Fun With The Dentist

05 Mar 2006

Yesterday was my first day off since February 5. I’ve been pushing hard to finish the project that will not finish. And it is still not quite done, but we are getting there. I do feel that once its done, it will be welcomed by its direct customers and ultimately will benefit those of you looking for help from the fine customer service folks of a certain online poker site. At this point, those are my motivators.

Of course, actually playing poker is very far off my radar. I only played once in Hdouble’s infamous friday night game during this stretch. I’ve had to live vicariously through those around me - primarily Facty, who final tabled again the other day in the nightly 16k (now 17k) guarantee on FTP. With the crazy hours I’ve been pulling, I think there was a week where I railbirded her in tourneys from work more than I actually spoke with her in person.

Friday morning I went to the dentist, which I haven’t done often enough in recent years. This was the first of four “deep cleanings” which involves numbing 1/4th of my mouth and taking a jackhammer to it. The dentist came in and administered the anesthetic, then left me for five minutes while the numbing took effect.

After about 30 seconds, I was getting nauseous and noted both the ceramic rinse bowl to my immediate left and the bigger, but further, trash can under the counter on my right. Just in case.

I broke a sweat and the bad dentist office music (Dionne Warwick, pre-psychic hotline infomercials, if you must know) started to take its toll. The nausea got worse. I was now certain that I’d need one of those two receptacles and started measuring just how far the trash can was from me. Only 3 feet, but I’d have to sit up for the reclining chair and lunge at it. At least the rinse bowl, while a smaller target, was just a short sit up and lean to the left.

The doctor called out to me from the hallway asking if things were getting numb. all I could do was grunt, afraid that the force necessary to form more than one syllable would cause things to start moving. He took my response as a positive and went into the next exam room to talk to a patient. As I sat, looking out the window at the shrubs and trees behind the office, I saw a squirrel running along the retaining wall. He jumped onto the tree and stopped, spread-eagle on the trunk. I’m pretty sure he spied me through the window and mostly-opened blinds.

Over the speakers, Captain and Tennille started into “Do that to me one more time”. Ugh. I again considered my options, settling on the rinse bowl. Closer == good. I could hear the doctor in the next room, discussing crown color options.

The order of events get a little fuzzy at this point. The lower left quadrant of my mouth was completely numb. The squirrel was still frozen on the trunk of the tree and I was vaguely aware that he was still looking at me through the window. Toni Tennille was still trying to kill me, one “one more time” at a time. I was starting to think about how I might be sweating enough to soak through my shirt… and about how I was suddenly much more tired than I’d felt earlier… …and Toni fucking Tennille… and crowns…and squirrels…

… One more time … … One more time … … One more time … … One more time …

I opened my eyes. The room was spinning and I felt like I’d been asleep for hours. I sat silently, in a fog, and struggled to take inventory. Nausea was a little better, but I was leaning very far to the left. Rinse bowl! Clean. The trash can was undisturbed. Still in a cold sweat. Still no dentist in the room, so I could not have fallen asleep that long…

… One more time …

Oh christ, Captain and Tennille. The same song was still on. I was only out for a second. so why did i feel so groggy?

I could still hear the doctor in the other exam room and I thought about trying to say something loud enough for him to hear, but I didn’t have it in me. The nausea was definitely subsiding, but the fog was still thick. I sat and waited.

Eventually the dental hygienist, who would actually be firing up the jackhammer later, came in to see how the numbing was coming along. She stopped when she saw me and her eyes widened a bit.

“Are you ok?”

“I think I might have passed out,” I mumbled.

“Doctor! I need you in here! Right away!”

To his credit, the dentist (who barely knows me, but has been Facty’s dentist since she was a kid) remained calm. He started taking my pulse while joking about seeing if one of us was still alive. Apparently this reaction to anesthetic, while not common, is also not unheard of. (We’ll be trying a different one next time.) The hygienist prepared a couple of cold, wet washcloths for my forehead and mentioned that I was white as a sheet. They gave me plenty of time to make sure I could proceed with the cleaning and eventually I assured them I felt ok.

As the hygienist went prospecting, I thought back to the only other time i’ve ever passed out. I was 12, maybe 13, and the bump on my knee was just starting to develop. At first it seemed to my doctor like ligament trouble and he wanted to perform an arthrogram to get a better look around. He shot the x-ray dye into my knee and wanted me to get up and walk a bit to diffuse the dye. When I said I didn’t feel well and couldn’t get up to walk, he had me sit on the end of the table and flexed the knee himself. Next thing I knew he was waking me up.

After the cleaning, the dentist wanted to call me a cab to take me home. “Home? I have to get to work, Doc.” He made me call when I got to work to make sure I made it.

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Franklin Henderson