Longevity is powered by Vocal creators. You support Mary Benson by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Longevity is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less


This was about an experience I had, and how I had felt during it.

Every six months, my grandmother and I make an appointment to go to Pontiac for a dental visit. Everything is usually routine, from the car ride, to what happens in the dentist chair. Three quarters of this 30-minute drive is usually spent talking to my grandmother, the other quarter is spent internally panicking at the thought of the dentist.

Toward the end of fall in 2014 a different procedure needed to be done. I was highly nervous and spent most of the car ride in silence. I needed the last two wisdom teeth pulled. The teeth had grown in at separate rates, so they needed to be pulled a year apart. As an extra bonus, my normal dentist was doing this rather than sending me to a specialist, as he was qualified to take the teeth out himself.

In November, my grandma and I made this trip. Once there I remember having to sign a waiver for the first time in my life; having just reached the age of 18, there were things I now had to do that I didn’t before. After a few questions from the nurse about using the numbing gas and a quick quip from me about being afraid of needles, I settled down into the all too familiar dentist chair.

By now I was very used to that chair, so I wasn’t nervous per se. I was more concerned for the impending needle that would deliver the crucial numbing agent needed for pulling teeth (I discovered later that I also have a phobia of blood). As the nurse put the bulbous nose mask on my face, I felt the rush of gas. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a nightmare I would not soon forget.

After making sure I was in a good resting position, I settled my gaze on the TV in the room. It was playing a news station, Fox to be exact. My memory already is fuzzy, at least the memory of what exactly was playing or being spoken about at the time. I remember at this point thinking the gas was stronger than normal, but I dismissed it assuming the nurse had increased the dose because I normally used gas for all major dental work requiring use of a needle. Only afterward I was told it should have been a red flag for what happened next.

Not long after this, I remember starting to really feel the numbing. I could barely lift up my arms. I figured this was normal because of the higher dosage so I tried to dismiss it. I let my mind wander, hoping that it was just nerves. After about two or three minutes I became so engrossed in a daydream I completely lost track of time. It was then I realized something was terribly wrong. I spent another two or three minutes racking my brain for information, where I was, what I was doing; I couldn’t remember who I was. I confused myself with my book character. That memory was very clear, though it was closer to an emotional charge. I remember vividly the initial fear and panic, I didn’t realize at the time I was unresponsive in the chair. I can only assume a nurse came in to check on me and ask me a question, only to have me be blankly staring into space. It was at this point I remember quite vividly the TV picture being frozen and no longer moving. In fact, the whole room was at a standstill. All sounds had ceased except one that filled my ears to an intolerable level. It was defining, a ringing in my ears I have never heard before, nor want to ever hear again. I remember clearly thinking I was going to die. This filled me with dread as I fought to keep myself from becoming any worse. I feared the room finally going dark and I would not ever be able to see my family again. My own grandmother, who I later found out was not made aware at the time of the incident, would have been inconsolable. I was the grandchild she and her husband raised like their own daughter; to lose me I think would have utterly devastated them. At least, I like to think of it like that. Though soon enough I could feel myself taking in sharp breaths and moving my arms. I felt hands trying to hold me down as I fought to sit up. I still couldn’t see anything. I was not thinking. I only wanted to sit up because I was scared and did not want to be trapped in that chair any longer. Once my vision started to clear, I realized I was trembling. The room felt cold like the temperature had dropped drastically. It was then that I realized the severity of what happened and how grateful I was to be alive to be able to write about it now.