Thursday, May 08, 2008

Gag Reflex, Lizard Brain

My courage fails me often at the dentist's; I don't like gauze or metal or cement at the back of my mouth. My throat tries heroically to get rid of the stuff: thus an unseemly fit of gagging.

This morning, I was having "impressions" made for a nightguard, to help me stop grinding my teeth. This involved holding what felt like a half-pound of wet cement in my mouth for two full minutes, one minute each for upper and lower. My gag reflex (which I learned I should code as a mere gag response)kicked in with astonishing ferocity.

Even though I could get air, for a long moment I had the sensation of drowning, and of my body struggling to stay alive. I'd never seen death from this angle before, or descended so fully into my primitive self in order to fight back. And I was even breathing nitrous oxide at the time.

Eventually, we did get the job done, the able hygienist and I. But only after I'd had an enlightening experience of what it is to be a panicked animal.

I'm going to be able to use this information, though I'm not sure yet how. I'm hoping I'll figure out how to connect with that lizard-brain part of myself, now that I've met her. Maybe we could work together on some projects; there's too much energy there to waste.

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