24 Days of Grateful [Day 3]
Today, I had a cavity filled. Because I like sugar and lots of honey in my tea and am lazy sometimes and fall asleep without brushing my teeth.
I hate the dentist. I hate lying in the chair and looking at the ceiling with those sticky lizards you used to have as a kid stuck to the speckled panels. I hate the hospital-gown-green piece of paper that the hygienist clips around your neck to catch the drool. I hate that the dentist is often kind, but insists on having a full conversation while your mouth is stuffed with cotton and sharp objects.
I hate the air-sucking sound of the tools when they turn on and the pinch they promise will be only a pinch but is always more. I hate that the dentist is probably thinking that you need your eyebrows waxed, and also why is it so hard for you to open your mouth wide? (I have a small mouth. It’s not my fault).
I hate all of these things. I feel my heart rate rise every time I enter a dentist’s office, and unfortunately I am an adult now and have to actually bring myself to what I consider to be torture sessions. And today, my torture session had a soundtrack of “A Holly Jolly Christmas” as the doctor drilled. It was unsettling and maybe ruined that Christmas song for me forever. We shall see if I have flashbacks the next time I hear it on the radio.
As I lay there with the drill spinning, I was annoyed that I had to go at all. I was annoyed that I had to rush from work and also that I had parked in the wrong parking lot and had to walk farther. In short, I was annoyed with a laundry list of things that actually are not problems at all.
For I am privileged enough to have a car to drive to the dentist.
I have a cell phone to call the dentist.
I have a toothbrush to brush my teeth before I go to the dentist.
I have a credit card to pay for the co-pay at the dentist.
I had a cavity, and I have a dentist who filled it.
That’s something to be grateful for in this world where so many of us live without electricity, or water, or toothpaste at all. “I went to the dentist” is a sentence that many children never get to say.
And so, I feel kind of guilty for hating the dentist. I will never enjoy going.
But I don’t have a cavity anymore. Not everyone in this world can say that.
So, dear dentist, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to go to you. Healthcare is a gift not everyone has under their tree.