in a week...to get a crown. Woo hoo, torture and a small fortune, too. Can't get much better than that, can you?