Root canal therapy.
Last week I had the second in a series of three root canal sessions for a cracked bottom molar.
I never used to be scared of going to the dentist, but in the last five years I’ve had so much dental work that my tolerance for pain and discomfort has plummeted. Believe it or not, I couldn’t watch a lot of this video, and my dentist is nothing like Steve Martin. At least the bits I did open my eyes for gave me a laugh.
The dentist had the radio on some poppy commercial station, and what should come on but this:
It was a welcome distraction, but it wasn’t long enough. I would have suggested to my dentist that she project 24hours ofhappy.com onto the wall in front of me, except that I was unable to speak at that point.
The assistant gave me a stress ball.
Inspired by Pharrell, I thought music might be the answer to my distress. I tried to distract myself by bouncing the stress ball to the rhythms of west african drumming.
For some reason, this didn’t work. A bit too complex, perhaps.
I tried to detach my mind from my body, cast about for other things to think about.
I’ll be working more hours over the next few months, so I started imagining what I would do with the extra money.
- X% on the mortgage
- Y% to salary sacrifice
- Z% saving for holidays …
Who am I kidding? It’s all going to go on the dental work.
So counting the pennies only worked for a little while. Although, briefly, it was a very effective distraction.
I can’t quite remember what happened next. I know it involved a second needle. I seem to recall that I spent a lot of time thinking about Downtown Abbey costumes. I like to think of it as a form of focussed meditation on the details of design, fabric, embellishments, etc. It was moderately effective as pain relief, until I got a bit bogged down in resentment about Mary’s absolutely gorgeous purple chiffon number getting ruined in a recent episode. Perhaps if I’d had this to listen to it would have helped improve my mood.
Except of course my jaw was wedged open, so I wouldn’t have been able to laugh. It didn’t cross my mind to meditate on Game of Thrones costumes, possibly because I was feeling tortured enough. Although now I’ve read this article I realise I need to watch the whole series again (on mute, and fast-forwarding through the violence).
Fabulous costumes aside, I am sooo relieved I live in the 21st century, in a country with a good healthcare system, and have enough money to pay for high quality dental care. It’s not so long ago I would have had to dose up on strong gin and get my troublesome teeth pulled out. By now I’d probably be resembling a sunken-mouthed hag.
So I guess, putting it all in perspective, Pharrell Williams really is the best soundtrack for dental work.