Saturday, December 4, 2010
Like most people, I have a primal fear of dentists.
Or perhaps I should of say dental tools, and the bone achingly awful pain they inflict. But then, the dentists are the ones who wield the tools, so...
Yeah. Primal fear of dentists.
I had braces as a teenager to correct my two crooked vampire teeth (technical term). The braces worked for one of them. Looking back on the experience, I think I can safely say I'd rather exchange that year of metal mouth misery for my crooked tooth back. At least then I'd have a balanced set, and maybe my self-appointed nickname (DJ, for Dracula Junior. [And yes, I know it sucked. (bah-dum-cha!)]) would've stuck.
Still, for all the pain, I didn't really mind going to the dentist back then. Even when I had to have oral surgery to remove some wisdom teeth and "expose" a few back molars (translation: ouch), I found the whole experience rather thrilling.
I got to wear one of those ridiculous head strap things with pouches sewn in to hold ice packs, and my whole face swelled up like a chipmunk, and I just couldn't *wait* to go to church that weekend to show it all off. Heh.
In college, though, things took a darker turn: cavities. Ug. I have a very clear memory of laying back in the dentist chair, the sound of that awful drill grinding through my skull, sharp twangy pain radiating through my jaw, and tears dripping down my temples and into my ears. Wimpy? Yep, that's me. Plus it was my first medical procedure since I'd left home, so I was there by myself. No one waiting to greet me in the waiting room. No one to drive me home. No one to bring me Tylenol in bed, or even to remind me to take it.
Suddenly, the dentist represented everything awful about "growing up."
About two years ago I had to have a filling replaced. I stupidly didn't mention the health issues I'd been having to the doctor beforehand, figuring they wouldn't matter with such a simple procedure. [The 'idiot' threat level is currently at: RED] Yeeeah. The result of my stupidity? A bad reaction to the numbing shot in my gums. They had to tip my head down with my feet way high in the air to keep me conscious, and my whole body shook for about 25 minutes. My own fault, of course, but the experience did little to enamor me with the parlor of purple gloves and power tools.
Now, for the past three years - or since the harrowing ER visit that changed my life* - John has made it a point to accompany me to every doctor visit, no matter how routine. Every one. One time he almost didn't; it was just a simple OB-GYN check up, and I assured him I'd be fine - I wasn't even nervous. He came along anyway. That visit the doctor mixed up the paperwork: instead of a pap she conducted an endometrial biopsy on me, and with no warning. I don't want to go into the gory details, but suffice to say John vowed then and there he would never again even consider skipping one of my doctor appointments.
So, getting back to my main point:
Guess where I had to go last Thursday?
[Dum dum duummmm]
Now, when you're deathly afraid of dentists, it helps to
a) take a Xanax (I only use it in emergencies, but I think this qualified)
b) have an amazing dentist (Dr. Tran, you rock.)
c) be married to John.
Our dentist has a tiny little cubicle area where he works on patients. There's barely room for the patient chair and two stools: one for Dr. Tran, and one for his assistant. To fit in there with us, John would have to stand by my legs. To hold my clammy hands the entire time, he would have to either crouch or stoop over me at a back-murdering angle - to the point that the dentist might have to pause from time to time to see how *John* was doing. And to last like that for a solid hour and a half? Well, clearly, John would have to be just plain crazy.
Reason #204: John is just plain crazy.
I'll take hand-holding at the dentist over roses and jewelry any time. How about you guys? What's the sweetest thing a friend or loved one has ever done for you? Tell me your stories in the comments!
*No, you haven't missed anything; I've never talked about the ER thing here or on CW. I did mention it once in this old interview, though, if you're curious.
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