Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dental chair reveries

Today I spent two full hours in a dental chair, no novacaine, lots of drilling and other manipulations. No, it wasn't awful, but it was wearing and will be expensive, of course. I sort of freaked inwardly when a tooth began crumbling Sunday. Nothing hurt, not even any sensivity, gradually more crumbled until the whole top part came off. Ohmygod! I'm falling apart! First the tooth crumbles, then it'll be the eyes cloud over, then the ears go silent, then th fingers claw up, the nose falls off ... Rationality set in and I thought, if there's no pain it must be one of the root canal-ed teeth with no nerves. It's been dead for years.

My sensible, matter of fact and staright forward dentist told me indeed it was a "dead" tooth that had been root canaled and he could make a crown for it . He showed me his fancy software program that could model it but, on exploration decided that old fashioned crown making was the best option. So I sat in his chair on the 15th floor of the Lincoln Building, across the streeet from Grand Central Station for some 2 hours while he drilled and dug and put in a post and made a temporary crown -- all without novacaine since I theoretically could feel nothing .. well drill "vibrations" are not total comfy but not pain, actually. I'll go back in a couple of weeks when he will make a permanent crown but for now I have a temp that feels quite normal.

What does one think of while "relaxing" with cotton packed around the hole in the mouth, while staring at clouds over tall buildings? Well, at some point a hygenist said, from somewhere behind my head, "He'll be back soon." "Okay," said I -- and i heard my mother's voice. Not the first time I've found I am my mother. I think many, maybe most, women have this experience. Several months ago Leslie said, "you konw that picture of you where ..." I don't remember what now, but I did then. "Well, in the mirror this morning I looked just like you looked in that picture. It was freaky." 'I know," I said, "I've had that experience." And I have -- glance in th mirror and think,"ohmygad! I'm my mother!"

I've read that most women, as they grow older, picture themselves as 35 -- the true prime of life for a great many women. I know that I do. I haven't read but strongly suspect that most women remember how their mothers looked between age 35 and 40. [This is my theory, if it's others' I haven't come across it.] But most girls become acutely aware of appearance in their early teens, at which time most of their mothers are 35-40. So when one reaches 35 or 40, that shock of recognition is likely to hit! I'm my mother!!! The last thing you want to be. But there you are, HER in the mirror. saying "Okay" with her voice.

Looking down the tunnel from the other end, the mothers discover traits of theirs popping up in the daughters -- good or bad. Scary! The shaping is not only genetic, we inhabit our daughter's psyches ... proably more than we or they want to know. However, I am comforted by Dr. H. who assures me I'll never have that sunken smile, more a grimmace, that my mother has in the picture above. She had ill fitting dentures; I will never need dentures -- tho' one cap is going to cost more than her whole set of crappy choppers.

You see, I couldn't help but have painful and scary thoughts in a dentist's chair even when the tooth being drilled and rebuilt was :"dead", it had been a friendly inhabitant of my mouth, it did it's part in chewing. Now it's gone but going to be resurrected -- [today's Good Friday, I don't mean blasphemy] .. where is this metaphor going? Damned if I know.

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