Let’s just get this out of the way: I really hate going to the dentist.
Which, when you’re a parent, sucks, because you have no choice but to take your kids to the dentist (especially once they reach grade school and have regular visits from the school nurse to teach about things like drugs and nutrition and fire safety and hygiene and suddenly your offspring come home talking about plaque and tartar and you realize the last time they used floss, it was to wrap their Barbies to their bedposts like spiders cocooning a meal). And you can’t tell your children that you despise the dentist, because then they’ll hate the dentist, and you don’t need any more reasons for tantrums, thanks very much.
It’s tough, carefully balancing the threat of cavities (to get them to brush) with abject terror of cavities, sending them screaming from the hygienist before they’ve even taken off their coats. BRUSH YOUR TEETH OR ELSE THEY’LL ROT AND FALL OUT! But if they do, no worries — it will be fine! Yaaaaay, dentist time!!
My hatred of the dentist is actually based on very little personal experience. Mercifully, I’ve had few dental issues over the years; aside from a couple of cavities that were filled, like, twenty years ago, I’ve pretty much only seen the dentist for cleanings. But the sounds of the drills… the smell of the drills (omg)… the grit of the toothpaste that’s whirred up from the ring worn on the hygienist’s finger (my precious, my ass), the weird plastic-y things they put in your mouth to take x-rays that taste vaguely of the tongue depressors you used to sneak as a kid while your pediatrician was making notes in the chart… No. I don’t like it. None of it. I look more forward to the stirrups at my OB-GYN’s than the plastic-lined dentist’s chair.
Naturally, I couldn’t hold out on needing dental work forever, and yesterday, I found myself in our dentist’s office. A few weeks ago, I’d been eating dessert – something soft, I can’t remember what, but it was definitely not anything that caused me to question whether or not it was lethal – and suddenly it felt like a piece of one of my molars just cracked off. While that didn’t make much sense to me – how could a piece of my tooth just come off?? – I visited our dentist anyway just to be certain, and sure enough, I’d broken my tooth.
Broken my tooth? WTF?
I should probably revise the story to say I was gnawing through iron chains, rather than spooning up ice cream. And then I BROKE my TOOTH. RRRAWWR.
Turns out, broken teeth don’t get casts… they get crowns. Which are really just fake teeth, but crowns sounds way cooler. Queen Emily, at your service.
So anyway, yesterday, I was at the dentist’s for my crown. I knew it would be bad… Not pain-wise, necessarily (I certainly hoped not), but anxiety-wise. The week before, when Dr. M had filed down the rough edge of my cracked tooth, the sensation of the vibrations and the smell of the drilling caused me to practically pass out; I knew I wouldn’t make it through my coronation without some assistance. I knew that Xanax would help ease my nerves, but there were still the sounds of the procedure to contend with.
And then it dawned on me: I had the solution right in my purse.
While sitting in the chair, waiting for my tooth tiara to be made (how cool is modern dentistry, BTW? They churn out those suckers right in the back. Queen Emily is very pleased), I posted the following to Facebook:
So, I’m *that* person… The one who brings the Mifi to the dentist (because I’m a wuss about dental work and music makes things better) so I can stream Christmas songs on my phone from Pandora while the dentist does his thang. And, apparently, I’m also the person who updates her FB status while sitting in the dental chair. It’s not like Nick plays hockey with our dentist, so my holiday cheer isn’t embarrassing or anything. Thank god.
K.A… The Novocain and Xanax will have worn off by the time I get the girls after school. Promise.
At least I didn’t post a dentist chair selfie. You’re welcome.
True story: Nick and our dentist play hockey together; it’s weird for me to refer to him as Dr. M. I think of him as Greg. Greg is a really good guy. I don’t dislike dentists. I just can’t stand going to the dentist – not even Greg.
Also, true story: Ella and Annie had a half-day of school and we were hosting one of Annie’s good buddies for a play date immediately after school. Or, in other words, while I was still full of Novocain. I always make excellent decisions like this. Do send your children over.
The coronation went as planned (Claire Danes was even on Kelly and Whoever She’s With Now That Regis Is Gone – handsome, engaging fellow – so I got a Homeland fix), with Greg informing me that he didn’t think I’d need a root canal — we avoided one today — but he’d put the crown on with temporary adhesive just in case. I was to call him if I experienced deep pain or throbbing. OH GOOD.
Dire warnings aside, I was out of there after just a couple of hours. And five hundred dollars. And that’s with dental insurance. No wonder Greg wears such nice ties.
I kid, I kid.
He wasn’t wearing a tie.
While listening to “Holly Jolly Christmas” and trying to ignore the thundering vibrations in my skull, I’d made an executive decision that I deserved Starbucks afterward. I called Nick to tell him about my appointment and how I was now on the lookout for throbbing pain, but that I’d avoided a root canal for the time being, so I was going to reward myself with Starbucks. Except he practically needed an interpreter to understand me, because half of my face was still entirely numb, and my lips just weren’t working the way that they should. He sagely warned me that I might not be able to drink properly, and we joked that perhaps I should get a straw.
After getting my drink (I decided against the straw; it wouldn’t fit in the little sippy hole anyway), I returned to the car to drive home, and discovered that, indeed, I was having trouble with my beverage. Specifically, I couldn’t feel the cup, so I drooled out as much liquid as I swallowed. How very royal of me. Additionally, the heat of the latte seemed to interact poorly with the adhesive on my tooth, so instead of tasting coffee, I tasted hot glue. Which is not delicious.
I attempted to drink some of the water that I had on hand in the car – out of a reusable Starbucks cup with a large straw – only to discover that using a straw was even more difficult than drinking straight from the cup, because my lips refused to fully close around the straw — which, in essence, meant that I was attempting to put water in my mouth by inhaling it from six inches away.
And so, despite my earlier entreaties, I did the only thing possible: I took selfies of inability to use a straw, and sent them to my husband.
When I arrived at school to pick up the girls thirty minutes later, the secretary gave me some sideways glances when I signed out Annie’s playmate, but she didn’t say anything. Maybe she thought I’d had a few too many Bloody Marys to steel myself for the half-day of school. (Which, FWIW, would never happen, because a) I hate Bloody Marys, and b) I’d already taken Xanax, so I needed no further steeling. Actually, the Xanax had long worn off by then, so maybe a Mimosa wouldn’t have been such a bad idea…)
I decided to preempt any possible embarrassment for Annie (or me) by explaining to her and her friend what had happened, and why Mommy was talking so strangely. Annie cocked her head to one side and declared that she thought I sounded perfectly fine.
Oh, good. I must always slur like this. Super.
When I showed her that I was incapable of whistling or rubbing my lips together to smear chapstick around, however, her eyes lit up and she nodded, “Ohhh, NOW I see it. Yeah. You definitely sound weird.”
I made lunch for the girls and settled into a plate of my own when I discovered that although the Novocain didn’t affect my appetite, it did affect my chewing capability, so it took twice as long to consume my meal because I had to put back into my mouth what had just fallen out of it with each bite. Also very queenly. Perhaps I’m not cut out for this Royals business after all.
A couple of hours later, things finally felt back to normal, and I decided to reheat my Starbucks and give it another go. I was taking my second sip when Ella, who was sitting beside me in the kitchen, reared back ever-so-slightly (not wanting to appear too horrified) and whispered to me, “Uh, mom… You just drooled. Like, all over.”
THANK YOU, LORDS AND LADIES OF THE COURT.
I proudly (albeit undeservedly) accept this coronation, and shall immediately take up my new duties as your monarch.
My first royal decree: dentistry is henceforth outlawed.
Don’t worry, Greg; I hear you play a mean Left Wing.