Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No amount of mental-rehearsal could have prepared me for this

So as I mentioned, I had the second half of a root canal yesterday. I thought that the worst part was over from my last visit and that they were just going to put in the permanent filling and I would be on my way. no no no. but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start a bit earlier in the day...

... when I called Drake in a terrible panic and asked him to distract me with his plans for my birthday cake. He said he had no plans yet and I panicked further and said, DRAKE! it's in two days!! and he says that he *didn't* snap back "I'll take care of it!" he just said it. But I interpreted snapping and that was the first time I cried that day. poor poor Drake....

When I got to the Dentist's office I promptly asked the nurse if I could listen to my ipod, and she asked the dentist and he said yes (YES!!) Life was much much better with the ipod, I'll say that right now.
I had "mentally rehearsed" this appointment, and rehearsal included my bravery/distraction during the novacaine shot, my tolerance of the new filling, and my miserable self-pity at home lounging on the couch later. If only.....

Have you had a root canal? I think that he built a tiny campfire in my mouth... that's all I can think of. I refuse to do any "actual research" about what comprises the "actual process" of a root canal for fear that I see "actual pictures." At one point, when I was left to "process chemicals" I realized how absurd I must look-- sitting upright with the mouth protector (which felt more like the mouth-invader or the mouth-stretcher or the mouth-violator) and knitting a tea cozy. I have never felt more absurd. There I was, listening to "I wish I had an evil twin" by The Magnetic Fields and knitting a tea cozy. No big whoop. Nothing unusual here....

So the tiny campfire. I opened my eyes a couple times (why??? why did I do it!?) and saw a series of what looked like tiny match sticks going into my mouth/tooth. There were probably 20 of them. Did he take them out? are they still in there? Did he burn them and actually make a campfire in my mouth protector? There was definitely smoke. I saw it several times. I didn't panic outwardly. I was afraid that if I did the fire might spread.

I will not go into any further detail, but I encourage you, if you have not had a root canal before and are suddenly surprised with one, to ask someone to tell you about it so that you can mentally rehearse. Cause I sure didn't see this coming. It's probably for the best, because my pre-performance panic would have been something fierce and wrathful.

I don't expect however, that yours will end as summarily perfectly as mine did. After the Mouth Protector was removed, I couldn't close my mouth on my own anymore-- (I think it's like when your arm falls asleep and you have to pick it up with your other arm, and you can play the whole "why are you hitting yourself?" game.) He closed my mouth, and I must have looked totally traumatized, because he said "I know that's uncomfortable, but I have to do it that way and here's why"

And I'm not joking when I tell you that he picked up a very large syringe and held it centimeters from my nose. I'm not sure what effect he was trying to provoke, I think he wanted me to smell it. He said it smelled like bleach. I couldn't smell anything because I was starting to lose my hearing and my heart was trying to escape the room. I managed to say "Um, why are you poking my greatest fear in my face?" and he must have thought I was joking, because he DID IT AGAIN! and said "what, you don't smell that?" And to my credit, I think because of the absurdity of the situation, I didn't faint. Instead I said, "look, we've done so well thus far, you need to put that back on the table before I faint and knock out all your hard work."
Know thyself.

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