Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Control Freak

Control Freak. Has a rather ominous sound to it. As if being in control is a bad thing. That having a plan or a goal or a wish is freakish in nature. Requesting someone to explain a process from beginning to end so I can handle it like a mature adult, rather than a quivering child consumed with fear doesn't make me a control freak. In some cases, it merely indicates my level of wimp, especially when applied to medical situations. I've always considered the "level headed" side of me as So-organized-I-make-Gen.-Patton-look-like-a-rank-amateur. I've always been like this. Looking ahead, planning for the future, back up plan at the ready. That doesn't mean I can't have fun. I can. I do. In my mind, being in control just meant being the mistress of my destiny, as much as any of us can when dealing with the unforeseen future. I don't have to plan everything. I don't need to be in charge. I can sit back and let life unroll without the need to interfere or tidy it up.

Yesterday, I learned that's not really true.

Monday was a new dentally retarded day. An unscheduled one. Oh, I knew that tooth WAY back there had to come out one day because it had a hairline crack in it....which I suspect came from when the tooth above it was pulled several years ago. I remember a distinct "crack!" as the tool on the top tooth slipped down to smack the lower one. My dentist cursed under his breath, then sweetly breathed into my ear, "Honey, you doing okay?"

Yeah doc, swell.

Monday's challenge, I was to learn, was not for the dentist. Oh no. It was for me. This tooth had planned to stay with me forever. Why two of the roots were curled, attempting to hug my jaw bone as if begging me to leave them be in their nice quiet home. Well, if they hadn't woken up their neighbors, the ear and jaw, making them throb to the point of wanting to smack myself I wouldn't have served the eviction notice. I'd seen the x-ray and it wasn't pretty. Bottom teeth are especially stubborn. My dentist likes to tease that mine have roots that end just below my knee caps. It had been filled more than once, meaning the sound effects would be worse than the experience of being pulled out of a chair by one's innards. Filled teeth tend to break. An awful snapping like the sound effect they use in movies to denote breaking bones when the mafia wants their money. But hey, I've done this before sadly, so it wasn't anything new. Except that part where Doc said,"This one is so bad, I'm going to have to sedate you."

As in go to sleep and not know what's going on?! screamed Gen. Control Freak from Central Command. I merely smiled sickly and nodded.

I really don't know which was ruder; me suddenly cross examining the Dental Assistant about the steps of this procedure as if I were a criminal lawyer or her laughing at me with, "You've NEVER been knocked out before?!" This is where Gen. C.F. steps forward, voice suddenly cool and calm to reply,"No. So I'd like you to explain the steps to me."

Before you come near me with that needle! squeaks a silent voice quivering behind the General.

The Dental Assistant is retired Army. I'm guessing something about my no-nonsense tone made old habits kick in and she explained everything as if we were about to partake in an assault on some beachfront during wartime. Its wasn't warm and comforting, but it gave me the facts. I began to think of her as Sarge. Sarge demanded my watch. Doc came in and said he'd be there in a minute as he couldn't leave me once he started the I.V.. I smiled weakly and muttered, "Lucky you" as he patted me paternally on the shoulder. In anyone else younger than me it would've felt condescending, but he has a way of making me feel as if we're in this together, no matter how many degrees he holds. When he discovered I'd worn a sweater that couldn't come off without embarrassing both of us, he went into his office, then came out with one of his scrub tops. Sarge sent me into the bathroom to change as [a] the blinds were open and the bank patrons might get a free show and [b] it's one of those offices where you wander in and out of rooms without doors. I went to the bathroom as instructed.

When I returned to my torture chamber, I looked more like a little kid playing dress up than one of those television doctors. I sat down, Doc returned to start the I.V. and the girl who usually cleans my teeth came in to check on me. She hates needles. She likes me because I always ask about her son. So she walked to the other side of the chair and said in machine gun fashion,"I know just how you feel. I hate these things too. Just keep looking at me and we'll talk about anything you want to talk about." It was funny watching someone look more nervous than I felt. As Doc muttered his usual kindly, "just a pinch", she shuddered. It wasn't that bad. As Doc rattled off the names of 4 drugs he was about to give me while asking if I was allergic , [I'm not] I remember telling him it probably wouldn't take long because 2 aspirin put me to sleep. The only drug I remember from that litany was Valium. Gen. C.F. muttered, "Good. At least we know that one will relax you."

Sarge then returned and in a quick litany began attaching a mass of medical equipment to me. I began to wonder if my appendix was safe or if they knew my driver's license said I was an organ donor. On with the blood pressure cuff, followed by an oxygen monitor to my finger, then an oxygen line in my nose. As she untangled two objects which I swear look liked jumper cables I quipped, "What, you going to shock me awake if I flake out on you?" She got that same smile Jack Nicholson had in "The Shining" as she attached them to my wrists. I shut up. Unfortunately, the sound of my heartbeat wasn't comforting. It was loud. And fast.

As Doc put in the first shot, he explained the room would start to feel as if it were spinning. "Spinning yet?" he asked jovially.

"No", I muttered, my unspoken question being, why are you so darn cheerful?

"How about now?" he insisted happily.

"Spinning...no. But I am having a difficult time focusing on that idiot babbling on the t.v.," I replied as the CNN reporter suddenly sprouted 2 extra heads. This won me another shot. I had just enough time to think that I was about to lose control and not have a clue what was going on.

Oh crap!

When I woke up, I had not concept of time because Sarge had my watch. Hubby was standing next to me, hand out, asking if I could stand up. Sarge was pushing a bag of gauze at me as my feet hit the floor. I guess it was the floor. It was solid. I was about to ask for my watch back and remind them I needed to change back into my green sweater lying in the chair. As Sarge and hubby talked, I pointed at the chair with my left hand, as hubby was holding the right one. The left arm was green and had a watch on it. Why, I wondered, standing up like a wobbly new born calf, would anyone WANT to drink or take drugs if it made them feel this fuzzy or....

....out of control.

Seems Gen. C.F. had fallen asleep on the job. And I didn't like it. Not one bit.

Oh granted, it was nice not to hear those bone crunching sounds or know my gum was being stitched up, a task which makes my skin crawl, even if it can't be felt. But I was a little more than annoyed that everyone kept asking me if I was okay....in voices that were TOO DAMN LOUD! I just wanted to get away, into the truck and home. Inside, I marched on. Outside...the newborn calf effect took control and I wobbled out like Saturday night's last patron who didn't want to hear last call. And I found it slightly disturbing to hear hubby say he'd walked in to find Sarge putting my sweater back on, something he found odd since it was in front of open windows with a room that had no door. I'm a private person. Sarge viewing my bra pattern wasn't a comforting thought.

The whole thing was weird. And fuzzy. I don't like fuzzy.

Fuzzy, however, follows you for 24 hours, which did get me out of work today, just prior to our 3 day Thanksgiving holiday from work. I still have leftover moments of "Gee, is the room spinning or is it me?" I know it's my sinus during pollen season. But there is a small part of me not happy that Gen. C.F. went AWOL, deserting me in enemy territory, only to awaken with an aching jaw... and a cut lip. Maybe I don't want to know how that happened.

I don't drink. Never have. Well, once when I was eight but the beer was warm, flat and stale. Pretty much permanently killed my taste for all things alcohol. But deep down, I always suspected it was the fear of losing control that made my taste buds yell, "Crap! Spit that out!" when it came to alcohol.

Guess I'll always be the designated driver in life. For the record, I don't mind going along for the ride...as long as there are seat belts available and I'm doing the driving.

But hey, you can sing any song you want. I enjoy being entertained by extroverts.


Susan said...

Went AWOL, leaving you in enemy territory... BEAUTIFUL! That phrase sums it up wonderfully. I hate, hate, hate, anaesthesia (though I imagine I'd hate NOT having it more). Until someone goes through it, it's hard to imagine putting yourself so completely into someone else's hands. Ugh.

But hey, congratulations on growing such mighty teeth. What is it about any kind of surgery -- no matter how minor it seems -- on the face and head? It makes me ten times as nervous, and feels much more difficult and invasive for some reason.

I'm so glad it's over, and you're recovering. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday in spite of it!

hope said...

Wonder how turkey in a blender tastes? :)

Susan said...

Ugh! Or, you could look at it as a valid excuse to make an entire meal out of pumpkin pie filling, ice cream, and chocolate milk.


Dave King said...

I don't think any of that makes you a control freak. To me, control freak means wanting to control others, not yourself. The destinies of others, not your own. To me all that makes you a rational human being. And if you're wimpish, so am I, in exactly the same way. You've made a fine post out of a truly horrible experience. That's some doing!

Rachel Fox said...

See, I quite like being knocked out. I would like it for lots of things - flights, anything medical, meetings, family get-togethers...

hope said...

Twas an odd experience. I didn't mind not being "present" for the actual procedure but I sort of felt AWOL from my life for a day and a half. THAT was disconcerting.

Thanks Dave...I feel better now that I know I'm not alone. :)