The last time I had a consultation appointment with my oral surgeon, he told me about how one of his patients blew her nose four weeks after surgery and burst a major artery. And then he laughed.
It’s not the kind of thing that fills you with confidence, especially when this particular surgeon’s surname resembles the noise made by a cash register as it’s opened. In fact, the only thing that was possibly missing from that whole scenario was that he hadn’t walked into the room waving and saying, in a semi-strangled voice, “Hi, everybody! I’m Doctor Nick!”.
But yes, “Dr Nick” is my very own oral surgeon and one who has apparently got a very good reputation – at least according to my dentist, who mostly likes him because Dr Nick’s charging structure makes my dentist look like he’s merely asking for your loose change in comparison.
In any case, I’ve only got myself to blame for all this oral surgery caper. It takes a Very Special Person Indeed to stoically ignore dental pain as long I did before finally taking action and one could argue that the resulting pain, inconvenience and cost justifies why I avoided the dentist so long in the first place. Except we all know that it doesn’t quite work like that and I really do only have myself to blame. Which is a shame.
And so last week, I went kicking and screaming (on the inside) to Dr Nick’s city surgery to have him perform the second of three (currently foreseeable) procedures upon my person: one of my back molars was being removed under “intravenous sedation”, a drugged state that can best be described as General Anaesthetic Lite.
Now, it is a little known fact that any time I have to have an anaesthetic, it is automatically deemed to be a Brown Underpants Occasion. A failed spinal block during the emergency c/section delivery of Mr Justice has somewhat spoilt the delightful practice of being stabbed to sleep with needles for me forevermore. Needles now make me nervous, and when I get nervous, I make jokes.
Unfortunately for me, Dr Nick’s Anaesthetist seemed to have left his sense of humour at home. Either that, or he deemed laughing at my jokes a billable extra which I obviously couldn’t afford.
After failing spectacularly at raising a smile at any of my funnies, he looked at my medical history and remarked “I think I’ve seen you before.”
“I don’t know! Maybe! I can’t remember! I’m blonde!” I said a little too brightly.
“Nobody every remembers their anaesthetist,” he replied dolefully in the kind of tone that someone might say “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”
And then he left me in his office to wait for Dr Nick. Since I had no book or magazine to read while I waited, I ended up climbing onto the dental chair in the corner and closing my eyes – anything to a) make best use of this child-free time and b) stop looking at his impressive array of needle types and sizes. When the assistant came in half an hour later, I jumped to attention and immediately exclaimed “I was so totally not asleep just then!” in that knee-jerk “I didn’t do it!” way of mine. And you know what? I think she totally believed me. Like totally.
The dental assistant then led me through to The Chair, where Dr Nick and his Straight Man were waiting for me. Dr Nick cheerfully greeted me with some remark like “Are you ready to unleash the monsters from upstairs?” and I looked at him blankly and he and the Anaesthetist started giggling like Beavis and Butthead and I started wondering if I’d already been given the drugs already without my knowledge. Or that they had taken them instead.
As the Anaethetist started injecting something into my veins, he explained that Dr Nick liked to refer to the anaesthetising process as “unleashing the monsters upstairs”. And it was at that moment that the wall started to behave very strangely indeed and everything went like that scene in Easy Rider when they’re tripping in the graveyard and I knew for a moment what it was like to be on the Open Road on choppers in the 1970s except that I was strapped to a dental chair in the CBD, which could well be the ‘Naughties equivalent. And then I fell asleep.
And when I woke, after some of the Strangest Dreams Ever, my tooth was gone. But here’s the rub: apparently the bloody tooth fairy doesn’t service the over 35s – instead, she leaves you an invoice for a ridiculous amount of money. I guess she has to fund her philanthropic work with children somehow, but still…
The moral of the story? Brush and floss your teeth, kiddies. Brush and floss. BRUSH AND FLOSS.
Else you end up at the mercy of madmen, like me. Not Cool. Not Smart. Not Safe.