I must have looked like Death Warmed Over when I staggered into my dentist’s office just as they were opening on Friday morning. They gave one quick glance and I was rapidly escorted back to The Chair. My dentist joked with me a moment about how I looked like I was on my last nerve or something like that. Normally, I love a good pun, but I this time I could barely muster up a faint smile.
While he left to do something the assistant brought me a blanket and gently placed it over me. I was overcome by her kindness and, to my horror, burst into tears. Right about that time the dentist walked back into my room and was distressed to find me bawling. He was sure that I was offended by his bad joke and immediately started apologizing.
When we finally got that straightened up, I was offered the “laughing gas”…to help make me less nervous. I knew that I wasn’t nervous, just overly emotional, they apparently didn’t quite believe that. I waffled back and forth for a moment as I really don’t like being in control. They reassured me that it was perfectly harmless, so I finally agreed to give it a try. The first few minutes I nice and relaxed…and maybe a little tipsy…as though I had drank a glass of wine. The dental crew apparently decided that was a good sign, so they upped the dosage and left me alone again for a moment.
Suddenly, I felt as though I had drank waaaaay too much. The room was spinning and I felt nauseous. I opened my eyes and realized that everything was in black and white. In a panic, I ripped the gas mask off of my face and breathed in the fresh air. As the effects of the gas wore off, I realized that if I removed the tinted glasses I had been given to wear, the world was back to its full range of color.
We finished up the root canal without much more incident. Well, if you don’t count the dentist dramatically ripping off his latex glove to show us the horrible scar on his hand. I don’t remember what we were talking about at the time (OK, he was talking, I was grunting) but I think I’ll always remember the scar.
There must be something to this “looking horrible” tactic as the pharmacist located in the grocery store next to my dentist clucked over me and rushed my prescriptions. After the “counseling session” to explain all the side effects and such, she admonished me to hurry home and get to bed.
So I did. And I stayed there for most of two days. Today, thanks to my dentist and the makers of Penicillin and Vicodin I feel good.