Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maude VS The Dentist

I don't think I've yet mentioned that I am sort of like the Hulk of menopausal women.  When I get angry, something happens to my body.  I don't turn green and get all creepy giant sized, but I do turn all red and flushed like a tween girl gushing over that Harry kid from One Direction.  As soon as I start to get upset I can tell the fire is stoked and ready and all it takes is a little more oxygen and then......Maude Angry....

I also tend to hot flash when I'm nervous, scared, curious, walking, talking, breathing, etc.  Imagine the hot mess I was as I prepared to go to The Dentist for a filling repair.....you could fry an egg on me, jussayin'.

Without going into too much detail, I had several really bad experiences in the dentist chair as a child.  I don't want to risk a good therapy session so that's all I'm gonna say about that, needless to say I've carried a little anxiety with me over the past 40 years.

I've done a good job, for the most part, of avoiding having a lot of dental work done.  I floss (OK, not EVERY night, but once every other month, that's regularly right?!), brush twice a day for two minutes at a time and I avoid eating & drinking crap that eats away my enamel.

I've worked hard to minimize time in the dentist chair, but as we've discussed in the past, time (and aging) is not our friend.  It's given me bifocals, the ability to pee when I sneeze and a lot of gray hair.  Time has also wreaked havoc on the dental work of my youth.

I knew this to be true, and did ALL I COULD to avoid going, but eventually I had to cave.  Mostly because the Hubs made a dentist appointment for me and made me go.  So of course I knew there would be work needed.  And I was right.  I did get my teeth all cleaned up & sparkly the last time I was in there, and we set a date to get one of my old fillings repaired.

I deftly avoided my original appointment a few weeks ago, and when I called to cancel, the receptionist swiftly and kindly rescheduled me before I had a chance to hang up.

God bless them, they email you and text you to remind you of your appointment.  But alas, that's not enough to make sure I won't avoid going anyway.  I conveniently "forgot" about the appointment (what I mean is the trauma of my childhood allowed me to block the appointment from my memory) but my husband was quick to remind me.  Gee, thanks.

I arrive at the dentist, having completely forgotten to self medicate with Valium.  Damn.  But, I did drive myself, so there's that....

The dentist is a good friend of a good friend of mine, so there was of course lots of small talk (well, OK, I just kept asking her LOTS of questions hoping we'd run out of time to do the actual dental stuff) and she is soooooo nice that she humored me for a bit.

THEN she showed me photos of my teeth.  She is very smart and was pointing out all kinds of things, and all I could focus on is the fact that the blown up photo of my face made me look like Burt Reynolds rocking the 'stache back in the day. 

NOTE TO SELF: Bleach that damn mustache BEFORE you go to the dentist next time.  So, yeah, I'm not sure what she was trying to tell me.

Then it was time to numb my face.  She asked if I needed anything before they got started.  I said Tequila, and I don't think they knew I was really freaking serious.  About the time she was getting ready to give me the shot I totally lost my shit.  TOTALLY.

I kept saying, through embarrassing sobs (really Maude, get a hold of yourself for Pete's sake) "I'm a grown ass woman, why the hell am I crying about this?"  Allegedly (at least according to what they were saying to make me feel better) is dental anxiety is normal.  I wouldn't classify my level of anxiety about the dentist as normal, but at least the sentiment is common.

My anxiety reaches the totally bat shit crazy level of anxiety, just one level below being commit-able.

I think it was all of about five minutes to talk me off the ledge, they offered me "happy gas" which I refused, because as I pointed out I'm a grown ass woman, what the hell is wrong with me?  I'd rather gut it out and cry like a two year old who has their favorite toy taken away, than just take the damn happy gas.

I figured I'd run 6.5 miles in the morning, I could suck it up as this couldn't hurt any worse.  Oh my gosh I seriously did everything but start sucking my damn thumb to calm myself down.  I literally said "hold on, let me go to my happy place."

But finally, I relented.  It was sunny outside and I could tell that she wasn't gonna let me leave without fixing that filling.

And, in all honesty, it wasn't that bad.  Like anything in life that we fear, childbirth, going to work, once you get there it's not always as bad as you thought it might be. 

My dentist is really good at putting in the numbing stuff, I hardly even felt a thing.  Which isn't to say that I'm not going to totally freak out again the next time, as I mentioned I've probably got a good month's worth of shrink visits to attend to before I'm ever comfortable in the dentist chair again.

But I did learn a few things about myself in the process:
1. My face is hairy and maybe I should look into laser hair removal

Yeah, just learned the one thing.

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