Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolates for the Dentist

Yesterday I had to go to the Dentist

            I peeked. He held in his hand an enormous metal syringe.  He pushed the plunger, just a little, and a drop of novocain beaded on the tip.
            "Don't worry." He said. "I'm very gentle."
            "I know." I said.  "But I'm going to cry anyway."
            He took my shoulder in a warm, reassuring grip. "I know." He said. And picking up the needle, he slid it in as smooth and light and delicate as silk. I didn't feel a thing.

            And that, unfortunately, was the last mutually positive moment of the whole experience. I had my happy music cranked, and all was peaches and cream and roses, or it would have been peaches and cream and roses, but the drill was buzzing and there were things flying against my tongue, and holy hell, those things were bits of my teeth-
And there was a little moment where we had to put the drill away because of tears and a middle-size panic attack.
            My happy music is the original Broadway recording of Cats.  Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat is divine for diverting attention, but the track only lasts four minutes and fifty-five seconds, and if you accidentally turn off the repeat button during a panic attack, you get something different right when you probably shouldn't.
            "Here we go!" The dentist cried, changing  his drill bit for something smaller and pointier - "Turn that music up!"
            So I did.  And it would have worked a treat, if we'd been bouncing along with the Gumbie Cat in the chorus where the cockroaches and mice do all the tapdancing, but the drill roared and I cranked and got -
            "Gus!  Is the Cat!  At the Theatre Door -
            Limpid -
            Plangent -
            Exquisitely slow -
            And the music stayed exactly where it was for sixteen consecutive bars of what sounded like water dripping on stones.
            There was another little moment.
            After the dentist had wiped my face clean of tears with the little paper apron dentists make you wear around your neck, we switched to Australian shearing songs and sea shanties, and went rollicking around Cape Horn - "Heave Away! Haul Away!" and the Dentist breathed steady for three whole minutes - 

            Which was the point at which he got through the enamel of the tooth right into what felt like the nerve direct. I'm pretty sure I owe him a box of chocolates. The expensive sort. If he'd only been a leetle more aggressive with the novocaine at the very beginning-     
            He tried to make it right. He pulled out the needle again. And again, until I was bleeding like a stuck pig from all the needles, and it still felt like he was drilling right on the exposed nerve of my molar.  I was a wreck and he was almost crying. The poor dear soul.
            I begged for the gas. He told me that in Chile, gas was restricted to use on small children under extremely specialized circumstances and he wouldn't even know how to do it.  I asked if he'd ever had a patient panic and try and knee him in the chin and run.  He said "No", but winced, and took a my shoulder in a firmer grip.

When it was all over, he leaned back in his chair and looked at me. 
            "You know what I'd do now, Tabubilgirl?" He said. "I'd go find a nice bar and have a stiff drink. A pisco sour, maybe. Not just one. Line them up on the bar - a whole line of pisco sours. And drink every single one of them. One after the other. Doesn't that sound wonderful? "
            I definitely owe him a box of chocolates. And if we ever have to do that again, I'm getting drunk first. Not pixilated, not tight, not pie-eyed, norcock-eyed, nor bent, but firmly, solidly pissed. They're going to have to pour me into the chair.  Prop me open with those little rubber wedgies. I intend to snore beatifically and aromatically through the entire thing. 

            The dentist would probably prefer that too.

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