I take the needle 5 times - the last time it is stuck right into my molar. Once I am finally frozen, my endodontist labours furiously in tandem with his assistant for about 40 minutes drilling, picking and mining my infected tooth root as top 40 music sounds from the ceiling speakers.
What I take away from this surreal experience is the rare perspective I had of the whole operation. Complete strangers are thrusting foreign instruments and needles into my mouth (wedged open and covered with a rubber dam) as I restrain my gag reflex from all the fluid that is collecting in the back of my throat.
It is both violating to be so vulnerable and exhilarating to know they are working for my benefit. The fact that my jaw is numb compounds the feeling of vulnerability as I can not respond to their actions. The fact that I can not see what is happening to my tooth leaves me completely at their mercy. The fact that I really have no idea what good endodontics looks or feels like makes the previous two facts irrelevant.
I arrive in my classroom 25 minutes after paying a hefty sum, back in the real world, a place where I have a modicum of control.