Friday, February 3, 2012

More From Glenn; Versed-a recollection

I want to warn my sensitive friends that this tale is really horrifying on the order of "Johnny Got His Gun" bad. (Obscure reference to an old book, which by the way everybody should read in light of the Versed problem) That being said, this is just the kind of story that the medical/dental people do NOT want you to know when they talk about the "happy clouds" of sedation. The following is an absolutely unretouched narrative by Glenn.
"I remember this - having one upper and two lower wisdom teeth (the lower teeth impacted) drilled out. It's finally come back to me, as a PTSD-type recall following a routine filling done at the dentist earlier this week. Why was I so scared? I'd never been bothered by the dentist before, but his approaching me with the drill (working on the tooth next to where the wisdom tooth had been) filled me with an absolute dread. This was the first actual treatment I'd had by a dentist since the wisdom teeth were removed (apart from check-ups, cleaning and so on).

This is what I remember about my treatment under Versed a decade ago:

The first memory is about having the lower left drilled. I pleaded with the surgeon to stop. He told me, in an off-hand manner, to keep my mouth open and stop talking, and then gave some instruction to an assistant. It faded. I could see the operation in progress from the reflection on the dentist's headgear. There was what appeared to be a little trench being drilled along my jawline, with blood being sucked out by the assistant. I could see bone, blood, and felt astonishingly harsh pain as he reached in with a drilling device again and again. At that point, I think I blacked out from the pain. I always did remember that, even right afterwards.

Next memory was trying to lift myself up and away from the drill, that was now operating on the upper right. I recall thinking, "Sweet Jesus - They drill them out? Don't they pull them?" Surely what they did in Marathon Man cannot be any worse than this?" They were torturing that guy for information, but they're not questioning me - this has to be for my own good… then a little while later concluding that this could not possibly be for my benefit, they surely were doing it just to torture me. I had no idea why - I've done nothing wrong!. "Nobody's asking me anything that will make this stop! I'm ready to do anything they want now, they've made their point!" Those were my thoughts. I remember it very clearly. I begged them to stop, they were completely disinterested. It was as if I were an animal being dissected live and my squealing was totally inconsequential.

My next recall (perhaps coming around from the first blackout) was where I tried to rise above the drill, to get away from it, but was unable. I do recall pushing the surgeon's hand down, and pleading to him to stop, I'd do whatever he wanted, just - please - stop this! I was told - firmly - to hold still and open my mouth wide, and I complied. The next memory fragment is wondering how long this could possibly last, and fearing that the left lower side would be returned to, because that too was hurting very badly. It was at this point that I could stand no more, and felt beaten - the pain was too much. Whatever had caused me to be in this situation had passed any point I could bear. An instruction to a nurse. The drill went on up, seemingly with the intention of going right through into my brain. Another blackout.

Before they started on the lower right, I'd reached a point of dark despair and confusion - I recall feeling utterly defeated at that stage, this was a torture I just not could feel able to put up with, and this was my universe at that time. I was eager to opt for death rather than this miserable existence, which by that point had lasted as long as I could remember. I now had no memory of who I was, nor any life prior to this. I was simply a man somewhere being tortured, mutilated. My entire existence had started there, being tortured. I asked them to kill me.

They ignored me. I asked again - earnestly, begging - for them to please kill me, I'd had enough. They'd taken a pause for some reason (possibly upping the Versed dosage), during which I thought they were considering whether to continue the torture - hope flashed before me - they may have decided they had sufficient information (or proved to themselves that I had none), and were not going to continue. To my horror. they settled down for another session.

The drill sounded much lower, and more dull, lower pitched than for the first tooth. I'd be willing to bet any money at all, that they'd done my lower left, my upper right, finally my lower right, in that precise order. And they'd been upping the dosage of Versed all the way through. My spirit was totally broken, I could not take this horror any longer. The dentist told me this was the last one, it would be over soon - he did not seem unkind, which puzzled me. By 'over', I presumed he meant dead. That was fine with me, and the sooner the better. I couldn't understand why they were continuing this mutilation since they were going to kill me anyway before long.

Although this last memory is more dark and grainy, it is nevertheless real. The work on the first tooth was - is - absolutely an unimpaired memory, bright and clear. I felt it, saw it, and can recall it right now in detail - even the faces of the individuals involved. I've told people about it in the years since - this isn't just something made up this week. But that is just a fraction of the memories that eventually came flooding back at once. This is not a story on which I've been working for ages, convincing myself of further details.

Memory started mostly functioning again while getting off the surgery chair and asking the dental assistant for my teeth. At that point, I was unaware of most of what had just happened. She seemed kind of weepy and dismissed the idea, referring me to another woman who said I shouldn't be concerned about them, they were "just bits" - she turned her back on me quickly - in retrospect, she seemed traumatised herself. Is there any record of these assistants talking about what they witnessed? The thing I remember most, though, is the surgeon himself - he was a confident, experienced, educated man, with whom I'd enjoyed some verbal jousting beforehand. He'd always had plenty of time for me, before the procedure and during follow-up. But at that moment he looked ashamed.

Refusing their urging to get a taxi (on account of wasted money - I only lived a couple of miles away) - I walked home. It was a strange journey, of which I recall only fragments. I spat a lot of blood into the gutter on the way.


The only reason I'd agreed to the IV was upon the insistence of the entire staff. My first wisdom tooth extraction a couple of weeks earlier wasn't pleasant but - against their advice - I'd refused the IV for that one (upper right) because it would cost more money. $250 to save an hour's discomfort? No way! I'll tough it out with a local. It wasn't nice - by any stretch - but I have no complaint about that. It seems that I complied with my own torture when having the other three out under Versed, and there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it. The only respites in the entire session were those periods where I blacked out from the agony.

This is just my guess, but my experience may be typical - the difference being that I recall a lot of it. Versed doesn't dull the pain, it just makes one compliant and helpless, and most importantly amnesic."


  1. Anyone who feels they might like to share something else, or wants more information, please feel free to contact me.

  2. Anyone who feels they might like to share something else, or wants more information, please feel free to contact me.