12:15pm: I am sitting in the lobby of the dentist office, reading an issue of Lady’s Home Journal from May 2007, because it’s either that or a 2009 issue of Field & Stream – anything to distract my brain from the fact that shortly I’m going to be in serious emotional distress, contemplating the dentist’s drill boring through my mouth like a construction worker chiseling a concrete sidewalk.
12:21: Uh oh. It’s time. They just called me in. The hygienist’s name is Maria. She seems nice. Kind of cute, actually. But I know what’s in store after I walk through that door. The dentist will start wielding his evil-looking torture device, and I’ll be clutching the armrests so tightly I’ll leave permanent indentations.
12:25: Time for the Novocain. Did I mention I have a phobic fear of needles? The dentist is pulling one out of his quiver roughly the length of a knitting needle. Is it only me or did he just flash a sinister sneer behind his mask? I’ll bet he loves this part. My stomach is a ball of knots. My heart is racing.
12:26: Maria sees me closing my eyes and grimacing. She asks me if I would like them to use nitrous oxide (laughing gas). “What’s does it do?” I ask her. She explains that it may help me relax and take my mind off of the procedure. “Sure, why not?” I tell her.
12:29: Maria puts a mask on my face and tells me to breathe in and out through my nose. Nice try, but there’s no way this is going to help me relax. Just look at that needle – it must be as long as my 9-iron.