Waking up without teeth.

dori mondon
7 min readSep 3, 2022

What it’s like to come out of anesthesia in a foreign country.

Most Common Dream in Every Country — a map image
Image: Mornings.co.uk

Dreaming into reality.

I don’t remember getting back to my apartment, a spacious, air-conditioned studio I rented in downtown Cancún, Mexico for $32/night, but I woke up in the center of my king-sized bed that next morning with a lot less teeth than I’d had the day before.

On my bedstand was a glass of water and some bottles and blisterpacks of pills —painkillers, antibiotics, diazepam, a conversation I vaguely remembered having. On the side of my bed at my feet was my purse. I reached into it for my phone and pulled out a bag of teeth.

If you look closely at the map above, the most common nightmare in almost any British Commonwealth or former Commonwealth colony is that of teeth falling out.

Ideas about what loss of teeth in dreams represents vary, but most interpretations (grain of salt taken) have something to do with loss of power, anxiousness, lack of self-esteem, aging… It’s also the most common nightmare in Spain, too, which leads me to think that this dream does indeed have something to do with loss of power, given that these two countries held massive imperial power at one time.

I am here to tell you, though, that the bigger nightmare is waking up to find out the dream is real.

I’d only been under anesthesia one time in my life; coming out of it wasn’t pleasant and was associated with a traumatic experience. It had been decades, but the experience was unpleasant, to put it lightly, and I was anxious about undergoing it again. I wasn’t sure what twilight sedation might be like, but if it were anything like anesthesia, I had some challenging times ahead, and I’d traveled to Mexico alone.

Thankfully, it wasn’t anything like my first experience at all. I was handed a Valium the second I walked in the door and then the anesthesiologist came and talked to me about the procedure. He was kind and gentle and, like everyone else in that office, beautiful, with an incredible smile and the whole experience put me at ease.

I was put under a deep level of twilight sedation, meaning that I wasn’t unconscious, but I slept through the procedure and had no memory of anything afterward. I was basically in a…

dori mondon

Compulsive storyteller. Typo fixer. Queerdo. Dog and kid mom. Digital DJ nerd. Ada Comstock scholar. I love coffee. A lot. https://ko-fi.com/djemme

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