Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Oh, The Pain
I went to the dentist this afternoon. It was supposed to be a "quick, 20 minute" procedure. A follow up from my regular cleaning 2 weeks ago. The dentist had found a small cavity. It was in a molar that had a very old filling- probably an original filling, over a decade old. A small cavity had formed where the filling had begun to deteriorate. Go in today, nervous. Stressed. I'm not so good at the dentist thing. 2 reasons. 1. My mom was a dentist. She was a single parent when I was young and she was going through dental school and raising me. This meant spending a lot of time around dental students and professors and labs and all things teeth related. 2. I was sexually abused as a child. How does #2 apply? I'll keep this brief because it isn't the point of my post and because it isn't an issue any longer. But I didn't go to a dentist for 10+ years. I was in therapy, dealing with the memories that were coming back from the abuse I had endured. Somewhere in that phase of my life (early college), I stopped going to the dentist. I eventually figured out that part of my fear of the dentist had to do with laying on my back, vulnerable, not able to really see what was going on around me. I was left in the dental chair feeling helpless, insecure, unsafe, unprotected. Once I figured that out, I was able to feel empowered and overcome that aspect of the fear. I eventually started back to the dentist. Again, 2 reasons. 1. It was time. Past time. 2. I had become friends with a dentist and his wife through community theatre and felt very comfortable with him. And I go for my twice-a-year check ups without fail. My daughter goes and I've even got Jeff going again. But back to my tooth. Tiny cavity. Old filling. 20 minutes. Riiiiiiiight. 20 minutes? Try 75. The cavity was far deeper than they had known. The dentist had to drill and drill and use this awful wiggly thing. There is concern that I will need a crown. This came "awfully close" to the nerve. Far more serious than he had imagined it would be. And since I am not the world's most relaxed patient in the dental chair, I tensed and squeezed and clenched so many muscle groups that I should get credit for the workout. Seriously. Now I pay the price. The Novocaine is wearing off. My shoulders, neck, and arms are sore. A headache is coming on strong. Time for some drugs. Funny thing is that this wasn't even my worst dentist visit ever. Not even close. But I am miserable right now. Misery loves company. So feel free to leave a miserable tale- be it of the dentist or anything else. Make me feel less alone in my miserableness.