I love my dentist.
Over the weekend, I lost a filling. Paranoid that I’d be experiencing sharp pain for a few days, I immediately called my dentist’s office and also sent him an “urgent” page.
My dentist called me back within the hour, reassured me that I'd be alright for the next few days, in that soothing voice I’d always remembered since I was a child, a voice I never noticed had a slight Irish-accented tinge to it until years later.
I love my dentist because his aim is to make me feel as comfortable as possible, even if that involves giving me as much nitrous as I need to feel giddy and not stress out over the fact that he’s about to insert metal picks and other power tools into my mouth. He gives me the gas even for routine cleanings. I always ask the assistant to crank it up just a bit when he’s not looking. And she always does.
Who knew that a visit to the dentist’s office would be as relaxing as it was today? A bit of backstory here: Work is really stressing me out right now. I’m a little wound up, to put it mildly. But there was something comforting in the familiarity of this place – my dentist’s office is truly the comfy place Where Everybody Knows Your Name – the muzak playing over the in-house sound system that hasn’t changed since the 80’s (and it's always that same damn song!); the dental hygenist who always compliments me on my shoes; my dentist telling me to “bite together,” and to “open just a bit” in That Voice; the other dental hygenist who remembered where I worked even though I hadn’t been to the dentist since November ’04 (don’t judge me, I’ve been busy!). I know this sounds silly, but the 30 minutes I spent in that chair was probably just as relaxing as the spa treatment I cancelled on last week.
It must have been the cranked-up nitrous getting to me, but after my dentist told me to bite together, I wanted to laugh and say,
“Oh, Dr. M, you always say that!”
But then I realized that I always want to say that, every single time I come in. It’s almost as if we’re in a three-person play, and we keep re-enacting this one scene. Over and over. But it’s not tedious; it cracks me up!
And then I started to think, what would I do if Dr. M died? Who would be my dentist? I mean, he is getting older. He's probably a grandfather now, even. I’ve been seeing him since I was a little kid. He sends me cards on my birthday, for Jah's sake. Where will I find another nitrous pusher as great as Dr. M?
They always say that it’s good to step out of your Comfort Zone – doing so will force you to grow and change and learn; but sometimes it’s just as good to retreat back into it every once in a while when things get a bit hectic. To regroup. To collect your thoughts. To relax for a fucking minute. Hell, the blog post I intended to write about my dentist visit was way more eloquent in my head (under the influence of nitrous and novocaine, no less) than what I’ve just written here.
I’m not exactly sure the point of this post, other than to remind all of you to brush and floss your teeth regularly.
And to stop and smell the roses, I guess.
Or get your hands on some really good nitrous and chill the fuck out.
As you were.