Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I had forgotten all about it.
A dentist appointment - for Drew and I - today at 4:30 pm.

We were both getting fillings.
I thought I'd be home by 6:30 to prepare myself and my house for the friends I had coming over at 7:30.

Drew's appointment was over in 17 minutes, and then it was my turn.
"What'm I getting done today?" I asked the assistant as she put a blue bib on me.
"A root canal," she replied.
"WHA!? Seriously?"
"You didn't know? He didn't tell you?"
"Noooo. When I had my check up he asked me if one of those molars was bothering me and I said no. And he said he'd better get a look at it... Really? A root canal? I have company coming at 7:30 ... I'll be done by then, right?"
"You should be done, but I doubt you're going to feel like visiting."
"Nah, I'll be fine. It's just that I still have to get a dessert."

Dr. Lee comes in and adjusts my chair and tries to freeze my mouth but my abnormally large tongue apparently got in the way, even though he repeatedly asked me to retract it. (Wha the? What does that even mean?) He tried freezing me in the upright position hoping that "gravity would work in his favor by keeping my tongue down"... (Seriously. Who else has wayward tongue issues?) ... to no avail. So he asked his assistant to help with my tongue (I KID YOU NOT), so I had 4 hands inside my mouth because of my rogue tongue.

After they had finished wrestling my bucking bronco of a tongue into submission, they put that clamp on my back tooth and adjusted the rubber dam over the lower half of my face. When she added a bite block the size of a baseball to the other side of my face, I panicked. Which I NEVER do. I've spent hours and hours and hours at the dentist and had every conceivable type of work done. Sometimes I fall asleep because I'm so darned relaxed. With no drugs. All the poking and drilling and stretching and buffing and filling? A piece of cake.

But today? Panic attack.
She took the bite block out.
He started drilling.
I had a tremendous urge to yawn.
A tremendous urge to do a huge yawn; A BIG WIDE OPEN MOUTH, FILL-MY-LUNGS-AND-FACE-WITH-AIR type of yawn.
Know what? You can't do that when there's a dam across your mouth, a suction tube hanging out the corner of your lips, a drill on your molar and a phobia about your tongue. And it's all encompassing. This need to yawn becomes bigger than your need to blink. Bigger than your need to breathe normally. Bigger than your need to not feel pain. Every atom in your head screams, "YOU NEED TO GET BIG AIR. Y-A-W-N..."

"Dear God. Please help me. Take this yawn thing away. Make it stop. Help me to calm down and just breathe through my nose. Pleas... EWWWWWW GROSSSS! What is that smell? Oh, God, Oh God OhGodOhGodOhGod... is that coming from my tooth? Is that what an abscess smells like? Oh, make it go away. Oh.This is awful. Awful. Awful. Please make it stop. So embarrassed. So very very embarrassed. Oh.He's gagging. He's turning away and choking. This is awful. She's coughing. Oh I'm going to throw up. This smells like death. And it's coming from a hole in the back of MY mouth. I have to stop breathing through my nose, I'm going to die."

I try to mouth breathe for awhile, but it's hard, cuz of all the aparatatus. And before I know it, I need to yawn again. This man does not get paid enough. I want to crawl away. And take the green cloud of putridness that is likely hovering over my face with me. And then I want to do the biggest, fattest yawn in the history of yawning.

After 14 hours of praying, panicking, dying he walks away and she does an xray. "Here, let's get this piece of cardboard rigggghhhht overrrrr hereeeere. WOW. You sure have a tiny mouth. No wonder he was having trouble with your tongue."
SERIOUSLY? We're back to that again?
"Maybe you can hold this in place? Where's your finger?"
I hold up my right index finger and insert it into a frozen mouth and have no frame of reference. It could have ended up my nose with the way I was feeling.
"Wow. Look how small your fingers are. Are you even going to be able to get your hand in?"

I am 50 freaking years old and have just about had it with my big this's and my freakishly small those's. And that smell? Good gravy? Is it going to follow me everywhere?

Xray done.
More drilling.
More internal gagging.
More watching the clock.

Finally. I get a temporary filling. Book another appointment. Stop at ABC to get a Strawberry Pie, get Drew to his friend's house and arrive home at 7:20 pm. I whip some cream, put on water for tea, light 20 candles, and YAAWNNNN. There is nothing as physically satisfying as a yawn. Well, maybe one other thing. I can't remember for sure.

Then I sit back and swap God stories with the friends I prayed with when Murrayville Church closed down. I LOVE evenings like this. SO much to be thankful for. So many prayers being answered. So wonderful to have friends who are OK that my mouth is small and my tongue is big.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Strawberry Pie
2. Long, conversation-filled evenings.
3. That dentists (and God) can see deep inside you where things are rotting and patiently, with little tiny saws, get rid of the decay.



Anonymous said...

Did he really truly gag???

Anonymous said...

Either I'm a pervert or you made a sex reference!
Jane! There might be mennonites reading this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me laugh all over again -- you are a storyteller extraordinaire :)