I was flat on my back. The face looking down at me was vaguely familiar. I slowly realized the last time I had seen her; she had been an unruly teen hiding behind a curtain of dark hair. “Do you want the gas?” No wonder I did not recognize her. I had never seen those charming eyes. But she was so YOUNG and she was poised behind a tray full of very sharp steel instruments. “Yes, by all means, bring on the gas.” I inhaled both lungs full.
Dr. S. sat down behind my right shoulder. When he bent over I could see the hair in his nose. I trusted Dr. S. He’d had his hands in the mouth of all my children. Once he had put everything on hold to stop a pain in my jaw that threatened to make my head explode. His office sported more new digital equipment every time I stopped by. But there was that same NEEDLE stabbing into my mouth and threatening to shoot out the back of my neck.
I have found that silently reciting poetry helps me disregard alarming situations. I shut my eyes and got through most of John Masefield’s “Sea Fever” (“I must go down to the seas again”), when the drilling and slurping started. An old silver filling was being replaced with a pretty white porcelain job in a back molar. The nitrous oxide was making my brain foggy (Try something easier, uh, “Whose woods these are I think I know,”) I smelled smoke. (My head is on fire!….. “His house is in the village, though.”) Brown Eyes handed Dr. S. something that looked like a plate of bubble gum. (“He will not see me”….uh…duh).
“Bite down…hmmm a little high” (Yeah, I think I am). “How does that feel?” Dr. S. grinned. My tongue felt like a hunk of raw liver. The whole left side of my face was dead. “Pleddy Gub! Flls fwine!”
Dr. S. left. Brown Eyes brought me down from the gas and sent me out the door. I sat in my car with dried drool on my face. I looked in the mirror with slightly crossed eyes at the glistening white in the back of my mouth. I wondered if I should be behind the wheel in this condition. I took the back streets home.