Friday, June 13, 2008

Dental Phobia

I cannot ever remember NOT being afraid to go to the dentist. When I was a kid I used to hope we would have a wreck on our way so I wouldn’t have to go.

My dentist growing up was so mean. The room he did the work in was tiny and had one door leading to the lobby and another door leading to the back area. He would walk in and close both doors and I can remember my stomach feel like it was shrinking.

He always hurt me. Every filling, everything he did hurt. Now keep in mind growing up I was not allowed to cry at home. There was (still is) something about crying that would set my mother off. She would get very angry and yell and scream and tell me how big a baby I was for crying “about every little thing”, whether it be a bee sting or a boyfriend lost. I learned very young not to cry.

At this dentist, who I will refer to as Dr. Satan, if I cried he would hold his hand over my mouth and pinch my nose closed and tell me that when I stopped crying he would let me breathe again. Now when I say I was crying, what I mean is that little snuff snuff you get when you’re crying and trying not to. I never cried in such a way that I couldn’t hold my mouth open for him, nor did I make any noises other than the snuff snuff, still he would hold my breath every time.

Once, after my mother and I got back in the car, I told my mother what he did. Her response was, “You better be glad I didn’t know you were back there showing your ass or I would have come back there and whipped you”. I never mentioned it again.

From a child onward, until about 3 years ago, I would get diarrhea and be sick on my stomach weeks in advance of a dental appointment. About three years ago I began getting nitrous when they have work to do. That in addition to the kind understanding dentist I go to, has helped me tremendously.

I had to go this week to get prep work done for a crown. When they walked me back from the lobby, I could tell they were rushed. The dentist came and got me himself rather than the assistant who usually done that. He sat me down and immediately began giving me injections. They had ALWAYS started the gas before the injections, but he didn’t even mention the gas this time. It is written on the outside of my file that I use nitrous, but they never mentioned it, and I felt since they were rushing they must be behind and I didn’t want to inconvenience them.

I will never do that again! I am usually not a pussy when it comes to pain or much of anything really. I am not a scaredy-cat by nature. I am a former cop. When I would go after work I would lie there in my uniform complete with a S&W 40 on my hip and tears would fall down my face. It is something I cannot control. The nitrous however made it tolerable without tears.

This visit was horrible. I laid there for over 2 hours, shaking so hard the chair and tray and everything else shook too. When they were doing the molds, the assistant pressing them in place was shaking from my body shaking. I felt panic coming up in my throat several times and felt I would suffocate. Somewhere inside me I went back to my Lamaze from 26 years ago. It took a great deal of effort (and that is a huge understatement) but I didn’t make them let me up like my brain and body was screaming at me to do.

I have paid for that little bravo since Tuesday. My stomach has been torn up, I have had a headache off and on this entire time, and my back has throbbed. (The back pain is from lying in the uncomfortable and awkward position for so long.. I have 24-7 back pain from two blown discs, but it is manageable – this has been close to not being.)

I will ask for my gas from now on. That is the last time I will allow myself to suffer because I think the fact that they are running behind is more important than my comfort. Hell, I pay extra to receive nitrous that my insurance won’t touch. They say it is “unnecessary”. I know the lady has to sit right there with me the entire time I am receiving it whereas if I am not she can flitter between rooms and get more work done. Tough shit – I’m paying for it. If it is a problem they should not offer it.

I am also making it a point to not listen to the voices that continue to remind me what a big cry baby I am.

Fuck you very much Dr. Satan.


Disillusioned said...

Big, big, big hugs.
And tons of understanding.

I too am phobic about the dentist. I use sleeping tablets to get through treatment. I take the tablets that knock me out for the night before I go and see my (very understanding, very gentle) dentist.
So I really understand your bravery here, and I wish I could sit beside you and tell you how brave I think you were.

Be gentle with yoruself as you get through this.

Dreaming again said...

I had my wisdom teeth removed, because of health issues, they could not sedate.

So they used nitrous oxide.

I had a paradoxical reaction to it. It CAUSED panic attack like non I'd never had. I had a reaction much like you described. Thankfully, I had a great oral surgeon, a bit baffled, because the nitreous oxide should not have done that, but he figured out very early that it was a paradoxical reaction.

He got one tooth done and offered to do the rest at another time. OH NO! I'm not going through this again! GET IT DONE!!!

(had no realization that I'd have been better off coming back the next day to do it without gas)

they brought my husband in to calm me when they were done and husband about decked him because I never cry. Poor doc.

Raine said...

Dang what those people did to you was pretty much child abuse - I'm sorry they did that too you