DISCLAIMER: Illicit drug use is stupid. Don’t interpret this post as promoting it.
SECOND DISCLAIMER: My wife is actually really nice.
When it comes to dental visits, I’m a baby. Coincidentally, it could be helpful to wear diapers to them.
As you might recall, my wife had searched for years to find a dentist who wouldn’t merely torture me in the name of oral hygiene. She eventually found a fellow who gave me laughing gas and who, as a direct consequence, became one of my favorite people ever. Unfortunately, in the middle of what was easily the best dentist’s office visit of my life, I realized that I needed to…. How shall I put this politely? I needed to excuse myself for a moment. My wife wouldn’t let me.
Granted, she wasn’t deliberately trying to be mean. She was actually being generous, especially considering her advanced state of pregnancy. Judging by size, she was somewhere in her fifth trimester. On the entire planet, there existed a single comfortable chair for her, but we couldn’t bring it along. Nevertheless, she agreed to sit beside me at the dentist, to hold my hand when I started to panic, and to otherwise accumulate ammunition for later arguments.
I like to think of it as sympathy training for her eventual delivery: she was getting to see my end of it. On a side note, dentists should consider the use of epidurals. My wife spent labor napping comfortably while I fidgeted a thorough impression of my bottom into a hard awkward chair.
Either way, we worked out a few signals in advance. Most relevantly, whenever the dentist’s actions distressed me, I would squeeze her hand. She would in turn squeeze back and say comforting things. Or, after it was clear that the laughing gas was going to eliminate most of the distress, she would absently push my hand aside instead and go back to reading her book.
The system would have worked fine had my distress been exclusively dental. We hadn’t developed a method for communicating any sort of differentiation. Thus, when my (clears throat meaningfully) flooding problem inspired me to reach out for her attention, she just figured that I was looking for comfort because of the drilling or some such. She kept grapping my hand and holding it tightly, albeit absentmindedly. Her primary concern was that I not accidentally slap the dentist in my stupor.
Under normal circumstances I probably would have found it frustrating. After all, if laughing gas made me feel like a skyscraper, my lower floors were experiencing significant plumbing trouble, and the trouble was threatening to burst onto the surrounding floors. My appendages felt like unconscious beluga whales, or what I imagine it must feel like to have giant, passive, blubbery, mammals instead of arms and legs. My best efforts with them amounted to little more than wiggles and shimmies. It was just the sort of desperate plight that might perturb a person.
But laughing gas is wonderful. If I didn’t mind the construction equipment that the dentist needed to correct my teeth, what was a little bit of casual indifference from my wife? After all, I was well past caring about any potential embarrassment, and I wasn’t the one who would have to clean up any messes.
Fortunately for everyone though, the dentist eventually pulled his gadgetry from my mouth and asked me from what seemed a great distance away how I was doing. I mustered all of my concentration to respond, “I need to pee. Tee hee!” (I giggle when I concentrate.)
Of course, that just started the next phase of the adventure.
The doctor told me where the restroom was. I slurred a very heartfelt thank you, and didn’t move. My wife said, “Honey, do you need to use the restroom?” I didn’t move. It took a while for my brain to dialogue with the rest of the skyscraper. Apparently my intoxicated self operates in a world before any of the last decade’s infrastructure improvements.
Also, skyscrapers can’t move.
The next several minutes involved a lot of bumbling and giggling. My wife tried to escort me to the restroom, in spite of our normal size difference (which may or may not have applied during pregnancy), in spite of the pregnancy too, and in spite of the fact that we had hoped it would take a few more decades before we reached that stage of our relationship.
I had trouble enough just reaching the room. Every time my wife would let go of my arm for any reason, I would stop moving because I was distracted by the beautiful experience of standing. Or because the nearby wall looked so magnificent. Or because I couldn’t remember what feet were.
Each time–she’s patient as well as merciful–she would ask me why I had stopped moving, to which I would respond sagely, “Huh?”
Ultimately though, she helped my make it to the restroom, then returned me safely to the dentist so that he could complete his procedure. After he was done, he gave me straight oxygen as a way of helping me recover from the laughing gas. I was still loopy for the next hour.
Unsurprisingly, she wouldn’t let me drive home, no matter how much fun I thought we could have.