I meant to write about this a few weeks ago but forgot. Sometimes I forget stuff. Which is why I write down my blogpost ideas in a little notebook that I keep right here by the computer, but occasionally I forget to write an idea down. And then of course, I would have to write it legibly enough so that later on, I could actually read it. Regardless. I did finally remember so here we go.
So what happened was, back about a month ago, when I was still sick with that nasty cold/virus/whatever it was, I had a dental appointment. It was for just a regular six month check up but since I was snotty and coughing and kind of gross, I thought it would more considerate for me to reschedule the appointment for another time.
I snuffled and sneezed, coughed and croaked through the phone call so it was apparent to even the most obtuse individual what sort of sick I was. To my surprise, they had no problem with me still coming to my appointment. Interesting. And when I showed up, I actually told them how surprised I was.
In return they told me that with all of their shields and gloves and masks, they felt confident that they were protected. Additionally it's the sort of office where they space appointments out beautifully. There is almost never anyone else in the waiting room when I show up and I never have to wait more than a minute or two to go in. They run on time.
Okey dokey then. Let's do this thing. I took every sort of cold medicine that I had on hand before I showed up, something for the cough, something for the congestion and something for the drippy nose. I was as ready as I possibly could be.
The six month check up is usually a pretty quick appointment, especially if you have no particular problems and I did not. I expected to be in and out, quickquick. It turned out that I was due for x-rays. I absolutely hate having the x-rays done. I know they are important, so I endure it. but I despise the process.
Those little hard carboardy things they put in your mouth for each shot? Yeah, well I don't know about you, but they do NOT fit properly in my mouth. No matter how carefully placed, no matter how hard the hygienist tries, no matter how helpful and obedient I am, the damned things cut up the inside of my mouth. They also move around because while I understand that I am supposed to bite down on them to hold them in place, they are too big for my mouth so there is nothing for me to bite down on! We all, the dentist, the hygienist and me, we all understand the issues and we take a deep breath and we work it through as best we can.
But on this particular day, we had an extra degree of difficulty. There was something about this cold/virus/whatever that upped my gag reflex from "level strong but manageable if I concentrate" to "trigger happy and out of control". Every time that bit of x-ray origami came anywhere near my back teeth I gagged. Severely. Intensely. Dangerously. And she would stop and withdraw it and wait. And I would calm myself, take another breath and say, "ok let's try again" and she would try again and it would happen again, and again, and again. It took forever to finally get those xrays done. I was exhausted. Well I was sick so I started out tired. Therefore, it was not a long drive to get from sick and tired to really and truly exhausted.
Eventually the cleaning was done and the dentist came in to review my x-rays and give me her own once over. Well it turns out there was an old cracked filling that showed up on those doggone x-rays. She showed me the picture and yupyup there it was clear as a bell. She strongly suggested that we take care of that ASAP. You know, before the pieces started falling out. She was right. It did need to be taken care of before it was an emergency. And we all know that if it happened, it was going to happen either on a weekend, at night or on Christmas Day. Because that is how that works.
I told her that as soon as I was over my illness, I would book the appointment. She said she had no problem taking care of it immediately. As in two days later. Really? You aren't afraid to contract this....whatever it is? She was not worried about it. Well I guess if you aren't worried, I am not worried. Ok. Let's get this done!
So two days later, still coughing and sneezing and raspy of voice and juicy with all sort of gross snotty stuff, I resumed my spot in her chair and they went to work. She is an excellent dentist and her assistant is equally awesome. Professional, thorough and kind. All the sorts of things you want your dentist to be. But it took longer than I anticipated. Again.
And while the cough medicine was fairly effective initially, about thirty minutes in, I could feel it. That urge to cough. It sat there in my chest, swelling, clogging up my throat, tickling the back of my tongue.
The dentist and her assistant had both hands, many tools and at least half a bale of cotton in my mouth. I was lying nearly flat on my back with that bright light in my eyes and a bib clipped around my neck. There was no way that I could cough.
But my body wanted to. It wanted to cough so badly that my chest hurt, I was back to gagging a little bit and I fought it. I fought it hard. I tried to think about other things. To distract myself, I listed the states in alphabetical order. I tried (and failed) to remember the periodic table of elements. I concentrated on my toes. I did the math times tables from way back in what, fourth grade? I tried to remember all of the verses to "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly". I thought about oceans and rivers and capital cities. But finally the moment came when it was cough or strangle. I had no choice. I could no longer resist.
I raised my left hand, like a kid asking permission to leave the classroom to pee. Immediately both the dentist and her assistant leaned back. I struggled to try to sit up. "Do you need to cough?" she asked me as tears were running down my face in my effort to Not Cough. I nodded. She removed the half bale of cotton from my mouth and said, "go ahead". Oh my! I didn't just cough. I COUGHED and coughed and coughed. It was a coughing spasm that seemed as if it would never end.
I attempted to do what we are taught. I tried to cough into my elbow. But the doc and doc assist both gently moved my arm back down. They really didn't want me to mess with the work already done. And honestly, half way through, the last thing you want is to have to start over! But it felt downright rude to just be coughing out into the air of the room without at least attempted to keep the germs to myself.
At long last it was done. I gasped for air and slumped back into the chair. The doc asked? "you ok?" I nodded unable to speak. "Read to finish up?" I nodded again and they both went back to work.
In the end, the doc apologized for a teensy almost invisible bruise on my lower lip where I somehow got pinched by a piece of equipment. And I apologized in return for coughing all over them both. We agreed that it was an even trade.
We all survived, thank goodness. But I think if ever again I should have a cold/virus/whatever on the same day that I have a dental appointment I will simply reschedule regardless of their laissez faire attitude about germs.
As is most of life, it was a lesson learned.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.