Friday, March 5, 2010

You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

I am not a fan of going to the dentist, and that, is putting it lightly! My first memories of going to the dentist as a child, involve numerous adults standing around the dentists chair, all holding down my arms and legs, so they could put a big, scary, black mask over my face. I remember the first few panicked breaths, convinced I would not be able to breathe, the smell of the gas, and finally a weird sort of oblivion. This oblivion consisted of black and white psychedelic dreams, and the "music" of buzzing in my ears.

Fast forward to recent years, and the problem has become worse. My experiences of the past few years have left me pretty much incapable of sitting in a dentists chair without the aid of some sort of relaxant, like nitrous oxide, or more.

I also have a sensitivity to epinephrine. It's used in the shots they give you to help make you freeze faster, and stay frozen for longer. I was once told I was allergic to it, though since then I have been told you can't be allergic to it, since your body makes it. However, during a hospital visit I was told a sensitivity to it, can be dangerous. I was told to wear a medic alert bracelet, just in case. 

So, when a dentist gives me a shot to freeze an area, without the epinephrine, the shot doesn't last as long. Consequently, I have a long history of telling dentists that I can feel what they're doing, and they either don't believe me, or they try to rush through to finish it up before I can feel more pain. While I would agree that the less time I spend in a dentists chair, the better, the rushing itself makes me even more nervous. 

In the past week, I have spent about 5 hours in the chair, getting some stuff fixed that really just couldn't wait any longer. My friends told me to be sure to ask for the "happy gas". During the first 2.5-3 hour session though, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why they would call it happy gas. I was not happy to be there, and did not even feel all that relaxed. 

Today, that changed. I'm not sure if they used higher levels of gas, or if I was just a little more relaxed going in there, but today, the gas was working. At one point, I thought that something was going to be painful, but was so relaxed, I didn't think I wanted to even raise my hand to let them know. I suddenly could see why, in spite of being gassed as a child, there could potentially be some unconscious memories there that contributed to the fear. What if, as I lay there thoroughly gassed, the work being done was painful, but I was not able to let them know?

That brought to mind another thought. Just over a year ago, I had some work done. That dentist used what we jokingly called "blue juice". It made me conscious enough that she could tell me to open my mouth, but unconscious enough that I don't remember a thing from when she did her work. I only know that when she was done, I was bruised, swollen  and in pain from my neck to my cheekbone for a week. I looked like I had been in a fist fight, and whatever she did, since then, my terror of dentists has increased significantly.

So, what does all this have to do with art? Meh, not much. Except, that in my drug induced woozy brain today, with all my musings, I had the thought that my state of mind was much like a couple of paintings I had done. Those two paintings were so totally not inspired by drug induced states in a dentists chair, but I do think now, they represent that state quite nicely. As I just about merged with the seat, I happily thought, "I feel a blog post coming on." Then I had to try not to giggle, since he was playing with the drill at the time.

The first one was actually inspired by seeing some highlighted writing. Out of the corner of my eye, I "saw" the image as I was flipping pages of notes. The image so captivated me, that I had to paint it. Cheery Bouquet of Flowers

After I did that one, I thought it might be nice to do a series like that. All fuzzy, without defined edges, and I thought about this next one. So totally what I don't usually do. Since painting this next one, a number of friends have commented about how it makes them feel like the are seeing the auras of the birds, so I named it that. The Auras of Birds

I have not done anymore fuzzy edged paintings since then. But, if I have to go back to the dentist for more work, I may just take a few images with me and see what works best. You never know, there could be a great painting waiting for me in the fuzzy edges of my mind.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard of making sure you had soup to eat after your dentist appointment.... but I've never heard of making sure you are stocked up on art supplies in anticipation of a dentist visit! lol