The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: dentist

That time I sprayed breast milk all over my dentist

Have I ever told you about the time I accidentally sprayed breast milk all over my dentist?

No?

Oh honey. Pull up a chair—this is a juicy one… so to speak.

Honestly, I would have rather been at home cradling my newborn son’s sweet little blue face to my beach-ball-sized bosoms, but I just couldn’t wait another day—I had to get to the dentist. It was an emergency.

I’m a “woman of a certain age.” Oh fine, I’ll tell you. I’m 43. And like most of my friends born in the ’60s and ’70s, my teeth are falling apart. I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t have the same preventative dental care back then or because I didn’t do a very good job brushing the Razzles and Now and Laters off my teeth, but by the time I was a senior in high school, every single one of my back molars was more filling than tooth. (Sorry, Mom.)

And the metal fillings from back then? They had a shelf life. By the time I was 30, every single one of those fillings had needed to be replaced.

All that drilling and refilling takes a toll on the old chompers.

I got my first crown when I was 35.

And then when I was pregnant with Bucket Head, it was obvious that I was going to need another crown.

But I was pregnant! And going to the dentist is the only time I get the good drugs! It would have to wait.

I bided my time for the rest of my pregnancy, chewing only on one side of my mouth and avoiding anything too hot, cold, sweet, or crunchy. It sucked. And then apparently while I was giving birth and biting on that leather strap out in the woods (not really, but that’s what it felt like) I cracked that compromised molar somethin’ fierce. I would need to get to the dentist as soon as I could remove the ice-pack from my nethers.

My husband had to work that day, so I called my neighbor and BFF, Tammie, and asked if she would be so kind as to drive me and newborn Bucket Head to the dentist and hold Bucket Head in the waiting room while I got my new temporary crown. “It will take two hours, tops.”

She agreed, God love her.

We timed it perfectly, or so we thought.

We got there a little early, and I nursed baby Bucket Head in the waiting room. Then he fell asleep in Tammie’s arms as I waited to be called into the back.

I was really scared. I hate having dental work done. It riles every single one of my freakishly heightened senses and I usually get prescribed valium for the night before and the morning of my procedure.

But I didn’t want to do that since I was nursing. I was drug-free and more nervous than a virgin at a prison rodeo.

As luck would have it, the dentist was running behind, and our perfectly timed breast feeding was for naught.

I’ll never forget it as long as I live. There I was, fully reclined in the dentist chair—mouth wide open, eyes tightly shut against the bright light, suction tube slurping away while the dentist drilled… and drilled… and drilled. I had my iPod rocking in my ears so I wouldn’t hear any of it. But the song ended, and in that 3 second lull between songs, I heard my baby cry.

Game over.

The tingling started. Then I felt the slightest bit of wetness in my ginormous nursing bra. I squeezed my eyes shut harder and prayed my breast pads would soak up the run-off.

The drilling persisted. My dentist, also a mother, kept stopping every few seconds to ask if I was okay, “Do you need me to stop?”

“No, keep going! He’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? Do you want to go see him?”

“NO. The Novocain! It might wear off. Just do it. But hurry. I’m starting to leak.”

Suddenly, Bucket Head’s cries were the only thing I could hear, even over the drilling and the music on my headphones. My sweet little baby needed me, and my milk bags were responding to his hungry pleas.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

I glanced down and my shirt was soaked. Actually, it was my husband’s shirt, since I had just had a baby and all I could fit in was one of his old button downs.

Behold, a dramatic reenactment:

That time I sprayed my dentist with breast milk by The Bearded Iris

The milk flow was so strong and steady, it soaked clear through the paper bib resting on my chest.

Y’all, there was milk everywhere. It was dripping down my back onto the chair!

I could smell it.

I was absolutely mortified.

Everyone worked at lightening speed to get me up and out of there. (And not just because of the milky mess I was making in their dentist chair.) The microsecond that temporary crown clicked into place, I was on my way back to the waiting room, unbuttoning my shirt like Clark Kent on his way to the phone booth. I could not get that baby onto my boob fast enough. Poor Tammie—I practically ripped her arms off taking that wailing baby from her.

Thankfully, everyone in the dentist’s office was so sweet and understanding. “Bless your heart!” they clucked repeatedly, and not in the stereotypical Southern “Oh you pitiful idiot” kind of way. It was more like, Solidarity, sister! We salute you and your overactive milk ducts! They were women helping one of their own, and I would be forever grateful.

Talk about the milk of human kindness.

This post, and my 13-year-old son’s future therapy bills for having to take that reenacted photo of my leaking fun-bags, were both made possible by the International Breast Milk Project. Their vision is that every infant in the world have access to donor human milk as a first choice when a mother’s own milk is not available, and they aim to create awareness for the need for donor human milk, mobilize donors, and provide donor milk to infants in need. 

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Dental Damn

It’s official. I am a magnet for crazy people.

I recently went to a new dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup, and it was beyond bizarre, even for me.

I should tell you, first of all, that I have a great deal of anxiety when it comes to dental work. And by “great deal of anxiety” I mean Cuckoo for Coco Puffs. I get super sweaty just thinking about it. The smells, the sounds, the vibration of the drill…it all makes me want to curl into the fetal position and die a quick death.

Sometimes before I go to the dentist I drink a little. I once asked my neighbor/BFF Tammy to drive me to the dentist and back. She did it. No questions asked. Although I think she suspected I was up to something when I showed up at her house with Margarita salt in my hair.

If I’m going to have major work done, the dentist will prescribe me some Valium. Me likee. Sadly, it’s always just enough to survive one appointment: 2 little pills.

The last dentist I went to gave me a bum crown. Then for three frickin’ years every time I went back for a check up and told her “I can’t chew with the right side of my mouth,” she’d say, “Well sometimes it takes crowns a while to settle down.”

Three years. No chew. Don’t get me started. Too late. Now the left side of my jaw is strong enough to crack walnuts and the right side can’t even hold a straw. That’s effed up. Time for a new dentist.

So I started asking around and my friend Monica who is borderline obsessive when it comes to her health told me she LOVED her dentist. She had to have a root canal once and it was such a great experience that she baked the dentist and his staff brownies the next day.

Hand to God. Who does that? Monica, that’s who.

Sold! I wanted THAT guy. No more Dr. Bad Crown for me!

So I made the appointment and headed to town to meet Dr. Sweet Tooth.

It started normally enough…new patient forms, musak version of Chicago’s Greatest Hits piping in from somewhere above, that weird dentist office smell in the air.

Soon I was fully reclined in the coldest room I’ve ever experienced. My nervous sweat was forming into pit-cicles and every hair on my body was sticking straight up.

The hygienist appears and says, “Oh, are you cold? Would you like a blanket?”

“Yes please!” I chatter.

“I just want to go over your info with you….it says here that you are not currently taking any medications. Is that correct?”

Now remember, I’m nervous. And you know what happens when I get nervous? Verbal diarrhea, bad jokes, and TMI.

So I swallow and very calmly state, “Yes, that’s correct, I’m drug-free. Got anything you can share?”

“Really?” (She laughs nervously) “What are you looking for?”

“Oh whatever! I’m easy! Valium? Nitrous oxide? Got any anti-depressants?” I’m obviously kidding. Obviously! (Kinda.)

“Actually I do!  I’m on Lexapro.” my hygienist stage whispers unapologetically, and a little too close for my liking. “I had a really hard time getting pregnant and I think it really messed with my hormones, and then one day, I’m at the gyno, and wham-bam, I just start crying! The next thing I know, she’s handing me all kinds of free samples!  But nothing I’ve tried seems to work, so maybe I should see a psychiatrist. Is that what you do? See a psychiatrist? That’s a really good idea. You know, I’m starting to think that my gyno is probably just handing out whatever the drug reps have recently dropped off and that she doesn’t really know what any of the meds actually do. Do you know what I mean? I have a good friend who’s a nurse and she thinks I’m bipolar, but really highly functioning.  One of the meds I tried made me so crazy I didn’t sleep for 6 days!  But by the seventh day I was so tired that I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went off it.  Now I’m on Lexapro, but I don’t think it is working.

At this point, my spider senses are tingling and telling me to get the hell out of there. But I’m reclined and covered with a blanket, and the TV positioned above my head is scrolling a can’t-look-away-story about a toddler who was eaten by a pack of wild dogs. Or maybe it’s about a toddler and a package of recalled hot dogs. Damn Fox News. It’s scrolling so fast! Who can tell?!

So naturally, this is when Heidi Hygienist reaches into a drawer and pulls out a very sharp metal instrument, supposedly for scraping. And I am lying there thinking, do I really want a supposedly-highly-functioning-improperly-medicated-sleep-deprived-bipolar-person-with-hormone-problems hacking away in my mouth with a sharp tool? No, I do not. But what can I do? I am frozen with fear and icy cold sweat.

She is scraping away and asking me if I drink coffee or red wine. (“Yessh,” I incoherently whimper).  But it doesn’t end there…as she’s working, she stops periodically and just blurts things out like, “GOD!  I feel so stupid!  Of course a gyno doesn’t know anything about brain chemistry!”  (scrape, scrape, scrape) And, “Do you have depression and anxiety? I do! I get so mad sometimes I just feel like I’m going to explode.”  (And she makes this crazy wide-eyed-rage-face like I do when I catch my four year old coloring the carpet with my new lipstick).  I am scared for my teeth and my life.

Eons later, the dentist finally appears.  He greets me quickly and peers into my mouth. Less than two minutes later he leaves and informs the hygienist that he needs me to come back for a longer appointment so he can do some diagnostics.  Looks like a root canal is in my near future.

But definitely not at that place.

Maybe my bad crown isn’t so bad after all.

brushing between meals,

-Iris

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