Today, I had four cavities filled on the right side of my mouth, two molars on top and two on the bottom. Three hours later, the novocaine started to wear off. Four hours later, I'm on Advil. The ache is pretty intense.
I felt no pain. The procedure was painless. Really, truly painless.
I feel like I have slain a demon.
My dentist helped to invent this device. There is a needle on the tip of it, but it's teeny, and he uses a topical anaesthetic gel that is freakishly strong. They used the gel on me a couple of weeks ago, when I had my first cleaning in seven years, and I was amazed at it's power. So with the gel knocking out the top layer of sensation, I didn't feel the needle go in. And with the device controlling the Novocaine delivery, a slow drip that takes about 15 seconds, I didn't feel the "pinch" of the fluid entering my gums. The soft tissues of my gum absorbed the Novocaine drop by drop, effortlessly. I felt my jaw go numb, but that's it.
When he started drilling, I actually laughed. It was a tension release. The worst part was the vibration of one of the other tools - the drill I didn't really feel. But he used something else that vibrated strongly, that he didn't seem to enjoy using any more than I enjoyed feeling it. It was LOUD, but again, not at all painful, just annoying. The cavity on the top back molar was pretty deep.
The bottom jaw is apparently difficult to isolate as far as nerve response goes, so the good doctor simply numbed the whole right side of my neck and face! At least, so it seemed. Basically, a nerve block. I have never felt anything quite so weird.
I shook and cried until the initial injections were finished. Nobody was fazed, nobody was irritated. All I heard was more "You're doing great, Ouiser!" And I was given the option to do the bottom jaw at a future date, if I decided that I'd had enough. I chose to do both top and bottom today. I chose to have my lower jaw injected and drilled, right then and there. I chose, and my choice was respected. And I know if I had chosen otherwise, it would have been alright too.
When I was done, I sat down in the waiting area for a few minutes, shaking. I cried a little, but it was from relief. The receptionists were happy to see me doing so well. I know how good it feels to have happy customers; I certainly was one today. Before I left, I made an appointment for next Tuesday to get the right side of my mouth done - two molars on top and bottom there as well.
I cannot describe the feeling of triumph that flooded through me when the dentist removed my paper bib and said I was all done, and shook my hand. I felt so powerful, that I had mastered this fear and regained control of myself and my health. I felt like I was glowing from top to toe. Everyone will be so proud of me, I thought to myself! Mom and Dad, and G, my friends, and somewhere, my grandparents.
Most of all, I'm relieved that it's half over, and that my fear is, for the most part, gone. Right now, what scares me most is how much it all costs. I have help with that, but I wish I had health insurance.
So. Time to step up that job search.
And I love that, four hours after I had my gums injected, that I have already moved on to the next thing in my life.