Friday, June 22, 2012

I See Skies of Blue

I know there are dentists in the family {well, actually orthodontists} and so I must tread carefully in this post. Yeah, right, like I ever 'tread carefully'! I shouldn't even use those two words together in the same sentence when describing me! 'Bull in a china shop' or 'cow on ice' are a couple of terms that are a little closer at truthfully describing me - in either the actual moving about or metaphorically referring to the things I tend to verbalize. Anyway, here goes:

I have had more near death experiences {undocumented, of course, but real just the same} while in the dentist's chair than anywhere else! Yes! Even on the colonoscopy table.

Maybe these episodes are a result of the Happy Gas. Have I mentioned before that I have self-diagnosed myself with addictive personality traits? Well I certainly should have mentioned it because it's the absolutely truest of truths. So, yeah, Happy Gas and me are friends and I prefer not to lay blame on a friend.

A few years ago, I had to have a tooth pulled. Wait...let me go back further.

I remember it as a summer, but it could have been over the course of an entire year. All I know is I don't think I was even a teenager yet. During however long this course of time actually was, I lived in the dentist's chair. I think there were huge cavities in everyone of my molars. My mother was probably set back for years financially. Nightmares of pieces of black plastic hooked from one end of my mouth to the other with little clips on my teeth and big blocks stuck in between my upper and lower teeth to help hold my jaw open wide enough and being afraid I was going to choke on my saliva because I couldn't swallow it and not being able to spit in the little sink like real people are just a few of the visions that flash before my eyes when I think about that summer. Probably where I got my claustrophobia from, come to think of it.

Just as the rest of my body has so gracefully aged, so have my teeth. The fillings have come lose and slowly had to be replaced but sadly they leaked before I realized they were lose which means there was so much damage done that several of them have had to have root canals and crowns.

So back to a few years ago, I had to have a tooth pulled. There wasn't enough of it left after removing the aged filling. To say the hole in my mouth has made me self-conscious would be an understatement. I've actually felt like a Carny ever since. Or a Druggy. At work conversations will get started about how you can always tell when someone has lived a drug-ravaged life - they lose their teeth. Like I said I do have addictive traits. However in this case, I can honestly say my addiction was sugar and laziness when it came to brushing my teeth.

Anyhow, most recently I learned that a tooth with a root canal can actually get a fracture in one or all of the roots. This produces a bump of infection in the gum and a visit to the dentist BEFORE the scheduled annual appointment. At that appointment, the dentist then makes a referral to an oral surgeon and, yes, you guessed it - another tooth needs to be extracted. Yup, definitely going to get a booth in the carnival when the county fair rolls into town!

Well, I'm in the chair. The Happy Gas hose is placed over my nose and everyone leaves me alone in the room. Not good. That's when I realized my glasses weren't in my lap. I poked myself in
the eyes just to make sure I wasn't actually wearing them. I felt the top of my head
- nope. When a nurse came in, I asked her if someone had maybe taken them and set them on a counter but she couldn't see them anywhere. I asked
if they were on the floor but, after a few furtive glances to the floor, the answer was again, "No".

Why in heaven's name could I not find my glasses? I was sure I had Alzheimer's. Yup. My thoughts immediately went spiraling downward. Why is this stuff called Happy Gas if I was not happy?? I was now sure that if I didn't die in this dentist's chair on this day, then I was going to die an ornery old crotchety lady who could remember no one and nothing. I couldn't even see who I had forgotten because I had never found my glasses. Images of my lonely death filled my thoughts and then the tears started coming. As these thoughts were developing and building in my head, the dentist was in and out three or four {I lost count because the Happy Gas kicked in} times to deaden my gum and tooth area; proudly leaving one side of my mouth obviously more and more deformed and down-turned after each shot. I thought I had successfully blinked away my tears before the dentist made another entry. There must have been a streak on my face or something because he noticed. He patted me on the shoulder and handed me a tissue saying,
"Sorry, I made you tear up there. Are you okay?" My reply?

"I just don't want to die with a frown on my face! Will you please fix my mouth before you call the mortuary?"

He chuckled and left the room.

Abandonment! The single most hugest traumatic trigger in my entire existence! I was going to die alone. I stared around the room wondering if I'd recognize the 'bright light' when it appeared. Would it come from above or by my side? Were they going to come in next time and find me clinging to that overhead moveable light arm thing, trying to find a way in? I needed to find something to focus on that I would be happy if it were the last thing I saw in my earthly life. I found it. There was a bird on the window sill just outside the window. As it flew away {should I follow the bird? Maybe it's a bird not a light that will lead the way}, I saw a window full of blue skies. Out of everything within my line of vision, that's what I wanted my last earthly sight to be. And so I stared.

Staring leads to thinking and I was not sure I was living my life in such a way that I was ready to leave it on such short notice. In fact I knew I wasn't. How was anyone going to know that the last thing I saw was blue skies? How would anyone know that's what I wanted to see? I'm afraid too many would remember me grumpy or angry or wallowing in gray clouds with thunder and lightening. How does one not only live every moment as if it were their last but also live all the moments before their last so that everyone would know what their last moment was like?

I wanted everyone I love to know I not only looked at blue skies but I sought them out.

So, I now have a second request for whoever prepares me for my casket after I die {the first being to get my boobs out of my arm pits} - please make sure there is a smile on face!

FYI - I found my glasses. They had fallen into hinged area in the chair. Whoosh! Not dying from Alzheimer's today!


  1. I'm thinking about donating my body to science--that would take care of the boob problem. I don't ever get laughing gas--how come you do? I don't think I have ever had it--just shots in the gums--ouch! that hurts. Lots of Love.

  2. Sharon, you should visit her sometime when she's at the dentist then you'd understand why. :)

  3. Dear Janis, You are the furthest thing from a ornery old crotchety lady I have every met. I think this post is a sign you need more Max....but not the black juice.