It’s probably a really bad idea to read a book about torture right before going to the dentist. If I had thought it through, I wouldn’t have done that. I would have waited until after I got a crown on my molar to read “Ghost Soldiers”, a book about Japanese prison camps and torture during WWII. But gosh do I love books about WWII, and I tore through that book. I want to read every book in the bibliography.
Like any good book, though, the words and pictures were still swimming around in my head today as I was looking up at my captors in that brightly lit, white room. They were looking back at me and holding their cold metal instruments with no expressions on their faces, because they had protective masks on. I started thinking about what stood between me and the misuse of those instruments. “Okay, they’re here to help me”. And I started thinking about how many times they told me to take care of that molar, and how I don’t floss twice a day even thought I’m supposed to. Just what is the nature of our relationship? I mean, I’m supposed to give them money after they do stuff to me with those tools, but that money is really coming from my dental insurance. What if they want to do dental research on my mouth? What if they just want to hurt me? And then the dentist gave me a shot in the inside hinge of my jaw, and I experienced pain I haven’t felt in a long, long time, because normally when something hurts me, I take a pill to make it go away, and in the meantime, I scream. Only I couldn’t scream, because my mouth was full of the dentist’s fist, and also we’d have to stop and then restart the procedure. I had to just roll my eyes back into my head and wonder how much pain the human body can endure, just like I’d have to during torture. I mean, isn’t pain just in the perception? Well then the pain can’t be that bad, right? If I’m able to think in complete sentences? And then I thought about how unnatural it is to give complete control of your lower jaw over to two people you barely know. I started chatting with them and joking around while we all waited for the Lidocaine to kick in. They chatted back with me through the masks and observed me while I looked up a them, my eyes searching theirs for some sort of information as to their immediate plans, my heart thumping wildly. All the while I sat waiting to get poked at with those instruments and drills, mostly trusting them.
So now I’m at home eating applesauce and feeling silly. Not because of my mental dramalogue, but because I can only talk with one side of my face, and I have a thick lisp that I’ll continue to have until the Lidocaine wears off. Also the dentist said something about Lidocaine having an adrenaline inducing side-effect.
The dentist did a wonderful job on my tooth.