Dixie Peach: His Descent Into Hell

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

His Descent Into Hell

Raise your hand if you hate going to the dentist!

I'm betting that if you didn't raise your hand, the person reading this just before or just after you did. As for me, while I don't relish a visit to the dentist, I don't really hate it either. I've had a lot of dental work done over the past 30 years and all the teeth I've had capped, crowned, root canaled, filled or just plain pulled out haven't made me fear the dentist.

My husband, on the other hand, is terrified of the dentist. His teeth aren't all that bad but if he'd not spent so many years actively avoiding the dentist they'd be much nicer. When I first moved to Germany - probably 4 or 5 months after arriving - B went to the dentist after I'd forced him into it. He had a tooth going bad and sure enough it had to be pulled. He had it done and never went back...and that was 9 years ago. I'd try to get him to go and usually he'd say "I will when the weather is warmer." and when it would be summer he'd put it off saying "I don't want to spend a day outside going to the dentist." When winter would roll around he'd claim it was too cold to go outside and he'd make an appointment when the weather got warmer.

This worked rather effectively until we moved. Now we live in the same building where three dentists are located. The apartments and the businesses, while being in the same building, have separate entrances so B does actually have to go outside to get to the office but since he would literally have to go about 6 feet unprotected from the elements his excuse to wait for perfect weather is gone. B knew it was only a matter of time before he would break down and make an appointment. Last week the appointment was made and he's been in a lather ever since. Constant worry and fright. "What if she wants to drill?" So she'll drill! "What if she won't give me a shot?" She'll give you a shot before drilling. "What if it still hurts?" Then tell her to stop drilling and give you another shot.

Honestly! This is the man who, after falling into a swimming pool in 1 meter of water, landing on his head and damaging his spinal cord at the C-5 level had doctors drilling screws directly into his skull with no anesthesia so they could rig up something to pull his spine straight. That he thinks wasn't so bad - except for the sound - but getting his teeth cleaned and checked was putting him on the verge of an anxiety attack.

But today was the fateful day. And I brought the camera. What? You didn't think I was going to miss recording for posterity this monumental event, did you? Who knows when it could happen again!

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B in the waiting room. This is the face he made when I told him to relax a little bit. He actually looked more panicked before I told him to relax but I thought if I took a picture of him in full blown shit hemorrhage panic y'all might call the authorities on me and report me for torture.

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Waiting for the dentist to arrive. Gerd and I got B out of his wheelchair and into the examination chair and I as I drove B's wheelchair back out into the hallway I impressed everyone with my mad wheelchair driving skillz.

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"Hmmmm....I wonder if I can fling myself from the window and land in that fountain that's just below the window. Maybe not. I've had some problems in the past from bad landings in water."

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The dentist gets to work.

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"Hmmm....Herr G, you seem to have enough tartar on your teeth to rebuild the Berlin Wall. I may need to use a sandblaster. Or dynamite."

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"Damn. I'm going to have to stand up to wrench this crap off his teeth!"

It was as this point that the sound of the instruments of torture tartar removing blaster thingy was beginning to wear on my nerves so I began reading the book I'd brought with me, lifting my eyes occasionally to check how B was doing. At first his eyes showed nothing but sheer terror but after a while he seemed to relax more and more.

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"All finished! Can I now get a prize from the Treasure Chest?"

All around B did very well. And unfortunately he needs to make a few more trips back. He's got 7 or 8 cavities that need to be filled - only a few at a time can be done because he's unable to sit in that exam chair for more than maybe 45 minutes - and he's going to need to have a broken molar pulled. The dentist assured him that she would always give him Novocaine before any drilling or tooth yanking and that made him feel better. She did, however, get all that tartar build up removed and his teeth look so much better now.

And you know he's just so proud of himself for having done it. I'm proud of him too.



Blogger BetteJo said...

YAY! Facing your fears is always tough!!

My sister still won't go back to the dentist after the one we went to didn't believe her when she said it hurt and called her a baby. I think she was about 17 at the time and shes 57 now. I think she's got B beat!

Good for B!! He wins!

10:29 PM  
Blogger sari said...

That last picture is great, you can tell B. is totally relieved and happy that it went well.

I would have like to have seen some pictures of your mad wheelchair driving skillz, however. Maybe next time.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Juanita said...

B does look 100% more relaxed on the last picture. Good for him biting the bullet.
I don't mind going to the dentist, as such. It's just that I get to hear the same spiel over and over about how bad my gums are and how I need oral surgery. Well, I had oral surgery once and it only made things worse, so I refuse to go that route again. After all, I'm 62 and so what if I lose a molar or two.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Princess Cat's Pajamas said...

The last time I went to the dentist, I got soundly chastized because it had been two or three years since my last visit.

That was a year ago. And since I don't have dental insurance in Switzerland, I'm going to have to wait six more months before I go back. They'll be thrilled...

12:57 AM  
Blogger Marsha said...

Yeah. Good to be done. I was one of the ones whose hand was raised. I hate the dentist. However, I really love B's shirt.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

Way to go, B! And way to go you, Dix, for making him go. Although I must admit, I really hate the dentist too. I went two years ago for the first time in Germany and it was awful. I have not been back since.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

I've got my own appointment to get my teeth cleaned when B goes back to get his first fillings. We'll both be coming home as sore puppies but B's not feeling quite as nervous at before so he won't be making me all panicky.

Marsha - That's B's favorite tee-shirt. My sister got it for him at Reed's department store in Tupelo. Reed's has two locations in Tupelo and one in Starkville and one in Columbus. If you're ever in one of those towns, go to Reed's...they're famous for their tee-shirts, among other things.

Claire - Go find another dentist. I know where I live we're overrun with dentists so if one sucks, find another. Later on you're going to need all those little stamps in the little booklet they give you if you ever need a bridge or crown or dentures.

2:02 PM  
Blogger LeaderOfMyPack said...

Good for B! Brian can't stand going to the dentist. Not because of pain or anything, he is embarressed that he doesn't floss enough.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Hilda said...

Good for B and I totally sympathize. with him. I am absolutely terrified of the dentist and my teeth show it.

The ONLY way I can sit through any procedure which has any sound at all is with in addition to shots, gas - lots and lots and lots of gas. Enough gas that I can hear the dentist (as if from very far away) and do what he says (open wider, move your tongue, etc.), but I do it very, very, very slowly.

I'm getting ready to start major remodeling in my mouth - posts, and crowns, and other horrible stuff - I have verified there will be gas a plenty.

6:47 PM  
Blogger BarefootCajun said...

I'll be sitting on the bench next to B with all the other folks who avoid a dentist like the plague.

WTG, B, for getting your courage up. :-)

4:01 AM  
Blogger Linnea said...

This is my first visit to your site and I must say I think your husband is one lucky man and you're a very remarkable woman. Your attitude is extraordinary and so refreshing. I worked for a solicitor who was a paraplegic and although life was difficult for him he was one determined guy and very cheerful. What saddened me most was that people didn't seem to know how to act around him. Once when I held him by the arm while we talked, tears came to his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he told me nothing, it was just that nobody ever touched him.
As for dentists, I know the terror of sweating it out while I wait to learn what they're going to DO inside my mouth!

4:05 AM  
Blogger cncz said...

My dentist in Louisiana knows how much I hate even getting my teeth cleaned so just for a random detartaring I get novacaine and laughing gas.

When I want to go for free I go to my husband's uncle in Algeria and he was surprised when I asked for the shot. I told him the shot hurts less than feeling the scrapy noise.

Shots and gas and a little xanax are the way to make the dentist fun. Trust.

B did very good under the circumstances. He still does not look his age though.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Thanks for coming to my blog, Linnea, and thanks for the comment. And I appreciate your kind compliment. I think I'm lucky to have such a great husband.

Yeah, I think a lot of folks get very intimidated by those who are para or quadriplegics. I don't know if they're scared of hurting the person or they're repulsed by them or if they simply think paralysis is catching but I know lots of paras and quads who lament that no one touches them except to help them with something. And it's sad.

cncz - I had thought briefly about giving B a Xanax but he already takes a tranquilizer that is close to Xanax. It doesn't, however, with his physiology work as a tranquilizer - he takes it to keep from having muscle spasms. I'm guessing a Xanax wouldn't have even a teeny bit of difference.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Jemima said...

Not that I'm scared of the dentist in any way, but I held my breath all through reading that, and started to feel panicky-sick. I've been having that debate of whether it's worse to go often and suffer a little twice a year, or leave it, build up loads of decay requiring an expensive invasive treatment, but not have to go for years and years.

The jury's out.

I wonder if the injections hurt worse than the treatment. I'm in a cold sweat just thinking. Does anyone have a tranquiliser for me?

10:49 PM  
Blogger christina said...

You did it, B! You look pretty relieved there in the last picture. I don't have a fear of dentists but there are PLENTY of other things that make me shake in my boots so I can relate.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Dixie that man of yours got some looooong legs! I know you said he was tall, but you didn't mention he was TALL. Wow. And those cheeks! How in the green world do you wake up next to those every morning and not reach over and give 'em a leetle pinch and a keese? *sweet, sweet, sweet!* I can't stand it. Must look away! :D

6:37 PM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Lisa, those long legs are a torture for us. It seems such a shame for someone to have legs that long and for them to be completely useless. And I swear, when I wash his legs it takes for-ev-er.

I love his cheeks too. One of his favorite places for me to kiss him is right on his cheeks. B's got really great high cheekbones.

9:22 PM  

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