Friday, May 14, 2010

Numb Me Up, Scotty

Ow. OW. OW. OW. OW.
Stupid dentist visit.
Stupid granola bar.  I was eating my Planters Nut Energy bar, trying to figure out how to scan its barcode on my new iPhone app (The Daily Burn-- I love/hate it, check it out--it scans barcodes for nutritional information) and I realized I had something stuck in my tooth.  Then I realized. . . no. . . there wasn't something stuck to my tooth, there was somet hing missing from my tooth.  I had lost a filling.  By the next morning, I thought maybe I had lost a crown.  Hard to say, really.  From one tooth to another in my mouth, it's really a crap shoot.  Off to the dentist, who surprises me with his answer.

"Your filling is intact, Christy.  You've broken the tooth all around it."

That's a new one, even for me.

Let the numbing begin.  Topical first, then the giant needle full of Novacaine.  And when the humongous drill headed for my mouth I tried to relax, tried to remember that I was numb and wouldn't feel a thing.  But I did feel it, and I jumped.

"Is that sensitive?"

"I think so, or maybe it's just me," I said.  The dentist laughed at me, which I rather appreciated.  But I actually meant it.  Was I imagining it?  More anesthetic.  Wait a little longer.  Try again.

Drill.  Jump.

"I'm sorry," I said.  "It's not horrible, but I can feel it."

"You don't have to be sorry," he said.  "I'm going to be doing a lot of work there.  But this is a new anesthetic, and it works great on most people.  Let's give you a few more minutes.  You shouldn't have to feel it."

"How about you just knock me out?"  I ask.  Everyone laughs, but I'm totally not kidding.  I hear the drill, and I'm thinking of the scene from "A Million Little Pieces," you know, the fake memoir about the drug addict, in which the author writes about enduring dental surgery with no anesthesia.

Put a hood of laughing gas over my head.  Knock me out.  Time warp me to the eighties and bring me back.  I hate this so much.  I am now ripping a Kleenex to shreds in one hand, and gripping my thigh with another.  He's coming back.   My body is shaking.  Can they see?  I can feel the numbing working all through my skull, but I swear my tooth is totally awake.

"Let's check."  Check?  It seems like there should be some controlled way to check without drilling into my tooth and see if it hurts.

It did.  Again.  But quite a bit less.  And this time, I did think it was the panic talking, and I said so.

"Are you okay?" he asks.  "I am," I answer.  "It felt sensitive for a second, but now it's fine."

I am deep breathing.  I am trying to forget where I am.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  My nose itches.  Breathe.  Finally, the drilling is done, and it is time for the gels, the pastes, the bands, the pressure.  I can do this, I think to myself.  I can do anything after enduring my own personal Million Little Pieces.  Then he taps my gum with his sharp little explorer.

"Can you feel this?"

"Gyaaah."    Translation.  Are you kidding me?  You touch one tiny spot in my mouth and I can feel it?  After three shots I still can feel my gums?  Why can I feel my gums??

"I'll numb you a little more.  I need to insert a metal band there, and it will irritate the gum."

Super.  Bring on the hypodermic.  I can't feel the shot, but I think I feel the drugs rushing to the gums, and maybe to my brain.  I can't feel the dentist opening my mouth.  I can hardly even see the dentist because by this point, I think my eyes are numb.  There has finally, finally, FINALLY been enough medication administered.  But I'm not sure, because I think my feelings are numb.

Have I mentioned that I take 6 pills a day in order to NOT get a headache?  Is it any wonder that I am. . . um. . . numb to the effects of numbing pain?  Bring on the big guns, Doc.  I require big meds to feel no pain.

"You were stubborn with that anesthesia today," he tells me when it's over.
I'm thinking, "Don't be so stingy with the meds, Dude."
Don't judge me for being rude in my head.  I'm was a little dopey.

If I remember correctly, I spent about a 1/2 hour with my dentist after the appointment trading iPhone apps.  I wonder what recommendations I gave him with my droopy mouth and slurred speech.

And now, eight-and-a-half hours later, I'm still numb.  It's just wearing off and starting to hurt.  I can't pronounce any F or PH sounds, but I still managed to eat a Chipotle Bowl.  Granted, I had to use bottles of hot sauce to taste it, and much of it slid out of my mouth, but I made a good effort.

From a prone position on the couch, about to not be stingy with a few more pain pills,
Christy Chaf(drool)e

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