Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I Have Become...Comfortably Numb

Thank you, God, for the good gift of DRUGS.

I'm speaking many hours later, after my 8 am appointment with dental destiny.

Amazing, what they can do nowadays. I admit to being a little bit afraid this morning, because I wasn't going to be knocked out for my procedure; the last time I had oral surgery, as I blogged earlier, I was so wacked out on Demerol and Versed that the only thing I remember of the whole thing was Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on the radio. Now, when I confirmed my appointment, the nurse had assured me that this extraction would be quick and painless, and I'd be able to drive myself to and from, but...I wasn't looking forward to this day.

The medical office had a nice saltwater aquarium -- clownfish and striking little neon blue fish and a big, friendly fish that actually seemed to be watching the action outside the glass. For some reason, in my life the nicer the waiting-room aquariums the worse the experience I've had in the medical office, so this pleasant underwater scene did not comfort me. A young woman came in; I figured a student from the university down the street; she had the look of someone in pain, someone also not particularly thrilled to be sitting in this office at ten minutes to 8:00.

Finally I was ushered by a nurse into the exam room. I got settled, and the doctor -- a kindly, avuncular older man -- gave me a hefty dose of numbzit. I sat alone for 15 minutes, doing the Jesus Prayer; then the doctor returned, tapped my tingling chin, started doing stuff inside my mouth while the nurse handed him things I couldn't see because I had my eyes closed. In what I think was a clever bit of parlor magic translated into dental work, he started counting; he stopped at two, started again and stopped at two again, then asked me an innocuous question that of course I couldn't answer; while I was trying to figure out how to respond the doctor suddenly announced, "It's out!" And that was it. And it turned out that a root canal wouldn't have been doable in my situation anyway, which also helped allay my fear that I hadn't chosen the best alternative.

So far I've been able to handle a late lunch of yogurt, baby food (strained bananas and plums rock...no wonder I was such a fat little kid) and lukewarm tea. Tonight I'm attempting chicken soup, from a big batch I made last night.

I wouldn't say that this would be my preferred way to spend a day off from work, but it wasn't quite as awful as I had imagined. RIP, old molar. Welcome back, strained fruit.


bls said...

Now this is funny. I was at the dentist this morning, too, getting a tooth prepped for a crown.

And I was saying the Jesus Prayer, too! I just bought some Anglican Prayer Beads and was praying with them tucked away in my jacket pocket, alternating the Lord's Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, and the Jesus Prayer (on the small beads).

Small word, ain't it?

(It's much nicer to feel the beads roll between your fingers and visualize green pastures and still waters, than to listen to the high-speed water drill chopping away at your tooth. Even though it was quite painless; dentisty is really, really good these days, isn't it?

I'm sure my serene calm was pleasing to the doc, too.)

LutheranChik said...

Oh, that is funny -- Jesus doing overtime in dentists' offices today. LOL And afterward, I felt a little embarrassed because the procedure was so quick and painless -- you know, here we are entering into an extended meditation of Christ's passion, and I'm whingeing and cringing and praying because of a tooth extraction that hurt less than the average paper cut. As Anne Lamott observed on TV the other day, if God doesn't have a sense of humor, I am so doomed...

Yes; the sound of the equipment is often as bad, if not worse, than the procedure itself.

LutheranChik said...

Meditation on.

Emily said...

I don't think it's silly--the only time I ever availed myself of the chaplain at seminary was when I was going to have my last two molars extracted.

Ron said...

Never met you but I share your joy-less-ness at the thought of dentistry. I'm a baptist youth pastor and, as such, I've considered immersing my dentist for an extended period of time. There are unfortunate legalities involved or the deed would have been done. I substitute my ipod for beads. And I've worked out this deal with my dentist (a sadist if ever there was one). If he causes ME pain ... my grasping right hand will cause HIM pain. Since making that promise he has kept me sufficiently numb.
Peace to your mouth.