Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Morning at the Dentist

      Nobody likes going to the dentist, right? That's something we learn early on as small children. Who really wants to go sit in a big, uncomfortable chair while a stranger pokes and prods around in your mouth? Fortunately my dentist is a family friend, so I no longer have to deal with the stranger part. However, about 3 weeks ago I decided I absolutely hate going to the dentist for 100% certain. I came to this conclusion after a tearful cleaning visit, during which I discovered that apparently my mouth was full of cavities. Yes, I actually cried in the dentist's chair. No, the hygienist didn't laugh at me, but instead handed me a tissue and assured me it was going to be all right. After several nose-blowings and a quick "pull yourself together, Charissa" from myself, I made an appointment to get all the cavities filled at once, which would sound braver if I actually had the guts to say how many cavities I had.  Well, today was the day of the fillings. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to it, especially after I signed up to work until 3 o'clock this morning. 
      So, there I was at 9:30 this morning after a 4 hour "nap," sitting uncomfortably in that big beige chair, trying to decide what TV show I should choose for this completely un-fun occasion.  I settled on HGTV as the hygienist explained nitrous gas to me and strapped a gray rubber mask to my nose. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed that stuff and had no problem huffing it in through only my nose as directed. After about ten minutes I had found my "happy place" and casually flipped through the TV channels while I waited for the dentist. As I was flipping I stumbled upon a low-budget show on which the host and hostess were both drinking coffee. I decided I should have my own TV show called "Coffee with Charissa." Catchy, isn't it? I certainly thought so! HGTV was way too boring when I was feeling so good, so Gilmore Girls it was for the remainder of the two and a half hours I spent sitting in that chair with my mouth all the way open. 
      Occasionally the hygienist or the dentist would instruct me to "open wider," which had never before seemed like a difficult command to follow. However, even my ears were numb and so I had a bit of a hard time trying to decide exactly where my jaw was. I also encountered that problem in the beginning of the nitrous gas administration when reminded to "breathe in and out through your nose." "Where's my nose?" I wondered on more than one occasion. Not to worry, I eventually found it every time.  About three-fourths of the way through, the dentist had to take a break to see another patient.  The hygienist kindly turned off the nitrous so I could stumble to the restroom.  I honestly have no idea how I got there and back without injuring myself, but I made it safely back to the chair, where I nixed the idea of more gas. I've never felt that sleepy or relaxed in my entire life and was very much doubting the previous statement that the gas wouldn't affect me after oxygen administration.  
      Finally, after I didn't think my jaw could take much more, I was finished. I found my way out to the door of the waiting room, where I stood in a semi-stupor while my mother gathered her bag of crafts and books and followed me to the receptionist's desk.  I cannot tell you how thankful I was that she had come to pick me up and that I didn't have to endanger others by climbing behind the wheel.  
      All in all, this morning's experience was entirely humbling.  I no longer have a perfect mouth, I'm obviously very affected by "laughing gas," and I drooled the whole way home. Thankfully the numbness has worn off, I caught up on my sleep, and now am only having to deal with a sore jaw. I managed to slurp down a very thin green smoothie, but am otherwise learning to ignore my tummy's grumbling the second I try to open my mouth. 
      The good part of this whole thing is that today is day 1 of my four-day weekend.  It can only get better from here!  I hope you were able to chuckle a little bit at this story....I sure did! 

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