Monday, May 11, 2009

Laughing gas

M~ p17ma01/11p clr/teethAs a practicing Mormon, I am afforded very few opportunities to take mind-altering drugs. Please don't read that sentence as a form of complaint — I'm actually extremely grateful for a religion that has helped me stay away from harmful substances like cocaine, marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol, and Cherry Coke (insert smiling emoticon here). However, it does mean that whenever I do take a mind-altering substance (as prescribed by a doctor), the experience is strangely . . . novel. (Is it wrong to say that?)

I love laughing gas. (It's probably wrong to say that.) I try to find some way to justify its use every time I go to the dentist. Since I do try to not be a laughing gas druggie, I typically don't ask for it if the hygienist is cleaning my teeth, or if the doctor is using that weird mirror thing and lecturing me on how I need to do better at flossing.

But, Oh! You're going to use a sharp instrument? Gas me!

For those of you who have never tried laughing gas, allow me to explain how it feels (at least to me). Laughing gas does not prevent pain, or even prevent you from noticing pain: what it does do, and very effectively I might add, is make you not care about pain (or anything, for that matter).

I remember when I had my wisdom teeth (make that my four impacted the-doctor-had-to-break-them-to-get-them-out wisdom teeth) removed, I only had two things to help me: Novocaine and laughing gas. And man, it hurt, but I didn't care. I was so doped up that at one point I thought it would be funny to bite the dentist's drill as he worked. And you know what? To the guy on laughing gas, it was!

I knew I had finally gone too far, though, during a root canal just a few months ago. My new dentist (Scott's dad, good guy) has a television above his root canal chair. When I had my root canal done I was watching a documentary about the United Kingdom. It was painfully bad, but laughing gas apparently has a way of covering up artistic pain as well as physical pain.

The drilling, yanking, cleaning, and pulling lasted about 40 minutes total — but I was happily in another world, joyously flying over various parts of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, admiring the beauty, and thinking to myself, as blood spewed from my mouth, I really ought to go to Britian. It's so lovely there.

About 30 minutes into the procedure, however, I officially took it too far. The dentist seemed to be finishing up, and in my gassed-up stupor I actually thought, Please don't be done! I have to finish this movie! They haven't showed Buckingham Palace yet!

At that moment I turned to the dentist and kindly asked him to bring me back to earth.

1 comment:

  1. My dad and I got a good laugh over this one. . .he really liked your NPR comments and extinct Republican commentary as well ;-)