Today I’m going to tell you the story of the first (and so far only) time I’ve been on Nitrous in my adult life.
This story has A LOT of back story so be patient, we’ll get there…together (take my breath awaaaaayyyyyy).
I moved to the West Coast about six years ago and pretty much everyone here has extensive experience with drugs. I soon learned words like “bowl” and “wippets” and other totally rad things that only the cool kids get to know about. I didn’t know these things because I like my brain cells and never really did drugs and was all around a total lame-o even when I was a teenager and in my prime “cool” years. The most popular drug everyone still does is (duh) marijuana, but much to my surprise the one that seemed to be the most nostalgic for a lot of people was Nitrous Oxide (I use the scientific term because I’m still hopelessly lame). I was subjected to many speeches about how, “When you’re on it, you like, understand the whole universe, and you want to tell everyone what it, like, all totally means but you can’t speak and then when you CAN speak you’ve forgotten what you were going to say. I can’t describe it, it’s like everythingness maaaaaan.”
To which I reply, “You know, people that have been clinically dead report a similar experience. I think that was just the sensation of your brain being deprived of oxygen.”
“…you just don’t get it. You’re shackled by your senses.”
They say the “you just don’t get it because I totally did drugs for spiritual and intellectual purposes and not just to get high” thing about every drug (seriously guys, just own it. I don’t drink because it makes me a better person, I drink because whiskey tastes good and being drunk is (usually) fun)but the way they described being on Nitrous was slightly less terrifying then say acid. I still had no actual desire to do it.
This brings us to back story Volume II, I hate dentists. I.fucking.hate.dentists. “Fantasies of running them down with my car” level of hate. I am a rabid anti-dentite and not ashamed and have no desire to change. It is in no way wrong to hate and avoid a group of masochists that profit from the pain of others. Growing up, I was forced to go to a dentist that would tell my parents I needed painful and invasive procedures that I didn’t need, just because my parents could afford to pay too much for them. I had all but about three of my baby teeth pulled by the dentist over a 10 year period, which I’ve since found is completely useless unless the tooth is massively infected. Only one was infected.
He also decided I needed fillings every time I went in for a cleaning. He would drill and fill up to four baby teeth at a time. They were more silver than white by the time they fell or (more likely) were pulled out. I have again since found out that this is useless unless the kid is in pain (which I wasn’t) because they are baby teeth and will fucking fall out (cavity and all) eventually. I also had several adult teeth pulled (I have no canines) and braces put on when I was 10ish because my mouth was “too small” and that “might cause some cosmetic problems.” Or it might not have. They decided my sister needed braces too but my parents had wised up by then and she never got them and she has nicer teeth then me. Oh yeah, funny side story, if you straighten a kid’s teeth before the jaw finishes growing, they’ll just go crooked again when you take the braces off. GOOD IDEA, BRO! My childhood dentist was a total bro. He wore gold chains and never buttoned the top three buttons on his shirt (I wish I made that up).
Ok, so all this leads up to a couple years ago when my mom had one of her batshit crazy moments where she decides that everyone is going to do (x) and the world will suddenly stop being terrible and instead be puppy dogs and rainbows. This time it was that all of us would go to the dentist when we were home for Christmas. My brother got out of it somehow and my dad CLAIMED he had his own dentist that he totes goes to all the time (never confirmed but nice dodge dad) but my sister and I had no escape. Especially once my mom found out I hadn’t been since high school, the last time she thought this would be a great idea.
So my sister and I go and QUELLE SUPRISE! They find something wrong with both of us. I have a small cavity and my sister needs a root canal redone because they fucked it up the first time. The audacity of this was staggering to me. It’s like a mechanic saying, “I stole all your spark plugs so you need to pay me for new spark plugs and to install the spark plugs and also this fee I’ve decided you owe.”
For some stupid reason (probably whatever happy pills she was on that month) my mom agrees to let these butchers have at it again and makes an appointment for us both to come in and have our respective procedures done at the same time a few mornings later. I kept telling her that I’m a grown ass person and can make my own decisions and it doesn’t hurt but NO DICE! I was staying at her house, I didn’t have a flight out for something like a month, and my mom’s special talent is to make one’s life abject misery for no reason at all but especially if she doesn’t get her way. On top of the fact that having these butchers take a crack at her children’s faces (our meal tickets) was stupid, none of us had insurance so it was going to cost her over two grand for the privilege, taking the idea from “stupid” to “fucking terrible beyond all measure.”
The fateful morning comes and, I ain’t gonna lie, I was a wreck. My sister went in first because her procedure was way more involved and I start pacing the waiting room. My mother, compassionate saint that she is, laughs and points.
“You really are crazy aren’t you Toasty?”
“SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH! THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! I SHOULD MAKE A RUN FOR IT AND RIDE THE RAILS BACK TO THE WEST COAST!”
“Ok ok. Don’t you have some of those panic pills of yours?”
“TOO SCARED TO TAKE THEM!”
“OMFG! Ok, hold on.”
She walks up to the receptionist and points at me with one of those “get a load for this one” looks and says,
“My offspring seems to be having a freak-out problem. Is there anything you can give her?”
“Well, all we can really do is give her Nitrous during the procedure. It’ll be an extra $80.”
“Let me ask. Toasty, do you want -”
“NUMB MY SUFFERING AND MY MIND SO I NEVER REMEMBER THAT WHICH I AM ABOUT TO ENDURE!”
“Yeah, we’ll take the Nitrous.”
They finally take me back and I see my sister is in the chair next to me, separated by a sheet. Oh man, I totally forgot this part of the story: my sister was sick. She woke up at about 2:00 that morning with a fever. I, of course, proceeded to nurse her efficiently and with utmost compassion as I had always done since her infancy which is to say doted on her insufferably with food and Tylenol and a chorus of, “How are you feeling now?” repeated every 15 minutes.
We told my mom that my sister was sick and really shouldn’t have a root canal today, but she could not have cared less and yelled something about how we don’t appreciate what she does for us and we’re the reason she can’t have nice things and my sister was all, “It’s alright Toasty, LET’S DO THIS!” because she is a fucking badass and one tough cookie.
Back to the dentist’s office. The nurse sits me in the chair and they have one of those TVs on a swing arm and she turns on the Today Show and puts and blanket on me and asks (in a cooing voice) “How’s that, need anything else dear?” and I start to think MAYBE I’m being kind of a baby. She brings in the tank and puts the mask on and turns the tank on. The air smells sweet. I start to feel dizzy.
“How do you feel dear?”
“Haha, yeah that’s kind of the point.”
I keep breathing and feel dizzier. Then it feels like I can’t keep my head on my body. Then I start to notice how threatening Al Roker looks. His face is all twisty and distorted and I’m relatively sure he’s reading my thoughts.
“Ok, no, I feel really weird.”
“Like what kind of-”
“LIKE I’M FREAKING THE FUCK OUT MAN!”
“Ok ok, I’ll take the mask off.”
Thankfully, Nitrous starts to wear off as soon as oxygen gets to your brain so I didn’t have to deal with several hours of “I don’t want to feel like this anymore!” like the one time I ate weed…story for another time.
The dentist finally comes in and the nurse and he have a conversation about how I requested Nitrous but I don’t want it anymore and he tells her not to charge us for it (the only cool thing a dentist has ever done) and he takes a look at my tooth.
“GUUUUURL [he calls everyone gurl], this cavity ain’t nothin’. We can fill this shit without Novocaine even.”
“The hell you can you fucking shameless torture-monger!” (totally a real word)
“No seriously, just let me start and if it hurts I’ll bring out the big guns.”
“…sure whatever, gurl.”
Side story: the dentist I had growing up tried to drill a tooth without Novocaine and I jumped out of the chair, ripped that stupid spit sink out of the floor, and fended him off like an old school lion tamer. No doubt. So needless to say I didn’t believe any of the jive this fool was shoveling.
He starts drilling and then does some other stuff and about 10 minutes later he’s taking his gloves off.
“Wait, that’s it?”
“Yup all done. And you were such a good patient you get a lollipop!” which pretty much cements that I’ve been a total baby about this whole thing.
As I’m walking out, I peek in at my sister who has three people working machinery straight out of Akira over her head, which is burning at a comfortable 102 degrees, and she’s staring at the ceiling with a look of “I can do this time standing on my head” on her adorable monkey face. That’s when I knew, absolutely and without question, that I was a whiny little bitch.
I called my SO back on the West Coast later.
“So how’d the cavity go?”
“They gave me Nitrous.”
“I hated it.”
“…you would. Only you would.”
“The universe didn’t make sense, it was not some transcendental experience, and it wasn’t even a fun high. I’m pretty sure the whole west coast is full of shit and also that someone should look into that Al Roker character.”
“Have I told you today how much I love how unique you are? Because I might have some statements I need to recant.”