solo exhibition. I'm someone who is happiest when charging off down the road to a new destination, but once I've arrived I am disappointed to feel so aimless, even though I am too tired to throw myself wholeheartedly down the next path just yet. It's not pretty, and this time my lethargy and lack of focus are exacerbated by new developments in my never-ending saga of dental-trauma.
I do try to avoid sullying Bibliophilia with too much personal information, especially involving dentists, but really, this latest incident is so very weird that I'm gonna tell all. If like me, you have no tolerance for other people's dentist stories, feel free to skip ahead to the June Giveaway details at the end of the post, with the Happy Bus photo.
Despite the fact that just before leaving for Australia in April last year, my dentist thoroughly checked my mouth and declared it free from any impending problems, within six months I was in root canal agony in the rainforest. Six months later, I am in the middle of another root canal and seven, yes 7, cavities. How did I go from clean bill of dental health to a mouthful of decay and disaster in only one year? That's the first unsolved mystery. I'm reluctantly wondering if drinking pristine mountain spring water instead of fluoridated town supply might be implicated, since nothing else was different in terms of my vigilant dental hygiene and sugary snacking habits.
So, onto the second and far more intriguing mystery. Two days ago I placed my mouth in (or rather around) the hands of my fifth(!) dentist in 14 months. This dentist, despite his scary handlebar moustache, has won me over by being altruistic in his pricing policies and proactive with painkillers. At our first meeting, while I explained my increasing penchant for panic attacks while under the drill, he grabbed my arm, pushed up my sleeve and started prodding the inside of my elbow. I don't recall any other dentist ever offering me a general anaesthetic, because surely I would have taken it as eagerly as I did this one.
I remember the needle going in and then the next thing I know, I'm sobbing as I hear him say, "take the needle out now". Apparently, after about 40 minutes and 4 1/2 fillings I started having a panic attack while unconscious. All attempts to calm me down failed, and I carried on like that for about half an hour until I came conscious and stopped crying and started babbling and eventually laughing.
Apparently anaesthesia awareness occurs in 0.01- 0.02% of cases and when it does "about 94% experience panic/anxiety." But why me? Why a panic attack? As well as the general, I'd been thoroughly numbed with local anaesthetics so it seems unlikely that I felt any pain (I certainly don't remember feeling any). All I can think is that recently reading about anaesthesia awareness must have lodged the idea in my subconscious mind, along with my oft-repeated self-description as someone prone to uncontrolled panic attacks in the dental chair. (I don't tend to have panic attacks anywhere else).
It's all very strange and discomforting. Not to mention frustrating that I still have considerable work left to be done, including the root canal which has started throbbing again. And, the lingering effects of the not-so-effective anaesthesia have left me, 48 hours later, still weak, shaky and foggy-headed. I'm hoping that unloading this strange story onto my innocent reading public (I know you didn't come here to read about teeth) will help me to move on, and reclaim some of the focus and energy I miss.
Luckily I have lots of copies of Happy Bus, my zine, to cheer me up. Happy Bus is a potpourri of writing, drawing and paper engineering, mostly by me, along with a few friends. In it you will find: how the Dalai Lama got Western scientists to study happiness; a guided meditation and a journalling project, a playlist of happy songs (including many suggested by Bibliophilia readers), a poem about small town living (written in upstate New York and illustrated in Far North Queensland), an article about laughter yoga, a list of happiness inducing email newsletters and an origami envelope of stickers including some homemade gold elephants.
You can go in the draw to win a copy of Happy Bus by commenting on this post before 9am 22 June (NZ time). If you don't want to wait that long, go straight to my Etsy shop and buy one for only $5! Please buy one anyway, I need the money to help pay the dental bills...