Last week, readers who got past my first paragraph may remember that I was nervously preparing to visit the tooth jockey in order to passively participate in the scary removal of a massive molar.
I had mentioned that visiting the dentist is not right up there on my immediate wish list, comparable, say, to a visit to a 17th-century dungeon to have my fingernails pulled out.
But I did, in fact, bravely sally forth into the fray and arrived dutifully at the dentist’s office, bringing my faulty, traitorous tooth with me.
Whilst waiting in the aptly named waiting room, sniffing that toxic chemical smell that only comes from dentists’ offices, I was seriously considering the possibility of hiding under a pile of building blocks in the kiddie’s play area until closing time, when suddenly, a nice lady called my name.
With yeomen effort, I pretended I was not on the verge of fainting, and plopped down on the rack where they draw and quarter you.
Actually, it was a horizontal dental chair set at an angle cleverly designed to prevent patients from easily jumping up and bolting.
I was all ready to try a couple of dentist jokes, just to lighten things up.
“Hi, doctor, you look down in the mouth today – ha-ha.”
“So, you’re the drill sergeant, eh? har-har.”
But before you could say “dentophobia,” I was on my back staring up at a TV running a Looney Tunes cartoon on the Kids Channel. I think.
My memory from that point on is a little hazy, so it might have been Fox News, which is about the same thing.
With my eyes shut so tight, I could hardly hear, my mouth practitioner, in a deceivingly optimistic tone, told me to “open wide” and that I “might” feel a little “mosquito bite.”
I expected it to go straight downhill from there. But apparently dentistry has come a long way since my childhood experiences with a so-called doctor who used pliers from Builder’s Hardware and drills made by Massey Ferguson.
After what was termed by the dentist as a “complicated procedure,” involving taking the root out in two pieces, we all did surprisingly well, I must say. And when I got home, I was proud of myself, and proud of the dental people, and proud of the cat and the furniture, and the painkiller medicine manufacturers.
This proudness would not last.
After the obligatory painful recovery of the “big three” — swelling, slobbering and screaming — I thought I was over the hump, on the mend, and out of the woods.
But then the evil dungeon master got out the hammer again. Except this time, it was a full-on, four-foot sledge hammer.
Saturday, I was phoning the dental emergency line. There was a mix up and my call was lost somewhere in the dental ozone, and by Monday, I had paint and wallpaper under my fingernails from climbing the walls.
By Tuesday, I was on my third family-sized bottle of extra-strength chemistry, and I was seriously considering booking a lobotomy and asking for my molar back, when the mix up was finally unmixed and further treatment ensued, involving antibiotics from them and grovelling from me.
So I’ve decided to go back in time and avoid that hockey stick that smashed most of my teeth during that pee wee hockey game and forced me into years of torture from a tormentor disguised as a dentist.
I’d have perfect teeth now, and the dentist would be my best friend.
Now all I have to do is invent a time machine.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker.