Saturday, April 14, 2012

Humor in Strange Places

Earlier today (14:00 on Friday the 13th, to be exact), I had a double root canal procedure performed. Prior to the procedure, I was, to say the least, "anxiety-ridden". I mean, jus the name of the procedure is anxiety-inducing. "Root canal".

I mean, I'd always heard horror stories, but never really knew what it was. Something about the name made it sound like they bored into the roots of your teeth through your gums. To be honest, what they actually do isn't much better: the drill into your teeth through the top an obliterate your nerves. Even knowing that, ultimately, there'd be no nerves left to feel pain, I definitely went into the procedure with a feeling of dread. It being scheduled for a Friday the thirteenth didn't help those feelings at all - though, I guess the scheduling seemed "apt" (for lack of a better word). So, I brought a 0.5mg Xanax pill with me to help keep myself from climbing the walls.

Now, I don't know whether it was the Xanax, my underlying (probabaly "twisted" sense of humor) or that the procedure went exceptionally well. Whatever it was, it wasn't the horror show I was expecting.

To be honest, as I sat there in the chair, with a rubber block between my left-side molars, mouth utterly-numbed and a rubber-dam stretched across my mouth like a workman's tarp, I really mostly felt like a carpentry project. Or, maybe I felt like a prop in a BDSM scene? Whatever. The situation isn't one that I'd volunteer for, but it wasn't the horror-show I was expecting.

Before the novocaine and fixing of the rubber components, I'd taken my Xanax. The doctor was nice enough to have his assistant crush it to a fine powder so that I could stuff it under my tongue and get the effects much more quickly than normal. So, by the time the work started to go down, I was fairly relaxed. In fact, I almost nodded off a few times while the procedure was going on. Dunno whether that was simple boredom, the Xanax or a combination of the two.

/me shrugs

At any rate, the situation was such that I was finding many things about it amusing:

  • As they explained the hardware they would be putting in my mouth - in particular the rubber dam - my mind couldn't help but wander back to highschool. My time in highschool was during the peak of the HIV hysteria. I remember the health classes and other materials promulgating the use of rubber dams to make oral sex safe.
  • As the doctor began drilling, and I smelled the smokey scent associated with it, I was reminded of the old Bill Cosby commedy routine that talked about the burning smell, among other things.
  • I notice that the scope he was doing the procedure through was a Carl Zeiss machine. Now, Carl Zeiss has, historically, made some very fine optics. That says, they're an old German company. They were also very popular with the Nazis, for a while. So, it seemed amusingly apt that they would be the purveyors of such fine tortured devices.
  • This led me to thoughts of comedy movie Nazis conducting comical torture sessions.
  • This led me to have amusing images of Nazi uniform-clad BDSM people I've seen over the years
  • This led me to think, "I wonder how many dental professionals practice BDSM in their personal lives"

And so, my mind continued to drift from one amusing thing to another. At several points in the procedure, as I chuckled to myself at the thoughts running through my head and the overall silliness of the situation, the doctor would stop what he was doing. As a good, conscientious doctor, he was concerned that I was in pain.

I wasn't, but with all the hardware in my mouth, I wasn't really in a position to articulate that, "no, I'm just amused by the situation." Probably just as well, he'd probably have thought it might be a good idea to call the guys from the local psych ward to come pick up the wacko that thinks having a root canal is funny.

At the end of it all, the least pleasant part of the procedure was the not being able to talk during it. I mean, with all the things running through my head, I had a real need to make snarky commentary. The fact that I couldn't was rather frustrated.

Now, I'm sitting here and my teeth feel like they've been replaced by shards of broken glass. I went into the bathroom and discovered one more bit of comedy: pulling my lips back far enough to survey the ravaged teeth, I realized my mouth now looks like I'm a carny-worker. Awesome.

No. I'm not writing this while kited on Vicodin. While the doctor was nice enough to write me a script, I'll likely end up not using it. Historically, pain killers don't so much remove my ability to feel pain as make me so dizzy and nauseous that I'm too distracted to fully process the pain. So, the script is sitting with my keys and credit cards, unfilled. Chances are, it will stay that way.

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