When Ryan and I were dating, he gave me a gigantic gumball machine for Christmas.
At the time, I had quite the gumball fetish. Whenever we went to the grocery store, I demanded a quarter. Whenever we were in the mall, I went berserk when I saw the "Gumball Gourmet" (so many options!). I even had a t-shirt that featured a gumball machine filled with smiling gumballs.
Since becoming a student of dentistry, Ryan has regretted his Christmas gift from yesteryear. Though the gumball machine is not actually in our home (it is in my classroom at school), I do chomp on a few gumballs every week, and for the past few years, Dr. Nielson has not been so happy about that.
But this past Saturday, his Christmas gift from 2004 really paid off for him: through all of my gumball chewing, I developed two cavities that just so happened to be exactly the types of procedures that he needed to perform on his regional Board licensing exam.
Usually, dental students have to search high and low to find patients for their licensing exam. First they screen lots of patients, trying to find the right type of cavity on the easiest tooth possible. Then they have to decide if the patient is actually dependable: Will he or she show up on the day of the exam? If the patient doesn't show, then the student fails the test (and the test is several thousand dollars). Many students actually pay off their patients: "If you show up for this exam, I will give you $100." Not kidding.
So I think Ryan really lucked out to have me for not one, but two procedures. Like I said, the gumball machine really paid off in the end--
When I agreed to be his patient, I really didn't know what I was getting into. I thought we would go in around 8:00 a.m., and I would be done by about noon. I thought I would lay there peacefully in the chair while he drilled a few holes and filled them right up. Quick and easy, right?
Has anyone ever had a "rubber dam" put in their mouth at the dentist? I had never seen such a contraption before Saturday. I guess they are standard procedure at the dental school, but I've never had any of my other dentists use one. Let's just say that when Ryan jabbed that thing between my teeth and up into my gums, then latched it onto my face so that my lips were smushed, my mouth was forced open, and I couldn't breath, I was not such a happy wife.
Five hours later, with my mouth still propped open, by head pounding, my gums bleeding, my back aching, and my anesthetic completely worn off, I told Ryan that he better start moving faster or he was going to be one dead dentist. I think it came out more like this:
"Ewww bettaa ooove aaser, Yan. I ant aake is a-y onger."
He got the point.
My husband is a perfectionist, and he wanted the holes to be just perfect, and he wanted the fillings to be just beautiful, and he was so nervous and trying so very hard to do his best. At first I thought it was kinda cute.
But after six hours of wearing this thing, I didn't think Ryan was cute anymore. In fact, it's possible that I wanted to bite his hand off. Luckily for him, I couldn't close my mouth:
One thing is for sure: I won't be chewing gumballs ever again.