Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September 9, 2008

Yesterday was sort of traumatic.

I am extremely squeamish when it comes to the dentist, needles, and (apparently) the prospect of surgery. I frequently feel dizzy and anxious when it comes to these topics. My dentist even has to prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine for me when I have a cleaning.

On to the trauma . . .

Yesterday I had a “consultation” with an oral surgeon to talk about having my wisdom teeth removed. I am very nervous about the prospect of surgery, as I have never had to have anesthesia, and am, in general, skittish about the idea. I knew this going in to the office, and explained as much to the hygienist and the doctor. I did not realize how anxious I actually was until later.

The hygienist gave me some information to read about the surgery while I waited for my doctor to come speak with me. I started feeling a little queasy right around this point. The room felt a little warm, my mouth was dry, and I wanted a can of Coke so badly I could taste the carbonation. I stopped reading, turned the paper face down, and tried to think of something else. Of course, I couldn’t, because I’m in a dentist chair, looking at pictures of teeth on the wall.

Still, I persevered! When the dentist/oral surgeon spoke with me about the surgery, I tried my best to remain calm. Even when he explained how they would give me an IV, and how I would probably be “in & out” and could possibly wake up during the surgery, I truly tried my best to focus and look him in the eyes. I fought my dizziness and ignored the fact that he seemed to be just a little out of focus.

Next, the hygienist came back in to take me for a panoramic x-ray of my teeth. Still dizzy, but extremely glad to be out of that tiny room full of instruments, I followed her down the hall to the x-ray room. For a panoramic x-ray, you stand up and bite down on a little piece of plastic while the machine actually circles your head. I have had this done before, with absolutely no problem whatsoever.

So I bit down and she started this machine. All of a sudden, my dizziness was back full force. I remember thinking to myself, “OK, almost done, then I can sit down. Almost over. Hang on.”

Next thing I know, I’m waking up, and I feel carpet beneath my hands. Huh, I don’t remember lying down on the floor. My first thought was, “What the hell?” Actually, those were my first words, too. Obviously my internal brain-to-mouth censor needs a reboot period after I faint. Yep, I fainted. This is a historic first for me. I’ve come close before, but have never actually fallen and hit the ground.

This is a good time to point out that the hygienist helping me was about 5 feet tall and all of 115 pounds soaking wet. How she managed to catch me, I have no idea. After telling me what happened, she says, “Good thing you weren’t 6’3” and 185 pounds, or we would have both gone down!” She’s super cheerful too, as if it’s totally ok that I just blacked out during an x-ray.

She slowly sits me up, and asks how I feel. My answer?

“Uh, kind of stupid.”

Still waiting on that censor.

Truly, I felt a little better after “the incident,” as I plan to call it. I was embarrassed, but apparently, this is a weekly occurrence at the oral surgeon’s office. That’s right, once a week, someone faints/blacks out at this office. FYI to the hygienist, this information does nothing to make me feel better about my situation. Neither did the dentist telling me, “It’s just all in your head.”

Really? I wasn’t aware. So all this time I’ve just been playing some mind game with myself? Funny, the physical signs of dizziness, sweating, and, uh, FAINTING say otherwise. Yes, I realize that the anxiety is based on a mental perception of the dentist, but don’t you think I would stop it if I could? I tried not to think about the needles, and the anesthesia, and the surgery, but I failed. Miserably, apparently.

Long story short, I was totally embarrassed.

But my surgeon prescribed some really good meds for next month, when I actually have the surgery.

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