There I was, lying back in the dentist’s chair with a nasal mask resting on my face. My limbs were tingling and I was slowly getting sleepy. I thought to myself ‘I don’t think nitrous oxide is supposed to knock me out… is it?’ I had never had it before, in all honesty. I didn’t really know. ‘Ah well,’ the sensation felt nice enough, I decided. ‘If it’s not supposed to… well I don’t think they’ll let me die.’
A few minutes after that thought, the dentist asked me if I was feeling sleepy. I answered in the affirmative and she promptly turned down the dosage of the gas I was inhaling. Well, there was my answer – no I shouldn’t pass out from N2O, and yes they would keep an eye on me and not let me die. Once she turned it down, I came back to consciousness relatively quickly… but still kept the somewhat nice tingly overall pleasant feeling. The nursing student in me did start to think ‘If I’m breathing in through my nose, I guess I should breathe out through my mouth so I don’t rebreathe my CO2.’ I’m sure my nursing instructors would be proud of my thought processes while I was impaired.
Time went by quickly. I felt bad asking them to stop briefly so I could go to the bathroom – only to discover that over an hour and a half had passed already. The sensations quickly faded as I went about my business, then I realized ‘Oh shoot, it’s five o’clock… I better text Jason and ask him to pick up the kids… there’s no way I’ll make it in time.’
I texted him quickly and got back into the chair, and let the tingling start up again. It started slowly, the realization that I was listening to electronica type music. The overhead radio had been shut off as the office had started to close down for the evening, but I still heard this… music. It was repetitive and constant. I thought it an odd choice to play in a dentist’s office, but I played it off. Just as slowly, I started seeing black and yellow stars swirling into my peripheral vision. ‘Oh neat… must be the drugs… it’s cool’ the stars moved in time with the music and the tingling in my extremities. The stars started moving more and more into my visual field. ‘Well, this is unnerving but…’
Suddenly, my vision was gone – blocked by these yellow and black swirls of stars and the music was louder – pounding in my ears. I could feel and hear everything that was happening over the music.
“Oh my God, she’s seizing!” I heard.
I felt my arms moving involuntarily – my forearms and hands lifting up off of the arm rests, my back started arching, and my teeth were digging hard into the rubber bite block.
I heard instructions being thrown and movement around me.
Soon, the stars started to fade along with the music.
“Breathe deep through your nose, Emma, it’s just oxygen now.”
“I heard everything you were saying,” I said. As tears started to pour down the side of my face I continued, “I’ve never had a seizure before.”
Well, that’s what was up with me last night you guys… Earned myself a trip to the Emergency Department. Don’t worry, I was soon cleared – they believe it was a “Vasovagal Syncope Episode” that had “seizure like activity.” Since A.) I could remember it happening, and B.) I was able to communicate as soon as it ended. I was told it lasted for 30 seconds and it was one of the worst syncope episodes that dentist had seen. So there’s that… LOL. Safe to say that when I returned to the dentist this morning to finish the filling – no nitrous was used, and I doubt I’ll ever agree to it again.