Thursday, March 6, 2008

Shhh It's a Secret

Ok, I'm gonna share something with ya'll, and it's probably going to tear my tough-girl rep all to hell. I have very few true fears, I don't like a lot of things, but I'm not honestly afraid of much.

I don't like snakes and I kill poisonous ones if they're somewhere that they'll pose a danger to me or my critters, but I'm not afraid of them.

I don't like crawling into small spaces, and if I can get out of it, I will, but I'm not claustrophobic. And just for reference, a "small space" for me is something along the order of "no one else over the age of ten will even fit through the opening."

There are two things I've discovered that I am honestly afraid of. One is sudden drops straight down from a height. I discovered that one on the Big Drop on top of the Stratosphere hotel in Vegas. I really wanted to go on that ride, I thought it would be a blast... And then I rode it. The first drop I screamed... once I stopped screaming my body just wouldn't breathe again until my feet were on the ground. My mind was saying that I was fine, strapped into a nice solid seat, no way I was going anywhere, but some primitive part of me was saying "Aaaauuuugggghhhhhhhhh!"

So I don't ride those kinds of rides anymore, and I scratched bungee jumping off my things to try before I'm dead list. No big deal, really.

The other thing I'm afraid of? The dentist.

Let me clarify here. I'm not afraid of the needle, I could care less about needles. Watching my own blood being drawn makes me queasy but I'm the girl with a tattoo and a few piercings, needles themselves don't bother me. I'm not even afraid of the drill. Sure, it's not a pleasant sound, and the feeling in the jaw is just freaking wrong *shudder* but that's more of an intense dislike.

There isn't one aspect of dentistry that freaks me out. Taken one at a time, I could face each individual thing, no big deal. Except for one thing. See, I'm odd. Novocaine takes about twice as long to numb me as your average person. I've been that way for a while. Once it kicks in, it's just as effective, and maybe more so, but you have to have that patience in the beginning.

Not every dentist believes you when you tell them that you're not numb when they think you should be. Especially if you mark that nifty box that says "fear of dentist" on the paperwork. By the way, why don't they ask you what you're afraid of on those things?? Every dentist I've ever told "dude, being here scares me, so please be nice" has tried to sneak up on me with the needle. I don't have a problem with the needle, but I do have a problem with people sneaking up on me with sharp objects.

Anyway, I used to just hate the dentist because of the feeling in my jaw when they'd drill. It makes me want to puke, I'm sorry, it's just wrong. Then I broke a tooth and had to go to a dentist that I'd never been to before. He didn't believe me that I wasn't numb yet, and jabbed me with one of those little metal torture devices they like to call tools. I bit him.

He said ow, I said no shit.

So he gave me more Novocaine. But, when he started work, I wasn't completely numb, so it hurt, so my body ignored the fancy medicine and just kept telling me it hurt. Once you sit through a session of that, something in your brain starts saying "don't do that anymore."

I haven't been back to a dentist since then. Until now, that is.

See, I need some dental work. Considering that the incident above was when I was in high school, it's not surprising, but I've been putting it off. Farmmom and Mamaw found a dentist that they really like, and since Farmmom feels about the way I do about dentists I agreed to consider going to the guy. Last time we were there for Farmmom, he pulled me back into the room to take a quick look, and the instant my butt hit that weird lookin chair, I started shaking. When he asked me to open my mouth, I started to gray out. That's about the point where we figured out that I might be just a little bit worse than Farmmom on the dentist thing.

When I finally caved and agreed to schedule an appointment, I had to go to the bathroom, because I started dry heaving. Just from thinking about it.

Yeah, it's not pretty. But, this dentist being the nice guy he is, and understanding the chickens like me, agreed to call in a prescription for a mild sedative for me to take before my appointment. You know, so I wouldn't pass out, or puke on him, or anything like that.

The appointment is tomorrow. Since he's never seen me professionally before and putting the work off has caused it to become more than it would have been, I get to go in for a look-see and get the x-rays etc taken, and then go back for the actual work next week. I have in my possession five two mg tabs of Diazepam. Apparently, he wanted to have extra on hand if I needed it.

It feels really stupid to be afraid of the dentist to this degree, but no matter what the logical part of my brain says, the rest of it goes into full terror mode whenever the subject of me getting into that chair comes up. And when I'm actually in the chair, there is no logical part of my brain.

It's just freaking scary. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go pet my teddy bear for comfort... all this talking about it has me a little queasy....


jon spencer said...

Sedation dentist.
Thats all.
You wake up and it is done.

Anonymous said...

Best dentist visit ever? When he told me to get xrays elsewhere and let me off that chair. I'll go back this year... maybe.

GeorgeH said...

A Dentist always has other patients waiting or getting cleanings.
An audience, so .........
The second time one gets in a hurry after having been told you aren't numb, scream as long and loud as you can. Drive that cash business right out the door.

He may be immune to your discomfort, but he isn't immune to that.

Fyremandoug said...

I tell the dentist if he hurts me I knock the shit out of him......
No lie and they roll out the NOS for me

Anonymous said...

Ask for the happy gas. It has two good things about it:

It smells like peppermint.

You don't care if they have to remove the top of your skull to fill a cavity.


Castr8r said...

Been there; done that! I went for 10 years with no front teeth (old football injury- they just crumbled one day) and finally had a cavity complete with exposed nerve drove me to the ER at the local hospital. To date, I'm the only dental emergency they ever had. The secret when I finally HAD to go: gas! Laughing gas, nitrous oxide, the stuff hot rodders use! Like Anonymous said, you don't care if they take off the top of your skull to put in a filling. And, a GOOD dentist will discuss your fears with you and act/prepare accordingly. It sounds like you may have one of the good ones; if so, keep him! Good Luck!

Farmmom said...

The biggest problem is that there aren't that many dentists in our area that use NOS. If there had been one I would have been there like a shot.
This guy has the patience of a saint. He has to to deal with us. His whole staff is really supportive and if there is any problem at all it is fixed like NOW.
I will be there to hold her hand. It's only fair since she was there to hold mine!

Farmgirl said...

Besides that, someone has to be there to drive my goofy ass around... I'm not entirely sane after a dentist visit just on novocaine, let alone a sedative as well!

Anonymous said...

When you sit down in the chair, reach over, grab the dentist by the ba#@s and ask him: "We're not going to hurt each other, are we?"


TM said...

As you get older, you'll find a number of things change. Things that get to you.

I've seen 50 come and go and recently discovered I'm getting claustrophobic. I've had no accidents or been trapped in a closet, something just changed.

I used to have vertigo. I don't any more, not that I can stand on an edge of a cliff and not tense, but I don't have to belly-crawl to look over as I once did.

You live, you change.

Anonymous said...

I feel you. Hubby gets NOS every time he goes. It actually makes me mildly jealous because he almost enjoys it.

HollyB said...

I'm glad you found a dentist seems to understand your anxiety and be willing to help you deal with it.

My daughter is like you are. She got Valium before the Wisdom tooth extraction and I drove her to and home from the appointment. No cutting, just a regular extraction. But she's got this same fear you do.

Be sure to let us know how you do.

Anonymous said...

Jon Spencer is right. Sedation is indeed the key to subdue your fear of the dentist. Finding my sedation dentist (Raleigh-based) was the best thing that happened to me last year, because through him, several dental procedures got accomplished without troubles.

If you don't have that kind of dentist in your area, why not go to the next city or something? Someone will be driving you there anyway, so why not make use of your wheels. In fact, that's what I do. I go to Raleigh because of their sedation dentistry. Raleigh isn't that far from us, anyway.