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No More Laughing Gas for the Smith Kids

February 2, 2012

I’m pretty sure it was at the appointment where the dentist bellowed down the hall, “No more laughing gas for the Smith kids,” that I started hating dental appointments. 

What nutrients was I missing that made my baby teeth come in full of cavities? I don’t know; but by the time I was four, I was already a regular at the University of Minnesota’s dental school.   

When I was a little older and we moved to the farm in Eastern Washington, Mom didn’t want to waste time carting us back and forth into town; so she booked a group appointment.  Four kids with appointments – one right after the other – made for a long and boring afternoon for us and apparently an unpleasant one for the staff.

Perhaps our dentist was still in the experimental stages with nitrous oxide because Ethan and I had similar experiences.  The dentist told us about this wonderful stuff called laughing gas that would make us feel relaxed and happy.  “If anything hurts or doesn’t feel right, you just raise your hand,” he told us.

I was sitting in the waiting room when the dentist came down the hallway and told his receptionist, “The kid back there just puked, and I need a clean garbage can.”

“The room spun out of control,” Ethan told me later.  “It was awful; I couldn’t make it stop.”

Minutes after I was hooked up to the gas, the dentist’s head loomed over my face as big as a hot air balloon.  I couldn’t raise my hand because, like some cartoon character gone awry, my arm had grown to the size of a telephone pole.  The forest scene on the wall behind the dentist’s enormous head had come to life and was now swirling and spinning.  I closed my eyes, but that made me feel like I was turning round and round in the chair.

When the doctor started yelling at his assistant, his voice distant and warped, to pull the rubber dam out of my mouth, I realized I was vomiting. “This one’s barfing too!” he yelled as he grabbed the garbage can and pulled me into a sitting position.

Afterwards he walked to the open door and yelled for the entire clinic to hear that the Smith kids shouldn’t be drugged.  Ethan and I couldn’t have agreed more; but in today’s world, I’m pretty sure that would be a HIPAA (Health Portability and Accountability Act) violation.  Back in those days nobody cared about the tender feelings of children.

To this day, I get nauseous just catching a whiff of the wretched stuff; but I know people who love it which is something I don’t understand.  I don’t like to lose control of my body, and I especially don’t like to hand over control of my mind to someone else. 

I’m told that most people don’t lose control of their minds and whatever is in their stomachs on the stuff; so I’m not condemning people for using it.  However, for me it stands as a reminder of II Corinthians 10:5 which tells us to bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  

Why is taking control of our thought life so important?  I’m not sure who first came up with the phrase, “You are what you think,” but the truth of this statement is astonishing.  Think negative thoughts and soon you are a negative person.  Dwell on your failures and soon you have no successes.  Determine your life is a waste because you didn’t get to fulfill all of your dreams, and soon you’ll be completely ineffective. 

As Christians we should want to live a spirit filled life.  Many times I’ve had to reevaluate my thoughts based on Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

We’re not being told that we can’t daydream or enjoy good stories; but if what I’m thinking about doesn’t fit into one of these categories, I should be thinking about something else.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2012 10:40 pm

    Laura, I could feel the room spinning, really!

    • February 3, 2012 9:52 am

      Lots more fun if you’re on a carnival ride – not in a dentist’s chair. 🙂

  2. emtgirl permalink
    February 3, 2012 10:32 am

    good old mother HIPPA! Thanks for the challenge!

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