500 Words – A Writing Exercise

You Won’t Feel a Thing

– An appointment with Dr. Jones? Right this way, sir.

Why do dentist offices need to be so sterile looking? White and turquoise. And the funny smell! My stomach churns and cold sweat breaks on my forehead. Considering I have dentophobia, I’m no less than a hero coming here.

– Hm … do you feel this?

Red-hot pain ricochets inside my head, and a whimper escapes through my open mouth.

– Right. You have periodontitis, pal. How long has it hurt?

I have sensed the pulsating pain for two months. Only when no longer able to sleep at night, I went to see a dentist.

– Uh, a few weeks, perhaps? You see, I have this nervousness about dentist offices …

– Bad choice. You waited too long. We need to do a root canal filling. That means that I cut off the roots, treat the inflammation and put a crown on the dead tooth. So you still have something to chew with. Ha-ha.

The room starts spinning. What made me select a dentist who obviously is emotionally dysfunctional? Oh, yes. My mother recommended him. Said he is as a no-nonsense craftsman who doesn’t just pick your teeth, tell you to floss and then bill you. Right now, I would much prefer that.

– Don’t worry. I’ll give you a few shots in the gum. You won’t feel a thing.

– Local anesthetic? But then I will still be able to hear, see and smell what’s going on!

– Of course. I won’t put you out cold, ha-ha. Seriously, you wouldn’t want that. Now you can walk out of here within thirty minutes and go about your business.

Seriously, I want narcosis. I would beg for it. To let modern medicine carry me away on big, white wings into unconsciousness. But my tongue is stuck to the dry inside of my mouth along with the cotton balls.

A few minutes later, I’m out of touch with the lower part of my head. – Like it’s no longer a part of me. I don’t know if I’m drooling. I don’t know if my nerves are transmitting desperate, muted cries of pain up to my brain. But I can see the blood on the cotton pads and rubber gloves that pass in front of me. I sense the sounds of the drilling and its burnt smell blending with the odors of fluoride, anesthetic and germicidal. I’m also convinced that I taste the blood. Fear and nausea wash over me like waves crashing to the shore. Pushing and pulling, irresistible, until –

– You’re done, buddy. Did you feel anything?

– N-no, I … just the sounds and …

– Ha-ha! I told you. You don’t feel a thing with anesthetic. Now, imagine the poor fellas out in the wild a hundred years ago. They had to heat a knife over the fire and dig out the devilment … oops; you better sit down again for a while, mister! You look a bit pale around the beak. Ha-ha. Hey, nurse, we need a hand over here!

Finally, I feel the soft blanket of oblivion around me and I snuggle into it. I think I have earned it.

_ _ _

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