28. August 2007 · Comments Off on Easily Survived · Categories: Ramble

I had the crown work done today. Perhaps readers have heard about my “numb tongue” experience. If not, read on. If you’ve read it before, you can just skip this blog entry. (But anyone who plays a wind instrument really should know about this!)

It was my fortieth birthday and what did I do? I scheduled a dental appointment to have a filling done. (Stupid, stupid, stupid.) When the doctor numbed me up, I felt as if I was going to go through the roof, but being the stoic person that I am, I didn’t show anything. (Actually, this has more to do with my profession; I’ve been trained to hide my emotions when I blow it on stage—not that that would ever happen!—and so I hide the pain, just like I hide other things.) The dentist did his thing, filling the doggone cavity.

That evening I had an opera performance. (I nearly always have an opera performance on my birthday.) By the afternoon half of my tongue was still numb, so I called the dentist office. “How long should my tongue be numb?” I asked. There was a short silence when the dental assistant at the other of the phone said, “You mean it’s still numb?” She sounded worried. But she suggested I wait it out.

I played the opera. My tongue, still half numb, knew what to do. Whew. But I was very, very sad. Dentist visits can make me that way anyway, and this … on my fortieth birthday, no less … well, it was far too much.

The next morning I still had a numb tongue. I called the dentist office and they had me come in. The dentist was quite surprised and concerned. He said the only way something like this happens is if he comes close to a nerve, and if he had done that I would have gone through the roof. So I had to explain that I felt like going through the roof, but no way I was going to show it. He explained that I was supposed to show it. Heh. Who’da thunk it. He also said I could get the feeling back in four months or so or, perhaps, maybe never. He’d only had this happen once before, he said, and the woman never got feeling back. Cool. Happy birthday to me.

But … ta da! … nearly four months to the day I had full feeling back. Which was great. Of course now I do worry when I go to see my dentist. But I will also tell him immediately if I feel anything. (And please know I think my dentist is one of the best ever. Really.)

So I learned a lesson, I guess. 1) We all sign waivers at the doctor’s when we have surgeries done, but no one seems to know about possible dental injuries. Know that something bad can happen. (I suppose that’s a “Big Duh” thing for everyone else, eh?) 2) SHOW pain. Stop being stoic! And most important 3) NEVER go to the dentist on a birthday. Ever.

So … story over and out. And between beginning this post and ending it my mouth is now nearly un-numb. Nice!