An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


"Is it", I wondered to myself, settling back into the leather chair, feet off of the ground, suspended as it were in air, "Is it possible for a man or woman who as seen either Marathon Man or The Little Shop of Horrors to feel truly at ease in a dentist's chair"? Not this one - certainly, and I've spent more than my fair share of time in these unhappy seats, thronelike - king of nothing I survey - the subject not the sovereign.

Palpably vulnerable, mouth open, hands uncomfortably grasped in a lap that almost doesn't exist at this semi-supine attitude I submit. Twice every year these days I voluntarily submit to this ordeal. Actively trying to relax I shake the tension out of all my muscles and loose each last tendon - a rag now.

Nikos seats himself beside me after a thorough examination and draws a tray of implements toward him. Nikos, whom I barely know outside of this long white room where a heater battles with a window open to the sleet and hail that are falling alternately outside. Nikos, husband of our osteopath Kristina, who even now is manipulating G's hip hopefully back into alignment two floors beneath us. "First." he says, and pauses ominously,"... we will do a deep clean. an, how do you say it, intense clean". He drops the hideously uncomfortable sucking machine into my mouth, pushes his sleeves back and selects what looks like a military grade crochet hook from the stainless steel tray before him.

And so begins almost an hours of excruciating scraping and chipping. How those teeth do not just pop out of the gum under this treatment is beyond me and when he scrapes out below the gum line shifting deeply seated plaque that he wipes onto the back of his gloved left hand the sound together with the intense pain is eased only when the warm coppery taste of my own blood fills my mouth. Strange how the taste of flowing blood always does that - calms me down, takes the edge off of the tension. Perhaps that's the effect that self harmers get. A kind of release.

It continues. How long do dentists really believe that a person can keep their mouth open? Perhaps they are all free divers in their spare time and judge by their own standards. Nikos finds a couple of additional problems as he circumnavigates my mouth a crown loose here, a bridge unseated there, a piece missing from the splint that holds my two front upper teeth in place. He mentions them almost in passing - and does he wonder why my responses are so perfunctory?

Finally we are finished - or rather he is finished and I am simply done with. The routine rinse and spit takes two full glasses to come clear. My mouth is tender but satisfyingly tender. Next week we will be back together - he shows me the dentist's hammer with which he intends, all going well, to remove three conjoined crowns before replacing them all re-bedded. Let joy be unconfined. A trip to the dentist is a thing of wonder and a joy forever.


  1. [crap, my username is still unavailable to me here, the woman using it has not posted in more than 4 years, either... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR]

    anyway, i sympathize w/your dental concerns... i had none til i hit my 40s, and now i need double painkillers before i let them touch my teeth

  2. aaaaww how cruel dentists can be… if you ask me i guess they are all Sadists!

  3. Bloody nora - what a wincing read! Hope mouth now recovered from ordeal and whatever you have to go back for isn't for anything too drastic/painful/ecpensive!

    I wanted to leave a comment because the part about the blood and self harm connection really reminded me of the style of a book i have just finished - a million little pieces by James Frey. Am half way through the follow-up which is my friend Leonard. Excellent excellent books I thought - you should give them a read (I can bring them over in May) if you haven't already.