You just let your fingers do the walking.
I told myself last night as I struggled to calm myself for sleep that it would be just twenty-four hours later and I’d know the outcome, I’d know if death found me in my chair, if my teeth had rotted through and had to be extracted, if the pain was such that I had some sort of panic attack that would hang on me for years afterwards.
But my periodontic procedure was not to be so dramatic. Instead, it went how I hoped it would go. Apparently, the teeth were bad all over. Not the teeth, I guess, but the gums and they were 3’s and 4’s and 5’s and as nervous as I was in hearing that some were bleeding and bad news, the hygienist – who saw my Mumford bag and talked to me about their videos and shows was kind and considerate in explaining to what she was going to do and was kind and considerate in doing it. So I had watched a little video as preface because when someone says they’re going to plane your teeth – that doesn’t sound right – but she put some numbing gel on the gums, and then used a little pressurized water drill (is it a drill? I’m afraid I wouldn’t begin to know anything technical about this) to just start blasting shit off my teeth. There was, I guess, a lot to blast. I had been so nervous about this bit, but with the numbing, berry-flavored gel, it felt like nothing at all really but some pressure and I didn’t gag or choke or wig out or have my gag reflexes kick in as she poked about. Next there was some sort of scraper and she went at my teeth and flecked and scraped and scratched and got rid of whatever it was she saw there that needed to be removed, sprayed some medicine that tasted of Listerine, polished my teeth up and then lasered them. The laser was another aspect that I was sure was about a thousand times worse than it actually was. How the hell are they going to stick a laser in me? I naively thought all sorts of mad scientist tools would be involved. I was, really, in so many ways naive. In the background, a little boy was getting his teeth cleaned, and struggling with the suction and crying and I felt stupidly proud that I had managed to get myself there. For so long, I thought, I’d just never go and everything would always be fine. I was just one of those people who naturally didn’t need to go. But my body said, hold up and made my gums throb and ache so much that it frightened me and for one minute, I listened and that minute was going to make my life much better.
So, I do feel proud. Despite it being simple and despite all the other problems and issues left without attention. I took care of this one thing.