“Breathe in through your nose and out through your nose. Let me know when you start to feel it.”

Lying on the surgery bed feeling my nose getting numb and just wondering what to write about the next time I feel inspired.

“Feeling anything yet?”

“How will I know?”

“Your legs might get numb and some people say they feel like their body gets lighter, like their floating.”


I didn’t know what to expect but I definitely didn’t expect to feel so many things as the laughing gas made it’s way into my system. After about three minutes they asked me again.

“Feeling anything yet?”

“Yeah…my voice…sounds different…should I be laughing?…”

“No, some people laugh. But it effects people differently.”


“We’re gonna apply the numbing agent now and check to make sure it’s working by poking you, okay?”

“Yeah…but…I think my teeth are…reluctant…so it might take a lot…”

“Haha. Okay, open wide please.”

They numb both sides at the same time and I can tell their poking my gums but I don’t feel it.

“How’re you doing Gustavo?”

I slowly flash a thumbs up.

“How’s your left side feel?”


“Haha, okay good. I think we’re ready to start. Now you won’t feel pain but you’ll feel pressure. Think you can handle that?”

Another slowly formed thumbs up.


They start the pulling of my tooth on the right side and I feel the tugging happening but, as he said I didn’t mind it. I close my eyes, and I start to see the light over my head begin to spin. It’s a single color of white, then a mix of white and off-white. It’s spinning at a steady pace and all I can think of is how it feels like I’m looking up in the sky and spinning fast with my head tilted back. Lady Gaga is playing in the background on the radio and I know where I am but for twenty seconds to a minute…I’m nowhere.

All I hear is the chorus of the song playing on repeat while the light spins above me. As if it’s a stimulus room made specifically for me. I feel myself smile a bit.

Then the light fades into black and I don’t know why. I feel myself begin to panic as I think in that instant that maybe Heaven and Hell aren’t chosen for us to go to in the after life depending on what we did in life but rather, it’s a struggle between the two sides.

Maybe we have to choose which we best think we deserve to be in when we pass, which best suites the kind of person you are/were. The only one to judge you for all you have done, thought of doing or failed to do is yourself. Maybe that’s the reason we’re endowed with the ability to be our own worst critics from the start. Where we end up in the after life is our choice and life is just practice for us to learn to make the best choices for ourselves in how we live on in death. 

I have to choose where I want to be in death. And if this is my death, I will approach it as I’ve learned to approach my life. With honesty, integrity and awareness.


“Gustavo…Gustavo…can you hear me? Gustavo…?”

I raise yet another slow thumbs up, “…yeah…”

“I knocked him out…”

Just to be sure I don’t end up feeling that pull again I place both hands on my stomach and let my thumbs move with every breath I take. Okay, maybe that wasn’t death…but just to be sure…I’m gonna uncross my legs and cross them again every so often.


“You’re doing great Gustavo. We got the tooth out now we’re just gonna put in the cement for the bone graph.”

“You might feel some weird pressure.”

Then my phone went off. *Power Ranger theme song*

“What was that?”

I slowly point to my pocket.

“What ring tone was that?”

The dental assistant answered without missing a beat, “Power Rangers.”

My hand forms a bent thumbs up.


“You know what…I don’t think that’s enough. It’s a pretty big hole to fill.”

I want to blame the laughing gas but I’m pretty sure it was all me because all I could think was, That’s what she said… Then I let out a small, “Huh-huh.”

“What are you doing?”

“I don’t think it’s enough.”

“Yeah…I think we can fit a little more in there, give me all of it.”

That’s what she said… “Huh-huh.”


Then they moved onto the second tooth at the bottom of my left jaw.

“Okay, actually, I’m gonna have to drill a little bit okay. Let me know if you feel this.”


I grab the side of the table hard. “Ah…”

“You can feel that?”


“Okay, hold on…we might need to use something stronger. You ready? You might feel another little pinch.”


Shortly after that I was told to breathe in more of the laughing gas. This time, I felt my legs go numb and then I was in a state of…peace. Everything melted away except for things I consider to be the most important things in my life.

You know, I can see…I can understand people taking psychedelics and wanting to be in this state all the time but I just have too many things to focus on and do. There are far too many things to write.

In that moment however there were four things I consider to be the most important things in my life and they came to me in this order: Writing, my mom, Ivy and Isaac. And there was nothing else, just those things.

Again, I smiled…at least I felt like I did. Because I’ve never known such bliss…such awareness of truth.