Or fear of the dentist if you prefer. I have had a long, long, long road of dental work and the road just keeps going. Eventually, I know an end will be in sight, but that is a far distant future. The reason I have so much to do is a great perfect blend of things. For one, I grew up in poverty so my parents couldn’t afford dental care, as I got older I never got dental insurance offered in any of the menial jobs I was working. When I finally was offered it, I had this crushing, soul shattering fear of going. This was based on the only memory I have of going to the dentist as a kid, and lets just say it isn’t pleasant, also gives me quite the fear of being put under but that is another nightmare. It also stemmed from the few emergency visits I have had in the past, when the tooth pain was worse than child birth. Each emergency visit was met with ridicule, one dentist even said: “I can’t work on this. It is beyond my help.” With as much scorn as you can imagine. I left still in pain from an abbess tooth,crying, embarrassed and out over 200 for the visit. I found other ways of dealing with the pain, (Clove oil! It is amazing), and would only go to one if it was unbearable. At that point, usually the tooth was beyond saving, so I have lost a lot of teeth as a direct result of my fear of going.
Finally a few years ago I said, enough is enough. I called a dentist recommended to me by a co-worker. The courage that I had to muster to even make that phone call was crazy. It took me all day and a lot of played out conversations. I finally made it though, and went to my first real dentist appointment. I left crying. Not from embarrassment, but because this lady didn’t laugh at me! This lady said, lets get to work. This lady had no meanness, no disdain, no laughter in her eyes. The entire staff was so pleasant, so friendly and nice that I just about kissed them all through my numbed mouth to thank them.
The other day I was lying back in the chair, thinking of how far I have come in two years, and I thought of other people who might be afraid of the dentist. Other people who might need to take anxiety medication just to think of making that first phone call. If I can set one persons mind at easy about any of the medical procedures I have had done to me, than it will be worth sharing my embarrassing stories.
So look for my next few posts to contain a what to expect when you go to: the dentist, the dermatologist, to get an MRI, routine physical, routine Children’s physicals. And anything else I can think of that might be frightening to people, but maybe once you know someone else has done it, and lived to joke bout it, it won’t be so bad. The worst thing is not taking care of yourself…problems tend to escalate if they are left on their own. So it is best to just take care of the early. Trust me, master procrastinator here.