Friday, December 14, 2007

When Novocaine and M&M's don't work

When I was twenty-one, I had my wisdom teeth pulled. Ex and I had crappy dental insurance at the time, and it wouldn’t cover oral surgery. So, in a moment of what I now know to be total fucking stupidity, I decided to save $1000 by having a regular dentist remove four impacted teeth with nothing but Novocaine. I was thinking something like, “Novocaine is related to cocaine. Cocaine is a mighty powerful drug (or so I’ve heard from people who actually had the balls to try it in college). It’ll be fine.” What I didn’t know was that they are not really close relatives—Novocaine and Cocaine. They are more like fourth cousins.

Novocaine is not really adequate anesthesia to have impacted wisdom teeth removed from your skull. Or, at least, not in the hands of the dentist I went to. At some point, he gave up on getting me numb and decided he would just try to work faster. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a job to be hurried. Those damn teeth did not want to come out. He ended up cutting them into pieces and then removing the pieces. This took a while, because he had a hard time getting hold of the pieces. By the time we were done, we had worked out a system. He would try to get a hold of a piece, I would squeeze his arm when he had it, and then he would pull.

I still get nauseous thinking about it.

I didn’t cry, though. The whole two hours. Not a drop. Not until I saw Ex in the waiting room. Then, I broke down—huge tears, complete with snot. When he asked what was wrong, I sobbed, “It was the worst thing ever.” I wasn’t even in pain anymore. Well, I mean, my mouth hurt, but nothing like the last two hours. What I mean was, I wasn’t crying because I was in pain. I was crying because the whole thing had been so fucking bad.

Tonight I found myself thinking about that day, about the way I felt in that waiting room.

I have decided I am allergic to my bedroom, as I spend a good twenty minutes sneezing when I lie down each night. I think I may have actually sneezed myself to sleep twice last week. So, in an effort to reclaim my bedroom as a place where I can breath, I decided I would tear it apart to clean it—vacuum, dust, launder every cloth thing in hot water. When I moved the bed, I found a journal from the summer after I left Ex. I made the mistake of reading it. Sober.

It was filled with these little letters to God. These little “Uh, please help me with this and this and this today. And thanks for taking care of this and this and this yesterday.” And, as I read it, I remembered how I felt. I was so grateful to be alive every day, and so worried that at any moment Ex might come kill me. I was holding onto what I had to believe was this huge, powerful, scary God for dear life. Because, when I didn’t, I would literally curl up into a ball, and cry, and shake, and go a little crazy. Literally.

What struck me as I read it was how fucking cheerful I sounded in those little letters. I think that part of me was afraid to be anything but, afraid that God would think me an ingrate and actually let Ex catch me. Like, “Well, if she doesn’t appreciate my protection, why should I even bother.” And, like I said, I really was very grateful.

But now, when I think back on all of it—on the five years I was married to him, on the summer I spent running from him—I feel like I did in that dentist’s waiting room. I just want to cry. Not because I’m in pain. Because, it is nothing like the searing pain I was in when I was actually there. I want to cry because the whole thing was so fucking bad.

And sometimes, buying earrings, and eating M&M’s, and being the wittiest, most together med student in the whole fucking world doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, like tonight, I just break down.


Anonymous said...



Maria said...

Oh, sweetie pie. Yes. It never really leaves, does it? It sort of recedes and then you tamp it down but at odd moments, it will rise up and scare the shit out of you all over again.

I am so glad that you got away. And so mad because he took something so precious from you.

Karma is coming his way, I promise.

Susanlee said...

My poor sugar plum. Do you want me to fly to Ohio and snuggle you? 'Cuz I totally will.

Mme Benaut said...

Just cry, little one. Let it out. Hugs and more hugs to you way across the huge Pacific ocean and half way across the country, through sleet and snow and wind and ice, my hugs are coming to warm you like a blast of hot air that sets the leaves on the trees trembling. And heaven help that creep if I ever set eyes on him.

Mme Benaut said...

On re-reading parts of this, I have to say how much I identify with what you have written. When you need to be tough, like pass your O.B. exams, you sail through; when the crisis is over (whatever crisis that may be) and you are safe again, the adrenalin that got you through disappears and leaves you weak and exhausted (and craving chocolate - like M & Ms) and you finally have time to reevaluate and feel just a bit sorry for your poor self.
When I left my previous husband, I had to hide because he had said to me "without you, there is no us" and he was going to kill me too. Fortunately for me, he came to his senses and eventually I came out of hiding. For my mother, it was the same, but she hid with her two tiny daughters for 2 years to escape my father and his gun. There are bad-asses and nutters out there and you, little T, are still in the midst of a nightmare because your demon has recently raised his awful, ugly head. You must put that restraining order back in place. Perhaps your particular demon will take longer to get over his belief that you are his possession. But it will happen eventually and you will also meet a genuinely great person for you whom you will be able to trust with your life.
I feel for you little one, I really do. You must be in living hell right now but, for the moment, you are safe so rest, while you can. There is more work to be done ...

Terroni said...

Thank you Maria, Susan, Madame, and anonymous.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Cheryl said...

Yes, sometimes things are so bad. And you have to cry. I hope that they're never that bad again.

Jay said...

I had to double check that I didn't write this myself. I can say I'm truly sorry, because I've been there myself and I know what it's like.

Sassy Sundry said...

Oh, Terroni. I'm sorry. That's an awful way to feel. You did get away, and you are doing a wonderful job with your life. That makes you one of the strong people.

I'll be thinking of you today.

Alissa said...

I'm a few days late, but you're in my thoughts right now. It's hard to look at the past, but be proud at how strong you were to make it through all of that.

Terroni said...

Alissa, I'm bummed that I can't get to your blog--no public access to your profile. :`(

nina said...

hummm, it would seem that sometimes I get so wrapped up in myself I forget to look outside my perimeter.

Being so late to this entry I don't know if I even have the right to say anything. Just know I've heard you. Wished I could gather you up and squeeze you.


Terroni said...

I know that wrapped up feeling.
And thank you for the squeeze.

Jenna Schrock said...

But in the end, you still need to be strong. After all, when all the dental work was done, you're wisdom tooth free! It may have taken difficult steps like needing to cut the teeth into pieces before yanking them bit by bit. But you knew it was worth it. It's the same as after the breakup with your ex. There's this certain funny feeling when you read these journals from the past.