Today I figured out why I’m not a drug addict. It’s because I associate all the best highs of my life with being at the dentist. I went back today for part two of my cleaning. Part one consisted mostly of me laughing uncontrollably due to the Nitrus gas. So naturally when the hygienist asked me if I would be needing the Nitrus again today, I said yes. There was no laughing today- I came prepared. I decided earlier in the day that I would take the opportunity to just relax and let myself fall into it.
Within minutes, my mind was flooded with memories. I remembered playing at my friend Rachel’s house, on the floor next to her bed. I remembered her flowered bedspread with matching pillowcases and the bed skirt that would brush up against my leg as we played with our Barbies. My bed at home didn’t have a bed skirt and I was fascinated by it. I wondered if I put one of Rachel’s Barbies under her bed if she would ever find it.
I remembered swimming in her pool and how the water seemed darker than the water in our pool. Somehow it seemed much deeper and almost like an adventure to swim at her house. I remembered getting out of the water and the feeling of my swimsuit slowly drying on my skin, lightly scratching me as it returned to its original shape. I thought I looked better in my swimsuit than I did in my clothes. I wished I could wear it to school. I felt that the people who weren’t nice to me would be nicer if they saw me in my swimsuit. A voice called me out of my memory and asked me to open my mouth a little wider.
As I drifted away again, I thought about how I ended up at this dentist in the first place. I was eating popcorn and it pulled out my crown. I then remembered being very small and watching movies with my parents. I worried that we would run out of popcorn. I wished there was infinite popcorn. I would watch my parents almost as much as I watched the movie- to make sure I laughed when they laughed. I remembered my dad noticing this and telling me to enjoy the movie and to laugh at what I thought was funny. I said I understood, but I lied. It was so important to me to laugh when he laughed.
This happens to me at the daycare all the time. If I laugh, even if it is at something I have just read on my phone, at least one kid near me will catch my eye and laugh too. I think it’s about feeling like they are part of something with me. Maybe it makes them feel closer to me. Or maybe they just like to laugh.
The chair moved me into a more upright position. She started cleaning my lower teeth. There was more poking and scraping, but not enough to keep me out of my memories. I remembered lying on my bed, drawing with my mom. I wanted her to be there and watch me. I remember needing help drawing the arms of a girl, but not wanting to need help. I remember getting angry with my mom for how she drew the arms. She added the crease of the girl’s elbows, and I didn’t want it there. I erased it furiously and shook off all the eraser bits. My mom asked me if I knew where all those bits went when I blew them. I looked up at her in wonder, and asked “where?”- Anticipating some magical answer. “The floor,” she said, smiling.
Remembering this made me laugh out loud, startling the dental hygienist. I had been so quiet up until that point. She asked how I was doing and told me it was time for my polish. She said I could pick my flavor. I had the choice of mint or a whole bunch of disgusting flavors, so I chose mint. Because of the noise, I couldn’t really escape. When she finished, she went to find out if my insurance covered fluoride treatments and she left me alone with my gas. I started to miss Rodrigo. I wished he were in the chair next to me with a gas mask on as well. I imagined us holding hands and talking about how each of our days had gone. I told Rodrigo I had to pee and asked him if I should even bother getting up and going to the bathroom or if I should just go in the chair. He said he wouldn’t judge me if I went in the chair, but I’d probably be happier if I went to the bathroom. I was smiling when the hygienist came back and told me my insurance did not cover fluoride treatments. She turned off the gas and turned up the oxygen. Within moments I was completely clear and back in the present.