OW


Fuck that hurt.

That hurt more than I expected.

Hurt my face.

Face still hurts.

Hours later, my jaw is aching from having a weird rubber thingamabob in my mouth for too long.

No.

I was not at a sex play party.

I was at the dentist.

Yes.

I finally went.

Ten years later.

Pro tip.

When they say get a cleaning every six months.

Listen.

Walk through the fear, just go.

I am smacking myself for letting it lapse so long.

I can only beat myself up for so long though, I haven’t had dental insurance and it’s a pretty penny to get dental work done and you know, I have things to do, places to go, people to see, I’m busy.

Too busy.

But when my teeth felt.

Well.

Achey.

I guess is the word.

Back in December I made the decision to go back to the dentist and I used part of my Christmas bonus to buy dental insurance for the year.

It became activated in February, so as soon as I had the card I made the appointment and my dentist has Saturday hours, and voila, there I am sitting in a chair at Sunset Premier Dental at 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon listening to a child screaming.

This does not bode well, I can see in hindsight.

AND.

I do not joke, I thought I was hearing things, I really did, I thought, ladybug you are just anxious, they are not talking about you.

They were talking in rapid fire Chinese, Mandarin I believe, and occasionally in between the crying and the screaming of the little girl I could swear I heard my name, “Carmen” being spoken.

Turns out the little girl was named Carmen.

I was hearing things right.

The dental assistant was very sweet and kind and did my ex-rays, then I sat for a while, looking at flower decals on the wall and owls and clouds and soft pastel paintings, listening with half an ear to the easy listening on the radio.

I now will have Huey Lewis and The News imprinted in my mental memory of the dentist visit.

The dentist was super kind Chinese man, Vincent Leung, D.D.S. who made many nice jokes and patted me on my shoulder a lot and also, yes, I am not joking, wiped tears, the continual stream of tears, off my face as I cried in the chair with the big rubber block thing holding open my jaw.

He did the initial exam and looked over the ex-rays and then went and consulted on another client while the nurse came back, or dental assistant, not sure what the difference is exactly, to inform me that yes, my insurance did cover a good amount of the necessary care, but, I would still need to cover some out-of-pocket costs and she explained that I had to have some fillings, Doctor Leung had joked that I had a smattering of “baby cavities” and also, fuck me.

Gum Disease.

I have heard of it but I did not know what it was really.

The doctor came back, showed me my ex-rays, pointed out the baby cavities then pointed out what was happening with my gums, why ten years of not getting my teeth regularly cleaned was not the best idea for me, even with brushing three times a day and flossing once a day, for real, that’s my routine, my gums were receding and if I let it go too long I was going to start losing teeth.

Fuck no.

Do the damn cleaning and scrape the teeth, underneath the gum line.

The sound it made.

Like tiny high-powered squirrel robots screaming in my mouth.

Getting to that point though I skip the worst part.

The part that was the hardest to bear, the part that had me crying and scared and shook up.

Yes, it was painful.

Even though I was numbed out.

It was the pain of the numbing out that shook me up.

First, the local anesthesia.

So much of it and the taste, and then I ended up swallowing some and oh my god, so grateful I had a decent lunch, if I had gone in on an empty stomach I would have thrown up on nice Doctor Vincent.

Second.

I have not been on anything, nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero, since I got sober.

Nothing.

NOTHING.

No pain relievers, no prescribed meds, I have not had any surgeries, although I have had some challenges, hello severe ankle sprain two years ago that still bothers me, but nothing stronger than ibuprofen in twelve years.

I had a physical reaction to the anesthesia and it felt awful to have something in my body, intrusive and I shook a bit and I got super cold and shivery.

Then the injections of Novocaine, super long thin scary needles, had my eyes shut, but still, super long thin scary needles, and even with the local, it still hurt to get the injections, the needle had to hit bone before it could be pulled out.

Six times.

Six injections.

I was destroyed.

Tears rolling down my face.

The doctor kept patting my shoulder and gently dabbing my closed eyes with tissues.

Probably not the doctor now that I think of it, the assistant, but yes, much was made of me crying.

I just oozed and leaked tears the entire time.

And prayed.

I prayed a lot.

I said the Serenity Prayer over and over and over again.

So many times.

I had a cute thought in there at one point.

“God wants me to have sexy teeth.”

Yup.

I thought that.

Made me smile on the inside.

I couldn’t smile for hours after, it was so disconcerting.

I had so much Novocaine in my face my ears had numbed out.

I am not kidding.

Afterwards I was told I needed to come back, I am going to need to come back for a while on the regular and get the deep cleanings.

The good news is that the biggest part of it was dealt with today and the maintenance cleaning though frequent, I have another appointment in May, it will only be $70 and not $1350 as today’s visit was.

Thank fucking God.

And I had the money in my account.

Thank God for that too.

I paid rent yesterday and bought groceries and after that I still had a good lump in my account for whatever today was going to cost.

I have $350 left in my checking account.

But.

Hey.

My teeth are hella clean, sexy and super fucking white.

And soon available for making out.

As soon as my jaw stops hurting.

Grateful it wasn’t worse, I didn’t have any teeth extractions, I don’t need a root canal, I don’t need crowns.

It was scary and hard to sit through, but I made it through and although the Novocaine was wildly uncomfortable and the injection process was painful, I got through.

I lived to tell my tale.

I will be able to do it again and I will know going into it.

It wasn’t exactly the Saturday I had planned.

But.

I am grateful for getting through with it, for showing up, and for taking care of it.

It could have been so much worse.

Frankly I’m not sure I could have handled much worse.

Grateful beyond words that I didn’t have to.

Seriously.

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