A couple of days ago, Laura came home and stated matter-of-factly, “I made dentist appointments for us. Yours is Thursday morning.” At the risk of sounding cliche, childish and macho (don’t those last two typically go hand-in-hand anyway?) I have to confess that my initial thought was, “Dentist? I’m not going to go to no dentist.”
I should clarify before I go any further that I am very much in favor of dental hygiene, dentistry and teeth in general. It’s just that I was none too keen on willingly returning to any sort of dental facility because of some unfortunate previous experiences involving my choppers and medical professionals. I recall one incident as a boy when I was having a tooth extracted and the laughing gas wasn’t exactly…how shall I say…well, it wasn’t hilarious. So there I am writhing in pain and I hear the Dentist’s assistant say, “Shhhh…we have other patients.” Yeah?! Well crank up the goofy juice lady and maybe we’ll all be feeling a little better, eh? Some years later when I had my wisdom teeth removed, they decided to go ahead and take out an extra moler while they were at it. That’s cool. I guess the top tooth will just crush my veggies against my gums. It was on the drive home that my mom informed me of the theft as I was drifting in and out of a drug-induced stooper. She tells me I muttered with all the contempt of a mob boss, “Thaaaat…rat bastahd.”
So that’s where I was coming from. Not from a mindset that all Dentists are awful, (in fact, we’re related to the one of the best Dentists in the entire state of Texas…a Dentist so remarkable that he’s even made a brief appearance on the talk show “Ellen”) or that all Dentists are blood-thirsty inflicters of pain, only the ones I’ve visited. Given that, I didn’t think the chances of enjoying my appointment were worth betting on.
But, I have to admit, by the time I left that office today I was feeling great! My Dentist was an extremely friendly guy and I can’t believe that I’m actually glad to have already made another appointment. The facility was set up more like a comfortable spa than a traditional Dentist’s office and I even had my own personal TV (with remote!) that I could control whilst getting my teeth X-rayed. Ah. The X-ray, this is where the title for this entry comes from.
So, I’m sitting in my recliner (that’s what I’ll refer to the dental chair as from now on…it even had a massager) watching a “Daily Show” rerun when a nice lady comes in to take some X-rays. The first thing she does is to lay the heavy lead coat/blanket thing on top of me. I haven’t been X-rayed a great many times in my life, but I recall having the same exact feeling every time I’ve donned the lead jacket. It’s a simulataneous feeling of both, “Excellent, this feels safer. No worries.” and, “Wai-wai-wai-wait! Is engaging in any activity that involves wearing lead clothes a good idea? No!!! Legs! Run!” But, today my legs couldn’t obey, what with my being pinned to the chair by the lead coat and all. So we’re going through with the X-rays when she moves the camera to a different angle to capture a shot of some tooth that the previous 42 shots apparantly didn’t get and I open my eyes to see what old Jon Stewart is up to on the television and she says, “Ok, just close your eyes for one more second.” Then I hear the camera make it’s little bug-zapper noise and she tells me it’s ok to open them back up. I was truly perplexed. Is my eyelid able to protect my eye from whatever the robe of lead is protecting my body from?! And if so, why not replace the lead blankets with whatever it is our eyelids are made of? That was at about 9:20 this morning and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been thinking of eyelid-related inventions ever since.