August 10, 2005
Yeah, it's a common fear. That and spiders. I like to say though that I have good reason. For both actually, but that's for another day.

Last night, I had the pleasure of my teeth being poked, prodded and declared unsafe. It's only been 3 months since the last check and I have another 6 cavities. Not to mention one requires a root canal and a crown. And me without insurance at the end of the month will need them fixed post haste.

So for the 3rd time in 3 years I will have another marathon 6 hour appointment at the dentist on Monday. Yay, I can hardly contain myself.

I've always had bad teeth. I'd like to blame the tetracycline I had to take as a kid for the constant lung infections, but it's likely genetic. My Mom is the same, but she has her lovely click-in choppers now so no one ever has to know.

I can remember as a child of no more than 6 or 7 having several wayward teeth pulled - and not gently. Old Doc Booth - you would think I lived in some previous century - didn't think I'd mind him using the arm of the chair to get leverage as he pulled those puppies out.

As a teenager, I did the braces thing. Headgear, shiny metal railroad tracks top and bottom. A right of passage, I guess.

When I turned 15, my Dad was given the golden handshake after 30 years at his job. We were given 1 week before our dental benefits would be taken so Doc Booth decidedit was time for those wisdom teeth to come out. Hell, he said, it'll be an eventuality in 3-4 years anyway! So at 11am that morning, I was told to come back at 4 and he'd do the procedure. Well, let me tell you, given the option, I would always take being knocked out any day over what happened that evening. Given some unknown number of novocaine needles, I remember asking why the walls were staring at me. He motioned to his nurse to drop my head to get some blood flowing, and started chanting 'Stay with us, dear'. Thinking back now, I am glad I was as young and naive as I was.

For 7 hours, that man wrenched on me shattering teeth, parts of the socket and all the time swearing like a mechanic. Those wisdom teeth were at least half a decade from maturity and he really had to search for them as if they were the Holy Grail. I left there dazed, confused, and looking like I'd been run over by truck slowly over and over. There were many, many stitches and sometime during the night, they broke. I woke up in a pool of blood.

It was many weeks before I could manage anything that didn't come out of a straw. I went down to 89 lbs. Of course, in a young teenage mind, I still remember thinking I could lose more.

The next 10 or so years included a bunch more root canals, crowns, bridges. I am still surprised every time I walk through a metal detector that I don't set off bells. And no matter how much I've tried - brushing multiple times, waterpiks, electronic toothbrushes, special toothpastes - my teeth are determined to crumble and fade away.

The last huge moment, of course, was the episode in 2003 - when it became obvious they could no longer restore my front four teeth. I was given the option of having them pulled -yeah, no thanks - or veneers. I chose veneers. Don't let anyone gloss over that in those Extreme Makeover shows. It is a long process and a painful one.

In my situation, though, I had the added fun of reacting to the antibiotics and developing a perforated colon. Hence, I've now always referred to my dentist as 'the one who tried to kill me'. Thankfully, she has a good sense of humour about it.

So yesterday's check up, while not wholely unexpected has got my nerves up again. But I will go, and I will pretend that I'm calm. They'll tell me I'm a good patient and I'll try to find my happy place for 6 hours.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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