#36: I'm so sorry
My dentist, Dr. M., is a sweet lady. She calls me dear; she asks me questions about my life; and right before she sticks a large novocaine needle in my mouth, she ever so gently says, I’m so sorry.
I have always wondered why novocaine needles are so big, so I looked it up. The reason that the needle is so big is because the large diameter minimizes the injection pressure, easing the pain. Thank god. I would rather have a large needle in my mouth than no needle and no anesthesia, although it does sound fun to drink a few shots of whiskey, like in the old days, before a dental procedure. The aftermath, however, when the drunken numbness wears off, and you’re confronted with not only mouth pain, but also stomach pain and head discombobulation from the alcohol, sounds less enjoyable. I guess you could just drink more, but I prefer using cannabis. Nowadays, doctors prescribe patients painkillers, manufactured opiates, but they’re addictive and have terrible side effects, plus they knock you out and make you unable to function. Personally, I’m excited for the day when doctors prescribe cannabis for pain instead of manufactured opiates. Cannabis really works, and is much safer than painkillers. I was surprised when Dr. M., a dentist in Oakland - a city with a long track record for legalizing marijuana - didn’t know that cannabis edibles are a great replacement for Vicodin. After my last serious dental procedure at her office, when she put a crown on my tooth, she asked if I wanted a prescription for Vicodin and I kindly said no. A week later, when I came in for a check-up, she asked me about my pain; I told her that I took THC edibles instead of prescription opiates and that I felt great, and functional! She was shocked, absolutely floored. Personally, I’m super stoked for the day when doctors start prescribing THC as a painkiller. I think it will happen, but it will take some more time, education, and activism.
Anyway, this post is not supposed to be about legalizing marijuana as a painkiller, although I had fun writing the last paragraph, and I think it’s a cool digression. I mean, that’s what writing is after all, right? Good writing is a metaphor for life: you just start writing, without knowing where you’re going, trusting yourself to find the way, and you end up in a great place.
I started to write this post by transcribing a small essay that I wrote in my journal after I had two fillings filled at Dr. M.’s office this week. I wrote some ideas about how I feel grateful for my body for keeping me safe during the procedure, which at times felt scary - I was actually shaking at the end of the procedure, and I felt really cold. Dr. M. told me it’s normal and my body was just in shock. Yeah, no shit, she had to give me multiple novocaine shots to properly numb me before attacking with a drill a deep crevice in my tooth, located in the dark underworld of my lower palette. I also have a small mouth, which I imagine makes it harder.
She said I’m so sorry, before sticking me with a needle, way more times than she was expecting, but apparently my body just needed more of the juicy, bitter medicine, before finally relaxing into a numb-filled heaven. When I stood up from the race-car looking dental chair, I was a little wobbly, so she asked me if I had eaten anything that day. I had breakfast, but it was already 3pm, so I responded that I didn’t have much food. She’s such a kind lady: she went and brought me a pastry and encouraged me to eat it. I did, but after taking a few bites and washing it down with some water that completely missed my mouth and spilled all over my chin and neck, I decided to wrap the pastry up and take it home with me, so I could enjoy it from the comfort of my couch, after eating a THC edible, which always makes food tastes so much better (not like painkillers which kill your appetite and leaving you feeling like a euphoric zombie vegetable).
The small essay that I wrote in my notebook, about the dental procedure, came out pretty darn good; well, for a shitty first draft. I was content and at peace with it, but I feel much better about my writing quality after writing this longer post. You may be wondering if I’m high while writing this post. No, with certainty, I can tell you that I’m not. Some people say they don’t like writing high, it can be distracting, but I don’t know. I haven’t ever really seriously tried it.
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