Trip at the Dentist

So yesterday I broke a tooth while munching on hard sourdough pretzels at home. I wasn’t in any pain, but I knew I would have to call the dentist and see him. So I called late in the afternoon and sure enough they scheduled me for 7:30 this morning. Joy. So this morning I woke at the usual time and left early for the long walk to the dentist.

Deep breaths, deep breaths, prayer mantras, deep breaths… slow and steady, imagine your somewhere else.

Once I was seated in the chair and they took a look at what they had to work with the dentist – a new guy I’d never had before which just adds to my anxiety – starts to explain the procedure to me and show me a short video of the deal. I ask him to stop and explain that all of that just adds to my anxiety. Yes, yes, anything at the dentist can add to my anxiety apparently. They give me a local and then a shot of Novocaine and do an x-ray to check out the whole area and then bring me back to my seat and ask if I’m numb… but I’m not. I wonder if being a drug addict/alcoholic has raised made me less susceptible to Novocaine as I almost always need two shots. Then they start the nitrous oxide, which I get to try to calm me down more, they leave me to let all the drugs take effect… Then the unexpected happens, unexpected for me but one of the dental hygienists says its common.

I start to trip out. I mean full blown hallucination trip to never never land. The world started spinning away. Words, music and sounds started to skip and warp into unrecognizable noises. Though still in the dentist chair I feel like I’m speeding forward and a thousand miles an hour and can feel the wind blowing through my hair – when did I get hair? Then I was walking on a beach wondering how I got there and a very small part of me remembered where I was and struggled to grasp on to something real. I panic when nothing I grasp for is solid.  Damn this feels great, I’m not supposed to feel this way, I’m not supposed to do these things anymore. Then a small panic sets in an I wonder if I’ve relapsed and created an elaborate story where I’ve broken a tooth just so I could trip and get away with it. (I have drinking dreams like that sometimes, and I spend most of the dream wondering which reality is reality and which is dream)

Fortunately the dentist and his assistant come in then and while they’re working on me all the hallucinations stop, I’m stationary, I’m calm, I feel no pain – just the occasional feeling that I’m drowning when there is too much water in my mouth and before I know it they’ve stopped again and leave me for a short while – and zoom I’m off to the races again. The world warps away and is replaced by something else entirely that I know isn’t real and is just an effect of the gas – at this point I’m so freaked out about the experience I yank the gas off my face and breathe through my mouth for a good long while. When the dental hygienist comes in he asks what’s wrong…

I point to the gas and say “Nothing, everything, that was good and bad… I can’t have that anymore. I started hallucinating”

“Yeah, that happens a lot” he says

Never to me before, really shook me up today. Maybe they could just knock me out when I go to the dentist and wake me when it’s all over?

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