“It kind of feels like you’re high….” My sister’s friend Maddy told me when I told her that I’d be getting laughing gas at my oral surgery. I asked her how she knows what high feels like. “Well…. I don’t. But I’m guessing that’s how it feels. Don’t worry. It’s really fun. I started laughing when I got it.” Okay, well, that didn’t sound too bad. It certainly put a little damper on the butterflies in my stomach. The fact is, I was seriously more freaked out about getting laughing gas than I was about getting a needle jabbed into my gums. I don’t know what it is with me and mood changing substances- they just kind of scare me.
I stayed up until two in the morning hoping that being extremely tired at my 7:50 appointment might ease my nerves a bit. It did not. I was shaky as ever as I got into the oral surgeon’s chair and listened to the assistant go over what exactly was going on. My heart jumped when I saw her take out one of those finger-clip thingies that monitors your pulse and oxygen levels. “This will monitor your pulse and oxygen levels,” she said. “It’s amazing what one finger can do.” I was scared to death, because whenever I had seen those, I had always presumed that there was some sort of needle inside of them that slipped inside of your finger. How else could you get a blood oxygen level reading from a finger? To my relief, there was no needle hiding inside of the clip and it just slipped onto my finger and had the television in the corner of the room emit little beeping noises when my heart beat.
Another assistant came in and started to set up the laughing gas tube stuff. Then the oral surgeon came in. I was shaking a lot and the television in the corner was beating out very fast “beepbeepbeep” noises. I tried to control my breathing as they lowered the gas mask over my nose and told me to breath through it. For a moment I noticed nothing. There was no sudden finger and toe tingling and giggling like the doctor warned at our meeting last week. One of the assistants told me that the gas was on. I couldn’t tell, but I breathed more through my nose. They doctor started rubbing my gums with pre-anesthetic gel to numb them before the novocain.
Then it hit me. And it was none of that warm and fuzzy comfort that other people had described it as. You know that feeling when you’re sick and you feel like you’re completely out of your body? Like everything you touch, hear, and see isn’t actually going on? Like your entire being and soul has been pushed back into a tiny little corner of your brain? Combine that with the feeling that you get when you stand up to fast and the feeling you get after your head has been slammed with every volume of an Encyclopedia Britanica. That is how laughing gas feels. The doctor asked me how I felt. “Oh, a little tired,” I said. I was a little shocked at how fast my response was. I actually felt like I was falling through the back of the chair into a churning ocean.
My brain started to adjust a bit as the doctor got the novocain ready. I still felt incredibly out-of-body, but if I focused hard enough, it didn’t feel like my head was spinning off into outer space. “You might want to breath through your nose a lot now,” one of the assistants said as the doctor lowered the novocain into my mouth. He told me that I was going to feel a small pinch. And then another pinch. And then a really, really big pinch. I pushed my thumbnail hard into my index finger and curled my toes hard at the last big pinch and again as he did it on the other side of my mouth.
Everything from that point on went by really fast. I didn’t feel a thing as he pulled both of my teeth out with such speed and ease that I was amazed, murky-headed as I was. “You might feel a little bit of pressure. And a weird noise,” they told me as he yanked out my tooth. I felt no pressure and heard no noise. Just felt my head wiggle a bit and then POP! There was my tooth in front of my face, being held by the doctor’s pliers.
I was leaned far back enough that I could look upside-down at the clock behind me. Whoa! I had been there nearly forty five minutes. It felt like I had been there only five. Must have been the gas. The doctor finished off by attaching a chain to a tooth that’s lodged somewhere up in my gums so it can come down. Then they took off the gas mask and stuffed my face with gauze. I waited about five minutes, one of the assistants came back, gave me new gauze and escorted me out to the waiting room.
The rest of the day was much more uncomfortable than the actual procedure. I had my father get my prescriptions from Target (because they have cool bottles) and he dropped me off at home. My mouth didn’t stop bleeding for several hours and I was running every five minutes or so to spit blood out of my mouth and stuff my mouth with paper towels. After a bit, the novocain started to wear off and my mouth started to hurt. Luckily, my father got home with the two pain medications, antibiotic, and mouth wash that I had been prescribed. I feel kinda cool since I’m taking the same pain medication that House takes on House M.D. but I don’t understand how he can go save peoples lives when it makes you so drowsy. I’ve basically been lying around for the past day and a half watching Will & Grace on DVD.
If you haven’t read this post about how my teeth are incredibly messed up and how I’m getting two removed, I suggest you do that. In that post, I said that my dentist would be removing my teeth and that I wasn’t scared because my dentist is totally painless. That is not the case anymore. The case being that my dentist will no longer be taking my two teeth out. An oral surgeon will be. As you can imagine if you read the article you were directed to at the beginning of this entry, I was quite afraid. Some stranger yanking out two of my teeth? What if they do it the wrong way? What if it hurts?
On the way to a meeting with the oral surgeon two days ago, my father told me that I would be able to pick out what anesthetic I wanted. Kind of like picking out a salad. Except more painful. “Um…. Okay. Well, novocain might be less painful but it might not numb as well as a needle pumping stuff right into my blood stream. But I really don’t want that.”
Why do doctors always have to keep you waiting in their offices forever? While I sat in the oral surgery chair thingy, all sorts of scenarios popped into my head. I thought about that women who had eye surgery done with anesthetic that didn’t actually work. And she was also given something that would prevent her from moving. So she couldn’t scream because of the horrible pain from the doctor cutting open her eyes or something. What if that happened to me?
The surgeon turned out to be a pretty nice guy. I did get to choose which anesthetic I wanted. I chose local anesthetic with some laughing gas on the side. He said that it would make me kind of giggly with tingling fingers and toes. I think I’m more scared of that than the needle he’s going to be putting in my mouth.
Uh…kay. What has happened in this last week that I have not updated? Well. We had some computer problems. All fixed now. At least for the most part. But, man. While they were going on, it was like this house was about to explode. About a week or two ago, our internet on our airport network started going reeeeally slow. Not just like, dialup slow. No, it was excruciating takes-ten-minutes-to-load-every-page and please-tear-my-head-off slow. No joke- it took GOOGLE forever to load. That, my friend, is slow internet.
I tried thinking of reasons as to why the internet was fast on the computer attached to the modem and I-will-give-you-my-leg-if-you-can-make-the-internet-faster slow on the computers getting the internet from that computer. I tried reorganizing my father’s desktop and making it all neat and pretty. I picked out a new desktop for him and created custom folders and icons categorized for all of his file folder needs. He hated the change of course. He likes his desktop messy and frustrating, thank you. It didn’t help, anyhow.
I chatted around with some online people and some suggested to install the new operating system, Tiger, onto my father’s computer. We had bought the family pack for Tiger when it came out, so it was no problem to go and install it. Except that my father is totally anal and DO NOT TOUCH MY STUFF about his computer and was also under the impression that installing anything new would erase all of his files immediately.
And this is where we both should win the award for miscommunication. I was looking at the box for Tiger and I was like, “oh, wait, Dad. We can’t install this on your computer anyway. You don’t have enough RAM or whatever.” So my father went and bought tons of new RAM whatsits for his computer. I took this as him being alright with me installing Tiger. So I did. And the internet seemed to work. For a short time at least.
But then. That’s when the other, even more stressful problem started. The problem with my father’s printer. The problem that had me on the internet in various completely unhelpful apple chat rooms trying to find out why on earth my father’s printer wasn’t working. “You tell it to print and then it opens the printer application and then it just DOES NOTHING,” I complained hysterically to several people. All were stumped.
My father in the meantime was going ballistic. He needed his printer to work desperately so that he could print out things for his political campaign. “It’s Tiger. I know it is. You installed Tiger on my computer EVEN when I told you NOT TO and now the printer is broken.” I tried to restrain myself from going all Lizzy Borden on him and explained that it was a printer problem. It couldn’t be Tiger doing it. He commanded me to remove Tiger from his computer and to revert to the previous operating system, Panther. I told him that that would be quite hard unless we backed everything up and erased everything from his computer and then reinstalled from scratch. I also told him that putting Panther back on probably wouldn’t fix the printer problem at all. He didn’t seem to be listening. “JUST DO IT.”
I was not going to do it. It was one of those moments when you are absolutely certain that you are RIGHT. In a very desperate moment, when my father had thrown his printer-troubled eMac out of his office and brought home the one from his office, I had a stroke of genius. I searched for the HP Laserjet printer preferences and found that they were not in the preferences folder, but in some other folder called “Old Prefs.” Apparently, when my father had brought his computer to the Apple Genius Bar at the Apple Store, they had moved all of his old preferences to a folder on his desktop. So it all goes back to me organizing his insanely messy desktop into five, neat, categorized folders. And the printer worked. So BOO-YAH. I was right.
Today, my family, Russell, Cara, Taylor, and I went to some friends of the family’s house for a little pool party. We basically spent the entire time in the pool, getting out only for a bit to go into the tree house and to give tarot readings to a few people. Click here to see the slideshow.
As we were cleaning out the washroom tonight, I found one of my old journals. The last thing that was written in it was this poem, written on February 3, 2001. It doesn’t sound like it’s finished, but I really like the way it’s written, so I’m posting it here.
* * * *
frayed and stolen
stolen and lost
vague voices and shapes
coming out of the dust.
thrown into the back
of a moving truck
dark shadows and shapes
take form in the dark.
tied and gagged.
gagged and blinded.
far away voices and shapes.
beyond the boxes and crates.
frayed and stolen.
stolen and lost.
vague voices and shapes
coming out of the dust.
as the dust settles
and the truck moves on,
while the girl listens,
he plays with his gun.
My sister used to think that she liked Ani Difranco. I think it was because she was little and that was all I listened to back then. When we got tickets to see Ani Difranco in concert when I was in the sixth grade, my sister thought it was the coolest thing on earth. I think that was because it was the first concert she had ever been to and some of her other friends were going, too. However, people change as they get older, and my sister was disillusioned about her actual feelings towards Ani Difranco.
Let me just say that I am a huge Ani Difranco fan. I didn’t even know who she was or what on earth she was singing about when we first started listening to her. And you might not believe this, but for like a year or so, I thought she was black. I’m not even kidding. I think it’s because of the way she looks on the cover of her album Little Plastic Castle: incredibly tan. I was very surprised to see, when I was flipping through a pamphlet of upcoming events for a local theater, to see that Ani Difranco was not only not black, but very, very, very white.
I first got into her when my father started working with her manager, Scot Fisher, in his preservation group. They aren’t on as good of terms now, hence not getting free tickets and backstage passes to shows, but I’m still a fan. I overheard a conversation my parents were having about one of their first meetings with Scot and they were talking about how he is Ani’s manager. Well, we went out and we bought a cassette tape of the Little Plastic Castle album and we’d listen to it all the time in the car. Of course, I had no idea really what any of her songs were about and didn’t really know until I actually sat down to listen to some of them after I got her album To The Teeth in the sixth grade.
At that time in my life, I was very, well, pseudo-political-punk-rockish and I felt incredibly cool about listening to somebody that nobody else listened to, even more because she talked about important issues in her music. It was not before long that I had an entire shrine in my room devoted to Ani Difranco and a subway sized poster on the other wall. Seriously, there was a sign above it that said, “Max’s Ani Difranco Shrine.” It was basically printed out pictures of her albums and of her.
I’m not nearly as obsessive now, but I’m still a pretty big fan. I still keep up on her new albums and purchase them about once a year. Except for, perhaps, Educated Guess, which, personally, I don’t believe is her best. But now I’ve gone off topic. What I want to talk about is my sister’s complete hate for Ani Difranco. And I guess many of my friends’ hate for Ani Difranco.
I guess they just don’t get it, really. I can understand that her style of music doesn’t really suit some people. After all, you really do need to focus on the lyrics to enjoy the music. It’s not the kind of upbeat can’t-understand-what-they’re-saying-but-it-doesn’t-matter type music that my sister enjoys. I still don’t get it, though, when people plug their ears and moan in pain whenever I put Ani Difranco on. My sister does a very exaggerated imitation of what Ani Difranco sounds like to her. I try to tell her that Ani doesn’t really sound like that and that the sound she is basing hers on is highly exaggerated and based more on Ani’s live performances. But even though it really annoys me when people just DON’T UNDERSTAND Ani Difranco at all, my sister just recorded the funniest thing ever, which I must share with everybody.
Yesterday night, while painting the washroom, she came up to me and said that Ani Difranco was coming out with a new album. “Max! You have to listen to this! It’s soooooo good,” she said. I knew it was probably a joke, and I asked her if it was. She simply led me into her room and played this.
Everything’s kind of been a madhouse around here. My family has been in the process of moving things all around the house. Kind of late late spring cleaning, I suppose. We went to IKEA a few days ago to buy some new stuff for the house. My sister is, as I may have mentioned earlier, directing the Makeover-Our-Home-Marathon 2005 and has bought paint for the bathrooms and the washroom. Because of this fussy cleanup extravaganza, the home has come into an even greater state of disarray.
My sister recruited Russell and I to move shelves, baskets, giant wooden columns, and other things out of the washroom so that she could get a move on painting it. Of course, there really wasn’t any place to put any of this stuff, so we had to just dump it into the middle of the hallway, my sister’s room, and various walkways that people needed to use. I really do hope that my sister finishes up her little cleaning spree soon, the house had just become tolerable a few days before she started making it totally intolerable again.
The time between outbursts of family members is also decreasing rapidly due to this stressful and pressuring need to clean, clean, CLEAN. I think that we all thought this job would be a lot easier than it actually would be. Or at least my sister did. I believe she was under the impression that she would simply empty out each room within minutes and brush some paint onto the walls and hoorah! But it was just a few moments that she was in the washroom before the parade of shouting and complaints started to erupt from its doors. “I HATE Dad! I HATE him! I HATE dad!” She screamed for most of the morning, having found that there was actually much more work to do than she had suspected.
I’m afraid to say that the father hating did not stop there. It has been a frequent occurrence over the last few days what with my father picking out an extremely un-terracotta paint color for the walls (very much opposite to my sister’s paint color demands). “It looks EXACTLY like the color we have in EVERY SINGLE OTHER ROOM of the house!” My sister shouted several times between gagging gestures and pretend vomiting.
It really doesn’t help me that I’m in kind of a lazy rut. I was so extremely tired yesterday, not to mention a tad bit depressed after finishing the latest Harry Potter book. There also really isn’t that much to eat in the house besides stuff that needs preparation, so I was kind of starving. Hunger is seriously one of the worst feelings ever. I can’t enjoy anything when I’m hungry. I definitely can’t read on an empty stomach. But anyway, I could sense that my mother and sister were growing very tired of my constant lying around doing nothing. I did end up helping out a bit in the whole washroom painting, but my paint skills are really very horrible and I was only able to paint a little bit of the wall. My sister and I listened to some of Geri Halliwell’s new CD while painting, though. That was fun.