Now, please understand that I have a very caring, compassionate dentist who has a very caring, compassionate staff. It’s just that I start getting scared out in the parking lot. The building looks bright and cheerful but it’s what lurks inside that troubles me. My fear may have started years ago when my dentist in Chattanooga hit a nerve while administering Novocain.
That bolt of electricity could have lit up all the Christmas lights downtown. I remember him smiling slyly and saying, “I got close, real close.” Well, getting close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I’m telling you he hit a nerve, it was a bull’s eye. He whistled all the time too and that set my nerves on edge. The only good thing was the little treasure box as he called it. Even though I was a grown woman he let me pick out a goody each time before leaving.
If I had to boil this phobia thing down it would probably be the drill. I absolutely cannot bear the sound of a drill while waiting my turn to be called back. It almost gives me a panic attack and I’m tempted to make a run for it. At least I have seen the drill and it is very tiny; I keep my eyes wide open during any procedure. My sister Wilma has never had the nerve to open her eyes and thought the drill was the size of a jack hammer used to bust concrete.
Another thing I dislike is that the dentist talks to me and asks pertinent questions as he works. All I can answer is, “ba,ba,ba,ba.” And the urge to swallow is overwhelming. My dentist knows me so well now that he makes sure to numb me up before any procedure. I prefer my entire mouth to be dead as a door nail. If I slobber and slurp tomato soup the rest of the day it’s okay.
One time I was getting a permanent crown installed. As the assistant approached I backed up and mumbled, “I want a shot first.” She went to the next room and though it was mostly inaudible I did hear, “I know, but Kaye wants you to deaden her up.” If he was angry the mask hid it, but the needle appeared a little larger than normal. Looking back it might have just had saline in it. And all this phobia stuff could just be in my mind. I don’t know but I saw the movie Marathon Man many years ago and I’m just not taking any chances.
Kaye Ella Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller, published writer and author of the book “The Girl in the Mirror.” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.