I have been told by some who don’t know me well, but have heard of some of the things I’ve done, that I am a very brave person. Hearing this, I’ve raised my eyebrows, and then quickly changed the subject. The truth be known, I am not a brave person at all. I do things, but for the most part, I live in a state of abject fear.
This is why I am putting off having my fractured tooth pulled. The thought of having this done absolutely terrifies me. Well, yesterday my worst fears, that it was going to be yanked out soon, sent me into a tailspin.
The dental receptionist called me and we set an appointment time; this was the day after I arrived home from my trip. I assumed that we’d talk about what needed to be done. I had abandoned my invisalign/quasi brace work while on the trip – I soon discovered that putting in and removing those things while out on the trail was near impossible. I arrived at the dentist, and after a short wait, I followed the technician to the dental chair, and sat down. Above me, on a screen, was an image of my fractured tooth. I don’t know the technician’s name – I call him Vladimir because he speaks with a Russian accent.
Alys and Raudi
His first words are “I need to go over extraction procedures with you.” Hearing this, my sympathetic nervous system went into overdrive. My heart rate increased, my eyes dilated, and I started to sweat. “No!” I yelled, adding in a softer voice, “It’s not coming out today.” My sense of alarm alarmed Vladimir, who exited the room. The dentist, who was in the adjoining room, pulled down his mask and stuck his head around the corner.
“We have to talk first,” I said. “It’s not coming out today, is it?”
“No, no,” he said, adding “be with you in a minute.”
Several minutes later Dr. Gerr appeared at my side and asked me how my trip had gone. I provided him with a few particulars then made a conversational leap over a small creek, telling him that it was not possible to take the retainers in and out on the trail. He patted my arm reassuringly, and then said that we’d finish up with the series.
Dr. Gerr took one of the retainers I had on hand and inserted one on my uppers. The pain nearly sent me through the roof. “Hurts,” I yelled. He removed it and told Vladimir, who’d appeared on my other side, to take some new scans. Hearing this, my parasympathetic nervous system took over. I relaxed and let out a loud sigh.
There. Extraction averted, and averted further when Vlad told me that it would be a few weeks before the new retainers arrived. Hearing this, I suppressed my euphoria. However, I again became fearful after asking him to tell me what the extraction would entail. He pointed to the screen and said that extracting the tooth might be difficult because I’d had a root canal, and therefore the tooth was fragile, meaning (my words) they will have to dig around for the pieces.
“You’ll have to put me out for this,” I said.
“Yes, yes, IV, Nitrous, some syrup,” he said.
I left the room post haste. Like I said at the beginning of this dispatch, I am not a brave person, nor will I ever be.
Next: 251. 9/11/19: Tinni fra Hellistandi