Monday, July 11, 2011

At the Dentist

I had a dentist appointment today, which I wasn't exactly dreading but also wasn't excited about.  Mostly I wanted to call in sick for the whole universe, so the dentist was no exception.  And although it's a nice place and my chair of doom was facing a set of windows looking out on ivy-covered red brick buildings, and although they had cheery music on, I could feel, as soon as sat down, that I wanted nothing to do with the foolishness that would ensue.  I suddenly felt like all of this fuss about our teeth must be absurd, since my teeth are working just fine, thank you very much, and what if I just suddenly tore the little bib off and in an instant became one of those people that simply does not do the dentist thing?  What then?

But I stayed, dreading and dreading it, as the faces began hovering over me, and a pina colada flavored stick of numbing gel met my gums, and then the sting of a shot, and strange orange glasses they made me wear over mine, I assume to prevent tooth dust (!) from getting in my eyes.  And I thought, see, okay, I'm dealing, but when they start to drill I very much might scream and leap from the chair and karate-chop that tray of shiny instruments.  I wasn't feeling very calm, is what I'm trying to say.

And then they began to drill, and suction as they went, and instead of feeling like leaping, it became sort of lovely, like there was this storm in my mouth with rain and a high-pitched squealing sort of thunder, and somehow in the middle of that I felt safe, in a way I haven't felt in the last couple of days.  This big thing was happening inside of my own head, this physical--even violent--happening, and I tried to breathe very carefully and unflex my feet and unclench my hands and will my quivering chin to cease quivering and find a quiet place.  I thought of a beach in Mexico I walked on once with my family where we saw a lot of dolphins, which is my go-to happy place, and there, in snatches, everything was okay.





Do you have a go-to happy place?  When do you "get to" practice it?  

 

5 comments:

Spencer G said...

I don't have a happy place, but I do try to think of it as a roller coaster. As in, well, I'm on and there's nothing to do but wait till it's over. It's gonna do its thing. And love the storm in the mouth... awesome image.

belann said...

Hate the dentist, except when on the rare visit, he says all is "mostly" well.

Amara said...

Same happy place! God bless Mom and dad for taking us there. I don't think we're the only two siblings with that place. The dentist? Why?! I ask myself that every six months when I go. Why do I PAY people to do this to me? I brush and floss religiously, but it doesn't matter. I get a cavity at least once a year, and they look at me like a dirty homeless person/ drug addict who doesn't take CARE of herself, and then they start hurting me. I don't even get "credit" for my faithfulness to my teeth religion. I tried the gas a few times, and it only leads to panic attacks. Don't try the gas.

Erin Earley said...

I have to say I would love to see you karate chop anything! And the mental picture you painted in my head of you doing that to a tray of dental tools...LOVED IT! Then I pictured you chopping your way out of the office with papers and people flying every where! That made me giggle so thank you! And I'm sorry you had to go to the dentist!!

Bianca said...

Having a happy place to help calm the mind is great, not just for dentistry! Anyway, the visit to the dentist is often dreaded, awkward, and uncomfortable. Sometimes it's just the mind making things way worse and, with the sound of the drills and whatnot, it feels kind of scary. Of course, it doesn't feel bad at all when you're calm and everything is nice and great!

-Bianca Jackson