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  • I chipped a tooth last Saturday and got it repaired today. Going to the Dentist is not like it used to be. I used to dread for days the upcoming pain and finally learned to not think about it until I got into the chair.
    I remember having 3 wisdom teeth pulled while in Boot Camp. Believe me when I tell you that they didn’t care that I was in pain. The old dentist knelt on my chest while pulling away. They let me spend the night in their infirmary before going back to the daily grind. They gave me a pain pill that night but told me not to take it until the pain got so bad I couldn’t stand it. Needless to say, I woke up in the morning on a pillow covered in blood with the pain pill still clutched in my hand. I didn’t even wait around for one of the torturers to show up, but got dressed, cleaned up and slinked back to my unit. I think that was my worst dental experience.

    One time before a submarine patrol, I had to have my teeth cleaned. Because you are going to be at sea for at least 10 weeks with no available Dentist, they make you see one before every patrol. They’ve never had to abort a patrol for a toothache yet! The “almost a dentist” to be was famous for making gums bleed. So as he put the bib on me, I slipped my stiletto into my right hand. And as he started the grinder, I hit the button. Klunk! Through the bib straight in front of his widening eyes.
    I said, “you cut me…I cut you” and pushed the button to retract the blade.
    Best cleaning I ever had and no pain.

    So anyway, back to today’s visit. The most painful part was the x-ray device they make you bite down on. Seriously. I kept tensing up waiting for the pain and it never happened. They deaden your lips, nose and gums with a dab on solution and wait for a few minutes to administer the actual painkiller via some device that you can’t even feel. The only way I knew it was working, is the little “ding” every so often like sound of gasoline flowing from the pump(older people will know what I mean).

    As I tensed up each time the dentist pushed and drilled and sanded, I kept trying to center myself and relax into the moment like all of you Zen masters have touted. It worked. I was able to totally relax my body and NOT leave finger marks on the arm of the chair. It worked so well that I have scheduled a cleaning visit next month.
    My granddaughter would be proud of me. She loves going to the dentist and wanted to go with me. It’s a new generation!
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