Ah, what a day. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t go according to plan. I slept in—that part went exactly as according to plan. But other than that...
My princess had her wisdom teeth taken out today, and today I learned I’m pretty uncomfortable around dental surgery. Or even the idea of it.
Like so many things, I blame it on my imagination. Because I get sick to my stomach at the idea of someone taking a blade to the inside of a mouth, and it’s easier to say it’s because of an overly-graphic imagination than to say I’m an enormous pussy.
But the fact of the matter is, I’m an enormous pussy.
I had to go get some clothes because I have a job interview tomorrow. This went poorly, because buying these types of clothes is a terrible thing to do. I don’t wear clothes like this unless I’m required to, which generally means I’m not having a good time. So it’s like buying clothes that you are never going to enjoy wearing. It sucks.
I had in mind to buy some khaki pants, but in the end, I refused. They looked ridiculous on me—I’m not the type of person who can pull off the khaki look. So I decided against it, and just bought a nice shirt, assuming I could find something in the back of the closet that I can wear to the interview.
After that, we went to get my princess some shoes. She found some she really liked, but didn’t want to drop the cash on them. I insisted, considering that in a matter of minutes, she was going to have a guy cutting teeth out of her head.
And then we went. Here’s the thing—you can’t eat for six or seven hours before the surgery, so aside from a bowl of cereal, she was running on empty. Because I didn’t want to be an asshole, I decided not to eat in front of her, which meant that aside from a banana, I was running on empty, too.
Before we got to the dentist’s office, she made me stop and get some food. Arby’s because it was in the same area as the dentist. So I got my food and left it in the car while we walked into the building, planning on coming back out and eating while they performed the surgery.
What I didn’t know was that because I was her ride, I didn’t get to leave the building until after the surgery. Not even to the parking lot. “If you want,” the lady told me, “You can get your food and bring it in here.”
“No, thank you,” I told her.
“You could take it back into one of our break rooms.”
“No, that’s okay,” I told her.
You know how the dentist smells? That weird mix of chemicals, rubber, and burned bone? This place was the worst I’ve ever smelled. It’s like they had “Dentist Office” air freshener that they sprayed around or something.
I couldn’t imagine eating in a place like that.
“This procedure is going to take a while,” My princess said. “It’s going to get cold.”
“It’s a hundred and five degrees outside—it’s probably going to get cooked even more. I am going to go get my book, though.”
So I went and got my book—Stardust, by Neil Gaiman. It was sort of hard to get into at first, because there was some shitty-ass soap opera playing on the TV that no one was watching, and because he starts out describing a town. But soon the soap opera ended, and Neil began telling a story.
Eventually, I was the only person in the waiting room. I wanted to turn off the TV—Rachel Ray talking to Dr. Phil’s wife, I think—but then I heard the sound of the dentist’s drill and realized that’s probably why they had the sound tuned up so loud.
I took a little time out of my reading to ponder about how hellish it must be to work at a dentist’s office. I mean, to hear the sound of that drill day after day. What a terrible job. Unless you work nights as an evil scientist, I guess, and then maybe you’d be into it.
The dentist came out and gave me a couple of prescriptions and a sheet about how to care for her mouth after the surgery. Being the concerned husband that I am, I began reading it as soon as he’d left.
But then there was all this shit about swallowing blood and seepage and infection, and I almost threw up. I decided to read my book some more. Several minutes later, the dentist was back, telling me I could come back and get my princess.
I followed him through the labyrinth of walls papered with that wallpaper that’s supposed to be soothing but never is, because the only places you see it are places like the dentist’s.
When I first saw her, I was shocked. She was sitting in a wheelchair, her eyes mostly closed and totally unfocused. Gauze sticking out of her mouth. She looked stoned as hell and badly abused—kind of like me after a night of heavy drinking.
The doctor wheeled us out the back and down the elevator. I pulled the car around and loaded her in. She kept giving everybody the thumbs-up sign. It seemed to throw the dentist a little, but I’m not sure if it was because it’s such a strange thing to do after getting teeth hacked out of your skull or if he just didn’t expect her to be that lucid.
I suddenly remembered that I had left my sunglasses in the reception area, thinking that we’d be leaving through the same door as we’d entered. Shit.
But sometimes, even really cool sunglasses just aren’t worth it. I put the car in gear and drove my princess home.
Actually, we went through the drive-thru at the grocery store right quick to drop of prescriptions, first.
“Wha ha-an?” My princess asked from beside me. “Whe ah ee?”
What happened? Where are we?
“On the way home. I’m dropping off your prescriptions right quick, so it’ll be ready after I take you home.”
But she was already out again. I drove home and sat in the car for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to get her up the two flights of stairs to our apartment. I climbed out of the car, unlocked the apartment, and got the bed ready—the dentist had told me to make sure she slept propped up a bit so that her head was above her heart.
And then back downstairs, opening her car door. She seemed incredibly lucid for about three seconds, as she reached to unlatch her seatbelt. Her hand never made it, though, and she was out like a light.
I unbuckled her and managed to wake her up for another few seconds to pull her out of the car. I also managed to pick her up before her legs gave, and carried her up the stairs, like a couple of newly weds, if the bride had either had too much to drink or oral surgery.
It’s difficult to carry someone up two flights of stairs, in case you’ve never done it. Especially if you’re an out-of-shape fat guy who doesn’t exercise near enough. I got her up the stairs, but had to put her on her own feet to open the door wide enough—it had closed some, and I didn’t want to bonk her head.
I looked down the stairs to see who had yelled. Some girl. We haven’t really met anyone in our apartment complex yet.
“Is she okay?”
My princess looks really young. I look pretty much the age I am, maybe a little older. This can cause problems, especially if I buy booze and then hand her my bank card or something. You get looks, is what I’m saying, when people think you’re the dirty old man buying liquor for that poor pretty little girl who has no idea what she’s getting herself into.
You get even worse looks when you look like the dirty old man who drugs his young victims and then hauls them up to his apartment to perform acts of unspeakable evil and perversion.
“Yeah,” I hollered down, almost completely out of breath. “We just got back from the dentist.”
She smiled and nodded like that explained everything. I like to think that it was because she’d had similar experiences, not because after hearing my wheezing voice, she figured I’d have a heart attack before I was able to victimize the pretty young thing I was kidnapping.
So a little further to the bedroom, and the gauze is pretty saturated at this time. With blood.
And apparently, I’m not good with that kind of thing, because my stomach went a big fluttery one, and I suddenly wondered if I was going to throw up all over the place.
Don’t get me wrong—I can handle blood. I’m not saying it’s my favorite thing in the world, but I can manage. I’ve even leaked my share without incident. But seeing that gauze, and thinking about why it was there—the blade cutting gum tissue, the tools yanking out teeth—it was too much.
I got her to the bed, and tried to load her up. She slouched down to the floor on her knees, her head resting on the mattress. Asleep.
“Okay,” I told her. “I’m…I’m gonna need a minute. You’re okay right there?”
She didn’t answer, so I ran to the bathroom. I didn’t puke, but I did one of those weird coughs that can really turn into a puking jag if you aren’t careful. Lucky for me, I hadn’t eaten anything except a banana. So the cough was all there was.
I took a couple of deep breaths, and then went in and finished getting her into bed.
As soon as that was done, I headed back out to go pick up the medicine. I called my sister, because I was close to losing my shit. I’ll be honest with you—I am not the responsible one in our marriage. And it was freaking me out that my princess was so much in my care, so vulnerable.
I’m entirely too protective, I know, but think about how you’d feel loading your kids up on a school bus with a blind driver. That’s how it feels when I’m the primary caregiver of my loved ones. It scares me.
I can make plans and take care of business, but I need someone around to point out things that I’ve missed. To correct me if I’m wrong. As sad as it is to admit, I need someone around to tell me I’m doing it right, when it comes to big stuff, you know? Otherwise, I freak out.
Talking to my sister calmed me down some, and I told her a condensed version of the story I’ve written above. When I got to the part where I carried my princess up the stairs and then almost vomited, she started laughing.
“You’re so cool.”
“I am,” I said, sarcastically.
I got home, and my princess woke up for a little bit. I doctored her, fed her a pain killer, and then finished reading my book.
I waited until she woke up, and then went back to the grocery store to pick up essentials for someone who can’t eat real food—ice cream, soup, cream of wheat. Ginger ale, in case she got an upset stomach from swallowing too much blood. Pepto Bismol, in case I felt like hurling again.
And that was my day. Not too exciting, really, but I felt the need to tell you about it, apparently. Thanks for listening.