26 July 2008

i did it

Shortly before lunch on Thursday I took all three kids to a waiting room at an office where a friend of mine was just finishing an appointment. I've known her for a decade--indeed, we met working for the old location of this practice. She'd offered to watch my little people while I at long, long last got my first filling.

I found out about it the week I probably got pregnant with Baby J, so by the time my first appointment came around, the dentist preferred to wait until I was further along. I decided to wait until he was born after talking to another dentist friend--bear in mind, it was a small cavity to start with. So, when Baby J was almost a month old, I was scheduled to get it taken care of only to have the whole family get the flu. And so it got put off once more.

Way back over a year ago, he thought he could fill it without a shot. When I went in the past week, I was holding out hope that there would be no need to stick a long needle deep into my gums. I dreaded the very thought of being told, "You're going to feel pressure now." Ha. I'm the kind who needs to see the needle go in so I don't tense every muscle in my arm when I get blood drawn. You can't really see a shot going into your mouth. I was glad he still felt he could try to do it without.

I told him I felt nervous this time, unlike when I first tried to get the filling, and he only laughed. You've had childbirth, he said, practice your breathing. Then he raised the seat, whirred the little drill and asked if that sound bothered me. I considered it for a wisp of a moment. Nope. It was a familiar sound, one I always heard while working with him. And, having worked at his side, I knew without a doubt I trusted him.

He began, a small bit of drilling, asking if I was okay when he stopped. Yes. Then he asked if I wanted to look. Oh, yes. A sense of camaraderie arose as he dug for the large mirror and used his small one to reflect the tiny hole onto the glass for me to see. Cool. I used to love this. I'm thinking I miss this work.

I didn't see any more after that. I may have forgotten the names of some things, but in my mind's eye I watched his every move: I remembered what each instrument did, pictured the stuff he scraped out with the "shaking" tool and the little scraper (it's most fascinating to see what a cavity is made of, I tell you!), and recalled the steps of the filling. The worst was when he cleaned out the space with cold water just before priming it to fill. He'd gone far enough to make it really smart and I was thinking that if there had been much more to drill I might not have made it.

And in less time than it took to do a 12-year-old's cleaning down the hall, he was done. I felt like there should be more to it. But instead he winked and took me to the front (after which he had to take me to his office to show me a deer he pretended to have gotten although it was really one his father or father-in-law got back in the 70's...I can't remember now...he's crazy that way).

So, I did it. I officially have my first filling.
And I did it without the shot.
I feel so brave. Like a little girl who rode her bike for the first time.

But, I admit, I hope I don't have to ride that bike again.
One cavity was enough.

No comments: