Senorita Squirrel and Dental Dukkha

Brunette hair
Adjusting to life as a mushroom brown Princess Leia

Adjusting to life as a trendy, mushroom-brown-haired person rather than a bleached blonde, I was minding my own business when the left side of my head started to throb. Intermittent stabs of horror through my cheek and jowl area ensued.

“What is this shit?” I asked my bf, Jef.

“Do you think you have a cavity?” he logically said. That’s one of my top five fav attributes of his–when I heard Amy Schumer talking about her husband during her latest standup, she said he’s “on the spectrum.” One of the things she loves about him is his completely straightforward demeanor. I’m not saying Jef is on the spectrum–not that it would matter to me if he were–but he shares this with Amy’s boo: He says the most obvious thing first and it’s amazing how often I haven’t thought of it.

What happens when you ignore medical advice

I don’t recall ever having cavity pain so I told him that and that I didn’t know. I also ignored the dentist I went to see in January who told me I needed to get my wisdom teeth out so that the areas I couldn’t be expected to get to (and believe me, I’m a championship flosser) won’t get infected. At which point my dental phobia kicked in (we’ll call it dental dukkha after the Buddhist definition, which means the “stuff” of life, good, bad or indifferent that creates stimulus–joy, pain, craving, species of “meh”) and I’m like “nuh-uh, nope, not happening’ sistah.” When my daughter was in high school she had hers out and got dry socket which made her throw up and pass out from pain. No joke.

Deep breath, guys. So. Went to the dentist who said I was in for root scaling and planing to deal with my periodontal problems. Which sounded super painful. I said, “Yeah, let’s DO this thing,” with a big, fake Patty grin on my head.

I went home and went on YouTube. Where people with their lower jaws removed talked through voice boxes about their experience with periodontal disease. Enter SeƱorita Squirrel.

She’s fluffy. She’s insane.Anxiety disorder

She loves to chatter on while I’m meditating. She interrupts my yogic bliss with thoughts about how the people behind me are probably looking up my sweaty, um, “chach.” And this periodontal issue? She had me imagining walking around with a yawning bloody hole where my mouth used to be. I mean, I was already designing cute bedazzled bandanas to wear as a disguise. No disrespect meant to people surviving oral cancer who really have to walk around like that or endure reconstructive surgery: I don’t mean to make light of real issues just point out how truly bonkers the Senorita is. Others, like our friend the Buddha, call this phenomenon, monkey mind. Mine is definitely a PMS-ing hard rodent, though.

Long story short (you’re prolly like, thank GODDESS) I had the procedures done–two in one week. I alternated Tylenol with Ibuprofen and only woke up once with screaming gums. It reminded me of my episiotomy healing after I had my kids–you go to sleep pleasantly zonked on something and wake up at 4 a.m. with your taint on fire.

Meanwhile–I bought a Water Pik that I now want to marry. My dentist and hygienist and dental assistant (shout out to Dr. Vega and MaryLou and Ramona!) were kinder than kind and ultra-professional as I whimpered for no reason throughout. People with anxiety issues like mine will relate. The rest of you will carry on with your day grateful you don’t have to deal with characters like Senorita Squirrel and procedures like root planing and scaling. Which (I can’t believe I’m saying this!!!) wasn’t all that awful.

A word on the Princess Leia hair: This is a way to give yourself awesome beach waves without having to heat style. I don’t leave the house like this except when I forget and do and the people at the Safeway toss me the crook eye. Use a good hair gel like Bedhead Creative Genius and maybe even put a lil cinnamon bun on top, too, if you have more layers, totaling three cinnamon buns on your head, not two, as I have pictured here.

And keep up with your dental visits, people. I think this experience has finally cured me of my dental phobias, ones that kept me from getting cleanings, even free ones from my insurance once a year, because I HATE having someone poking around in there with sharp metal pokey-things. And I can’t figure out how to end this blog so I’ll just say, Namaste, bitches.

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