The Anaesthetic, wearing off…


Nostalgia is the engine which drives this blog, or so it mostly seems, but not all of the past is a playground to visit.There are places I would seriously rather not revisit, and the Dentist, for my first extraction since 1979, is one of them.

I can’t remember, last time round, whether they did it under General Anaesthetic or by Injection. I suspect the latter: I have an unsurprisingly clear memory of sitting in the BBC TV room at Alexandra Court in the evening, feeling the numbness in the right side of my face, lips and jaw slowly shrinking , and knowing that as soon as it vanished, pain was going to come in its place.

But I’d really rather just be switched off and brought back when it’s all over and the dentist’s fingers are not inside my mouth any more. That way, there wouldn’t be the metal things in my mouth, the gripping and clawing that’s going on that I can’t feel, except as the sensation of pressure, the realisation that my crumbling molar with the exposed nerve is not giving up it’s place on my lower right jawline, and then suddenly everything is withdrawn, it’s out, it’s over, and I can be hustled out because the next patient is ready.

So that’s why we no longer get General Anaesthetics. It’s not a Health and Safety concern over knocking the patient out completely and maybe sometimes completely really meaning completely, it’s to avoid the boring bit of waiting for him or her to wake up, and then to come around, and be able to not only stand on their own two feet without dropping but also move them in a direction of their own choice. No, if you keep them awake through it, that massively cuts down the delay in shooting them out, with their traumas.

That the armrests of the dentist’s chair don’t bear the imprints of my clutching fingers until the end of time, or at least the next office rebranding, is not for want of effort on my part. In truth, the whole thing was a pretty ordinary, almost dull experience, and I was home before 10.00am, having restocked on painkillers. But all of this was before the anaesthetic wore off…

Postscript: Boy, did I get away with it! I was convinced that pain, major pain, was coming. So I put one of the gauze thingies in my mouth, pressed it down into the unexpectedly wide cavity, and bit down. Kept it there for a good two hours, maybe as many as three, whilst my brain went somewhere else, I dunno, maybe Miami. And when I removed the saliva and blood-soaked thing, I was almost back to full feeling, and whilst there’s an underlying soreness there, and one or two phantom moments of conviction that the blasted things is still there, I am now several hours into post-anaesthesia and I am still not in pain.

Doesn’t seem right, somehow. Don’t tell me I can’t even rely on being shit-scared of Dentists either.

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