Engaging Ones Abs During Root Canal While Humming The Little Brown Gal
My first experience with root canal surgery left me believing that I would ask the doctor to pull all my teeth rather than have that arduous and terrifying acquaintance with The Drill ever again.
So when I recently started feeling sensitivity in one of my left molars, I simply decided to favor the right side of my mouth–simple solution, right? Well, it was actually successful for three weeks when I came to the conclusion that forfeiting a summer without hot fudge sundaes and frappucinos (my new addiction) wasn’t the way to go.
Once I settled into the very cushy chair in Dr. Farber’s well-appointed surgery room, he explained The Procedure, commencing first with nitrous oxide.
I knew he was making small talk while waiting for the laughing gas to take effect, calmly interjecting every so often, “Terry, do you feel anything yet? Any tingling sensation in your fingers and toes? Any drowsiness?”
To which I reply, “Nope.”
More questions about my recent houseboat vacation, “Terry, do you feel any tingling yet? Anything different? A slight heaviness? ”
To which I again reply, “Nope.”
So, I am now at the maximum dose one can have of nitrous oxide and this makes me very nervous because I don’t want to feel any pain or tension. (And by the way, why the hell aren’t I laughing yet?)
My solution for warding off the impending nervousness is to engage my abs and do leg lifts. (Carrie, my trainer, would be so proud!) Through the sunglasses they made me wear, I see the assistant look in the direction of my legs and then at the doctor who proceeds to look at my legs also. They make eye contact again (wished I could see their faces), and the doctor continues with The Procedure.
Plop! The first sandal falls off my foot, but I continue with the leg lifts, engaging my core. Minutes later. Plop! The other sandal slides to the floor.
So now I hear the drilling and this totally FREAKS ME OUT, so I decide to hum Little Brown Gal–for the next two hours straight! (Without exaggeration!) Over and over and over I hum, trying to picture the hand and leg movements so as to take me to a much better place than the endodontic’s chair I am presently lying in.
After three and a half hours, the surgery is finally over. “Terry, there were some complications,” Dr. Farber tells me, looking drawn and tired. The doctor’s assistant, pat, pat, pats my hand, then rubs my arm and smiles sweetly. She’s been on her feet for three and a half hours too. It is 7:35 and I first sat in the chair at 4:00 p.m.
What do you do when you are in a similar situation? What do you do when you are nervous?