Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I hate going to the dentist. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I don't have a phobia, exactly. It's not like I have an anxiety attack. I just find it terribly unpleasant to have my mouth pulled open wide and many sharp metal things stuck into sensitive tissue. I call that a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

So G's been bugging me to go to his new dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I hate getting my teeth cleaned, so I avoid it. I do realize that if I didn't avoid it so much, I'd probably have fewer of the longer, more painful visits. I just seem to forget about it. But A's going for the first time tomorrow and I figure I have to set a good example.

Anyway, I go to our new dentist. He's just around the corner, so he couldn't be more convenient. I wished I had a camera phone while I was there because you wouldn't believe this office. I could tell you it hadn't been updated since the 70's, but you wouldn't really get it unless I could show you a picture of the completely wood-paneled X-ray room.

They always ask, "When was the last time you got your teeth cleaned?" and I always answer, "I have no idea." They give me a little of the evil eye, and we go from there. I finally realized I get a bit more sympathy if I tell them, "I'm a little afraid of going to the dentist."

So I go to this new one, and he tells me, "I know you're the nervous type, so we'll walk you through everything." I considered explaining that I wasn't the nervous type, but it was going to sound defensive, and he would just nod knowingly and say, "Oh, suuuure." so I figured if it made him gentler to think I was the nervous type, so much the better. I asked if I could listen to my iPod while he worked, and he said, "Of course."

Quick segue: I love my iPod more than I thought I would. I love listening to it. I love that I can download all these cool podcasts for free. I have djsteveboy's podcasts for runners (the slower versions) and I stick Ben in the jogging stroller and take off. I love it.

OK, so I queued up an episode of This American Life and settled in for a pleasant hour. I had been looking forward to listening to the Halloween edition, you know, being that I love Halloween and all. I put in my earbuds, leaned back and gazed up at him and the assistant/receptionist/billing clerk (who gives out candy corn after appointments, which I found a little odd). "OK, now, ooooppeeeen," he suggested. Oh yeah.

I had made a bad choice of material. I knew this episode had spooky stories, so I was thinking ghost stories or alien phenomena or something. No, it was true scary stuff. The first story was a first-person account of a woman who was attacked in her driveway by a rabid raccoon. The raccoon dug its teeth into her and wouldn't let go. She lived in a rural area, so the only way she could summon help was by managing to get her cell phone out of her pocket, press a speed dial and scream into it. Then there was all the trouble getting the rabies shots in time.

The second story was the story of a guy who was kidnapped while hitchiking as a teen with his brother. The silent driver of the car drove them to a cemetery, where they escaped.

Oh yeah, great stories to listen to while your teeth are getting drilled. Especially if you're "the nervous type."

Then came the segment where David Sedaris reads about his experience shadowing the medical examiner's office. Not just gross, but funny too. I kept trying not to laugh, but it was impossible and the dentist had to keep withdrawing his hands until I calmed down.

"I'b sorry, dis iz fuddy," I pointed to my iPod, because half of my face was numb.

It was timed almost perfectly, though, and the dentist finished up just about the same time as podcast. I think next time I'll stick to meditation or music or something.


Mama_to_Briar&Avery said...

I can relate on 2 points. I chipped a tooth 8 months ago and haven't had it fixed, writing it off at first to fatigue and inconvenience with a pregnanvy, at thispoitn it's shame and laziness.
I read Me Talk Pretty while living in Boston. I'd take it on the T and mortify my husband as I Iaughed to the point of tears, complete with snorts and knee slaps.

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