Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When Your Worst Fear Comes True

My worst fear is about to come true.  No, not the one where I am eaten alive by a great white shark, or the one where I have to base jump off a large building or the one where I have to give a speech in front of a thousand people and once on the podium I realize I forgot my speech.  No, this is so much worse than that and it sends petrified shivers down my spine and makes me want to scream crying “Why me?  WHY ME?!”  You see, after thirty something years of flawless dental care, having never had a single cavity and after 16 months of orthodontic hell, this week I learned that I need to get a fucking root canal.  And I am terrified!
I have always been proud of myself for my very exemplary dental care.  I brush my teeth two to three times a day, floss more frequently than a crack whore gets laid and have my teeth professionally cleaned every three to six months.  The reason I think I have been so meticulous in caring for my teeth is the fact that, deep down, I am scared of dentists.  Ever since I can remember the weird sounds echoing from the dentist chair into the waiting area had me breaking out in a cold sweat, had me clenching my fists so hard that my knuckles went white and caused me to develop a weird facial tick every time I walk through a dentist’s door.  The sound of drilling gives me nightmares and I have always vowed that I would never ever have a cavity or any dental issue that require the dentist to drill holes into any of my teeth.  But alas you don’t always get what you want and sometimes nightmares come true.  Life is a bitch like that.

Last week after my braces came off my orthodontist (Dr Antoinette du Toit) checked my teeth.  After the cement was removed and some of my teeth were reshaped it appeared as if some of my teeth got damaged and needed to be fixed.  She also noticed that I had four teeth that were about to form cavities and she referred me to her daughter, who is a dentist, to get fillings for those identified teeth as a proactive and preemptive fuck you to tooth decay.  Having never had a cavity in my life (I do feel that I cannot emphasize this enough) I was understandably nervous to get fillings.  I knew that there would be drilling involved and I needed to prepare myself mentally.  So I did what any self-respecting homosexual would do – I took a tranquilizer before my appointment.
Arriving at Dr Roos’s practice (I have threatened that I would blog about her so she can’t fuck anything up) the receptionist could tell that I was nervous as all hell.  I was trembling like a caffeine addict at a decaf convention.  After scribbling down some of my details in my rather illegible handwriting I was ushered into the exam room, sat down on the chair and possibly told Dr Roos ten times that I was nervous.  So she looked at me and said “Everybody hates dentists and everybody is nervous, so don’t worry about it I won’t hurt you”.  This was then affirmed by her assistant and I was promised that I wouldn’t feel a thing.  I didn’t believe either of them and I was wondering whether they had any restraining straps hidden in the room somewhere because I was convinced that they may have to tie me down at some point.

Before the dentist started she explained to me, like I was a six year old, exactly what she was about to do.  I found it comforting and in situations like this talking to me like I am a toddler is weirdly appropriate, mainly because I was milliseconds away from running away and behaving like an emotionally disturb child who just saw Satan.  After I calmed down she started.  I was injected numerous times with anesthetic and my whole upper lip right to the tip of my nose was numb.  She repaired some teeth that was identified and did two filling and an hour later it was all done and I did not feel a thing exactly as she had promised.  Then she said “We need to talk about that one lower tooth”.  Knowing that something wasn’t quite right with it I tried to avoid the conversation completely, much like one would avoid telling your parents about when and how you lost your virginity.
But my avoidance skills and talent for sailing down the river of denial was no match for the dentist and she skillfully forced me to accept what she was saying.  That tooth is busy dying and I needed a root canal.  Apparently a root canal is done over two sessions of an hour each.  They drill into your tooth and then scrape out the nerve.  Not exactly a walk in the park or a fun visit to the petting zoo now is it?  My first reaction was to scream in my head “Motherfucking son of a bitch! Why me?! Why now?!”  After avoidance failed I went to my second defense mechanism and tried to negotiate my way out of the root canal.  But the more I tried the deeper I was drilling myself into that bloody hole of that root canal.  In the end I had to agree and I am getting the root canal next week.

Driving away from the dentist I cried.  Actually I sobbed.  I drooled too because my upper lip was still numb and just hanging there ignoring all instructions given to it from my brain.  That evening when I got home I wrapped myself in a blanket of self pity and resorted to annoy my husband to the point of him almost going crazy.  He could not understand what the big deal was and I explained why it was a big fucking deal until I was satisfied that he understood.  In reality he didn’t understand and still doesn’t.  People on Facebook also tried to better the situation.  Some said it’s painless and that I have nothing to worry about and other people said it hurt worse than child birth.  I don’t know who to believe and I guess I will have to find out for myself.
I am looking forward to this root canal as much as a death row convict is looking forward to the electric chair.  My worst fear is being realized and there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening.  If I don’t have it done the consequences could be far worse and could lead to far more horrifying problems.  So I guess I will take some prescription tranquilizers before my root canal and try and find out if my dentist has some Nitrous Oxide because I will fucking need both!  It just goes to show, no matter how well you look after your pearly whites anyone can get a cavity and some of us assholes will end up getting a root canal.  Fuck!

Till next time.


Kris Landt said...

I had a root canal a couple of years ago, and the procedure itself wasn't painful, but the recovery for the next 3 days was EXQUISITELY painful. I have an extremely high pain threshold, and usually just power through pain without ever needing analgesics of any kind. I have to be honest, on the second or third day after the root canal, I experienced the worst pain I'd ever felt in my life. It actually brought tears to my eyes. It's a nerve pain, probably from the swelling which occurs up under the gums, and from the denervation of the tooth itself. I would STRONGLY advise getting her to send you home with a prescription for hydrocodone or oxycodone tablets; you will definitely need them! I hope the procedure and recovery will go well for you.

Pierre le Roux said...

Thanks for the heads up. Now I am really scared!

James Wei said...

I hope you have an uneventful day from the dental torture you might face with.

The truth about health is that a lot of problems were never curable. The cause was very often intricately linked to our genetic make up. The rest of maintenance care and health monitoring were often there to add items to our insurance company to charge our premiums further...

Pierre le Roux said...

James you're right.

Anonymous said...

While I have spent way too many hours in a dentist's chair. Had more root canals, fillings and extractions than I care to remember, I will admit I am still very nervous when visiting the dentist. It's just something we all seem to hate. I think my dentist is the best, but an still scared to visit him in his surgery. Much prefer seeing him out at a club.

So, wish you the best of luck and hope it all goes well.


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