I have 2 missing back teeth on the top right of my mouth. I had decided to get implants. Hungary is known for their dentistry with tourists coming from far and wide for their skills and fair cost. After a consult and full mouth x-ray, I was informed that I would need a sinus lift. Due to bad genetics and 40+ years of smoking, my gums were declared a war zone. Getting a cleaning 4 times a year for the last 20 years had not helped this particular situation. As the dentist provided an abbreviated explanation of the procedure it seemed sensible. What was staggering, even by Hungarian standards was the cost. 592,490 Huf or 2,239 Euros at the time of the quote for start to finish work. Wowser, that would really take a bite out of the budget, but vanity prevailed. When all was said and done, there was space for one tooth on the other side that was wanting to be filled it. That would be another 1,100 Euros. This is when you put our back teeth on the back burner. Three Dog Night knows that One is the loneliest number anyway.
Scrimping and saving it took me forever before I could make an appointment. That was scrimping and saving my courage, the money happened to be secondary at the time. It was time. I was told I would only need a day to recover, pushing me to book the appointment on a Thursday. It would not be until Tuesday before I had to be in the classroom again. As the time crept closer, I had trepidations about all of this. It was not the money as much as this little voice telling me not to do it. The internal dialogue continued for 3 days, causing me concern about being a multiple personality with more than one voice weighing in, all within my head. Deciding it was only dental fear, I pushed all of us forward.
For the upteenth time, they ‘had’ to take a full mouth panoramic x-ray at an additional 5,000 Huf. In the chair after 3 shots of Novocaine, the doctor gives me a form to fill out with the TRUTH about this procedure, which is actually surgery. This is where you learn that 2% of the population has had a heart attack, seizures, urges to dress like a cheerleader, do animal impressions while in church, and other side effects even more severe. Also, you cannot blow your nose for 2 weeks and you can only sneeze with your mouth and eyes open. Good grief, I have a perpetual runny nose, had a CT scan for it, but have not been back to the ENT to have the results interpreted. I sneeze daily like some people take vitamins. After dinner I have to sneeze a minimum of 3 times, sometimes more. Just for the fun of it, I have tried doing it with my eyes open, but have not succeeded yet. I started getting nervous.
They draped me in sterile covers, warning me not to raise my hands above them. Don’t move! Don’t move is my signal for a nose itch. Yet I cannot move my hands from under wraps to scratch it. The mental war forget there was a temporary peace treaty signed; the fighting started once again. The tray of instruments were spread on tables in front of me. Both the dentist and the assistant started wrapping various hoses in plastic sterile covers. The preparation was wearing me down. It was our last dog knowing he was going to be castrated, but no one put him under while they prepared for the surgery. Strangely, it even stirred up pain in my crotch as well.
Once they all dived into my mouth, a wave of claustrophobia set in. The covers were too much and made me overheated. Three people toothcliming with my jaw trying to dislocate like a snakes to accommodate all of them only caused a flood of cold sweat, nausea, and a feeling that syncope was sure to follow. Gurgling did not get anyone’s attention, so I did my best fish out of water impression, which did prompt the dentist to tell me to hold still.
Mentally, I am shouting “STOP, STUPID”, but what is coming from my mouth was stoffgh stofffid. Not enough for the reaction I was hoping for, so I continued making sounds hoping that Superman, Spiderman, or Harry Potter would burst through the window to save me from this torture. Finally, he allowed me to sit up to explain myself, but still had to stay bundled in my sterile cocoon. No sympathy, no comfort, just orders to relax and sit back. This continued until I escalated to “I am going to regurgitate.” He said “I don’t understand.” One would think this is a required vocabulary word in English for Dentists 101. I should have checked his transcript and report card before climbing into the chair.
We did this routine twice, before I bolted for the bathroom, finally getting everyone’s full attention. I thought that by spending 15 minutes locked in the WC would convince all involved this was not a good idea after all. When I finally emerged like a shy turtle from its shell, he was ready to pick up where he left off. My soaked clothes were no visual clue and he was able to ignore my trembling as well. The only progress he made was to cut my gums and then say “We are going to drill now.” I am thinking all of those noises I have been hearing so far and you have not even drilled yet? Crap, I have heard less noise when wrecking balls take down buildings. Two liters of fluid pored out of my body at once. My clothes were already soaked; it was going to take hours to drip dry. Every ounce of blood left my upper body finding refuge somewhere other than my face and neck.
After more jumping, thrashing, bouncing, pouncing up and down all while emitting sounds like a trapped animal, he finally admitted that this was not a good idea for today. I am thinking this is not a good idea in your lifetime. Cripes, I had more exercise in that chair than I do when I go to Pilates. Now that I think about it the last time I had all of that action was a positive experience when I was in my twenties with this hot, hot…. oh, never mind.
It has been over eighteen years since I have had a panic attack. That was prompted by my then partner dying. This one knocked me aside the head with a beam. I had to stay in the chair for twenty minutes before my land legs returned all the while floating in and out of consciousness. That inner voice kept shouting, “Get out of the chair before he starts charging you hotel rates.” Even without the surgery, I could see the Huf racking up on the register. When finally feeling stable to stand, he said “You were really white. I haven’t seen anyone that white before.” If my mouth were not sore, I would have said that that alone should have been a clue to stop, you jackass.
He said I would need to return in a week to have the stitches removed for the gums he cut. Then I would need to schedule with an anesthetist, but that would include having lab work done ahead of time. I didn’t ask, but am certain that would involve another 1,000 Euros or more. I paid for today’s services: 18,000 for supplies and made an appointment for the next week to have the stitches removed. This would tap me for 6,000 Huf more.
I had Ron call to tell them I left the country. I went to my local dentist whom I trust to remove the stitches. He charged me 1,000 Huf. That empty space only shows when I smile. Guess I will have to do less of that from now on.