Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Fraidy Cat VS the Endodontist

rubber gloves,  bright lights...what--no rubber hoses?
I love my dentist.  He must love me because he has kept me on as a patient even tho' I'm sure they must have to re-upholster their chair arms every time I darken the office door. They probably think I am part cat-woman and have retractable claws given the damage I do holding on for dear life till they are done with  my annual inspection and tune up. I'm probably the reason dentists employ the use of gas, but for personal reasons that have nothing to do with rehab or a 12-step program, I avoid that stuff.  Being the fraidy cat that I am, I would belly up to the inhalation mask any old day but for one tiny little thing that I have not lived down in 30 years.

Roughly 30 yrs ago, they juiced me up good to get me thru oral surgery for wisdom teeth extraction.  Just before I sauntered off to la-la land, the oral surgeon walked in. Oh, my mercy! I could tell that, behind that mask, he was a tall drink of water (Southern speak = a hottie).  You understand I was not in control of my faculties?  I had probably already signed in blood that I would not make any important decisions or sign any life altering papers in the next 2 days. I don't recall them signing any to say my pre-op secrets were safe with them.  I've always wondered......

Oh! My, MY mercy, I looked up into his baby blues and said, "Are you married because if you aren't, I'm going to ask you out...."

When he said, "Yes," he was married, I snapped my fingers and said, "Geez, all the good ones are married." I then looked up at the ceiling and apprised the fella that if they were in need of the AC vent, someone better grab it because it was slip sliding away out the door. I tell myself that I'm long since forgotten and that I was not one of the more colorful patients of his career.  Nonetheless, that should have been enough to dissuade me from the use of gas for medical procedures. 

But, NOOOO!  I celebrated my 50th birthday with that cursed and obligatory colonoscopy.  I had practiced subliminal suggestion for a week before by telling myself that while I was under the influence, I would speak ONLY of real estate. I mean...what kind of trouble can you get into talking about that subject?  Well, my plan did not work.  I was sleeping deliciously when I became vaguely but urgently aware that I was on my belly being rocked back and forth from side to side.  I heard some stranger talking to some stranger person who was gently assuring me that he was my husband. Hah! What'd he take me for--a suggestible lunatic?

The lady had a firm grip on my shoulders and was practicing some kind of weird post-colonoscopy chiropractic cleanse. She said something like, "Don't worry. We see this all the time.  It just takes a while to get the air expelled that we introduce during the procedure."

I was ILL.  I was taking the BEST nap of my LIFE...and those 2 chatterboxes were about to nudge me into consciousness.  According to the stranger that I promised to love, honor, and obey on every other leap year, I raised up as much as I could and said, "Why don't you people LEAVE ME ALONE?  I never get to go ANYWHERE or do ANYTHING, and now that I finally have, you won't let me enjoy myself!"  (Have I mentioned I don't get off the farm...I mean out of the house...much?)

Apparently, I nodded off for a microsecond and then finished them off with, "And don't worry about any gas I need to expel, I come from a world champion line of censored (but roughly begins w/ 'p--t' and ends with 'ers')."  Let me tell you, that was NOT my Mamma's proudest moment given the fact that we owned stock in Lifeguard at the rate she used it washing out our mouths during childhood. I think I can rest my case now re the use of gas for my medical procedures?

I shoulda kept right on walking....really....
I would have loved some today. My dentist recently informed me that I had graduated up in the world of dentistry and was going to get to go to see his pal the endodontist.  He patted my arm knowingly and promised to send me to someone who'd understand my inner fraidy cat self. I honestly think when he patted my arm,  he was just trying to check the state of the arm on my exam chair.

Today got here, and I was my usual fraidy cat self. It was bad enough that I got lost in my own home town and a 20" ride took 45".  I had to be talked in by the front office like they were running a ground traffic control center.  I muttered some cover story about my husband having just had surgery hoping they'd take pity on me.

I entered the door to the sound of rubber gloves being snapped and the words, " can take her on  back. YIPPEEE! I wondered if they had matching rubber hoses back there too! I tried not to imagine a pack of salivating wolves, but my hands started to quake on the walk to 'the room'.  I guess Dr. M had forewarned them because Dr. N immediately started telling me about what to expect in that quiet, calming  way of people who got a master's degree in hypnosis. I am sure dentists have to take a course or 2 in surreptitious hypnosis just because of people like me.

To make it all the more fun, they had a prospective dental student in for the day to observe. I agreed to his presence figuring I could make him my partner in blog-crime by getting him to snap some lovely pictures mid way thru.  I felt I should do something like foam at the mouth to convince him that dentistry was NOT his calling.  So, I launched my campaign to nudge him in to something kinder and gentler like, oh, I don't know--sword throwing maybe.  I guess I made the doc nervous 'cause as soon as he shot me up good, he snatched that kid out of the room to some safer corner of the office.

I was sitting there waiting on my face to grow numb and blow up like he had just implanted a coconut when I discovered an escape route! I could still turn back! I had to go to the bathroom! One of his kind assistants walked me around the corner. I'm thinking given my successfully demonstrated command of directions, she probably had ulterior motives for walking me all the way there. Once she was sure I knew which door was mine, she left me alone to ponder my immediate future.

I had a HUGE urge to just keep on walking right down the hall and out the front door. There was a clear shot between me and victory.  The only thing that made me abort the plan was that I had heard stories of people in need of a root canal yanking out their own teeth with a set of pliers while waiting for their appointment. There was that and the fact that the prospective dental student had a bird's eye view of the hallway. He looked like the kind of kid that would have ratted me out on U-tube. And..there's enough about me out there already...or will be when I get it edited.

So, given that I didn't want to go out in public drooling on myself without a reasonable explanation,  I decided to stay put and endure.  Just about the time I reached the drooling point, Dr. Sunshine came back in the door and told me it was going to hurt him more than it was going to hurt me. Or at least....I think that is what he said. I think it is what he should have said since that is what my mamma always said when she was about to begin delivering an old fashioned whoopin'. The truth of the Southern gospel is it ALWAYS hurt me more than it hurt my mamma, so you can see where I'm going here, can't you?

Me--on anesthesia...see why I don't do gas?
It was over in about 30". I survived. They even gave me a bite sized Hershey Bar on the way out the door.  What a joint!  The most I've ever gotten before was floss, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash.  Oh, wait! I forgot about that hypnosis thing.  Do I smell a chocolate laden plot in which I was rendered helpless by hypnosis? 

Chocolate>sugar>decay>cavity>filling>potential root canal some day in the future>referal from dentist back to endodontist>job security. Ha! It's a good thing I didn't opt for the gas today! I saw that plot coming a mile away.  Still in all...the chocolate was good.  Scuse me...gotta go wash the chocolate drool off my shirt.  I really shouldn't have eaten it IN the parking lot right after the procedure while my mouth was still numb!

(With much thanks to Drs. Jason McKowsky and Christopher S. Noel and all their wonderful staffers for enduring a fraidy cat like me!)


  1. I'm glad you had fun! I'm never going to one again! If I can help it. Yeah, right. Where's the verse? How about a tooth for a tooth?

  2. So proud of you Fraidy for not walking out of the door! :)

  3. Believe me...I really, honestly DID consider it. I might be old, but I am quick on my feet when I have to be. It woke me up Sunday AM hurting, so I knew it was only going downhill from here. Neither doc could figure out why the nerve died. No cavity or crack in the tooth ever. They were both stumped. I'm so original...what can I say?

  4. Sounds like the gas brings out "Nancy". LOL!

  5. Next time I go to the dentist, I'm demanding chocolate!! :)