A Day In The Life - The Dentist.

Recently, an old filling came out of a back tooth, and the Kraken was released...   
I girded my loins for a root canal.  

Happily, my dentist discerned that re-doing the filling would (hopefully) take care of the pain, and that (hopefully) a root canal was altogether unnecessary (for now).  

My guy is a genius.   Some artists paint, some sculpt in clay.   His medium is assorted clove-scented polymers and space-age tools, used to craft air-tight fillings and crowns resembling real, beautiful teeth. 

Here is my normal dental procedure:  I sit in the chair, and am administered 7-13 shots of novacaine before the tooth is numb.   The actual number is determined by trial and error... 

"<tapping>  Do you feel this?  No?  Good."  <drilling commences>

<after about 8 seconds>  "I CAN FEEL IT."   These words are accompanied by a body arc normally indicative of demonic possession.     The drill is set down, and the needlegun o' magic makes a reappearance. 

Lather, rinse, repeat.

This is how dental work has been handled my entire adult life, spanning several decades, and both sides of the globe.  It works.  For that reason, I never ask them to deviate from the script.

Today, lauging gas - nitrous oxide - re-entered the anesthetic equation.  

My previous history with nitrous oxide:   I breathe it in.   The procedure is done.   An hour later, I start barfing.   The barfing ends anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours after that.   

On occasion, I am (still) reminded that my mom had to trade in a new car when I was in tenth grade, thanks to nitrous oxide.   I am in my mid-forties now, and the Chrysler-Barfgate scandal just. won't. go. away.

On one memorable occasion, nitrous oxide made me see imaginary people dancing on the ceiling.

So when that dainty little mask came out today, I explained (argued, pled) my barfing situation.  My implacable dentist noted this happens when someone administers too high a dosage.   There would still be novacaine, just a lot less.  

He somehow sold me on this idea.   My breakfast smoothie was a banana and three eggs.  I figured if that was going to come back up, it wouldn't burn too badly.   So I agreed.

I put on my Beatles playlist, and the little clear mask was slipped over my face.  

Eight bars into "Here Comes the Sun", I could feel the tension in my legs and shoulders giving way.

At sixteen bars, I experienced a momentary panic as the dentist and the tech stepped out.   What if I couldn't tell them that the gas was too much? 

I mean, what if THIS happens?

By eighteen bars into the song, I was drumming along with Ringo, my fingers tapping on the arms of the chair.   I realized I miss playing drums.   I remembered my old pair of ProMark hickory 5AL Ringo Starr drumsticks that I used when I was learning to play.   I still have them.  I had a moment of indulgent nostalgia about using those sticks.

About two seconds after drum-nostalgia, I noticed the TV.   They have them in every room, to distract the patients.   I gazed, rapt, at what was obviously a slow news day.   Nitrous oxide gives you the most delightful ADD.   You're aware that your attention span is short, and you don't care.   It's funny.  It's fun. 

This must be what a golden lab feels like every. single. day.

My legs, abs and shoulder muscles - where I carry most of my tension - all felt incredibly relaxed.

The next song - "Come Together" - cued up, and we were off.   Shots were administered, stuff was drilled.   A smell not unlike burning hair and metal filled the air.   I kept my eyes closed for the most part, just grooving, "one thing I can tell you is you got to be free"....  When I opened my eyes, I could see smoky clouds coming out of my mouth.   I didn't care.

At some point I was amused to see an ad on TV, for a different dentist, while I was at this dentist's office.   I wanted to laugh, but couldn't, as my mouth was full of equipment.

"Blackbird" came and went, fleeting and swift, as it always is.   The next song - "A Little Help From My Friends" was just starting, when the procedure was finished.   The mask came off.   I turned off the music, stashed phone and earbuds in my bag.   The over-relaxation went away.   I was aware of lingering silliness, but managed to keep it to myself.

By the time I got downstairs to my car, all systems were back to normal.   Gravity returned.   All my everyday muscle tension restored.  Ten minutes into my drive, the little bit of novacaine in my face wore off.   My jaw and gums feel tender, but the pain is mostly gone.

Fingers crossed.

"Here Comes The Sun" is on my must-learn, music-bucket list.

ETA:  Twelve hours after this procedure, I am happy to say there has been no barfing.   In case you wondered.


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