Friday, January 26, 2007


It's been a while.

I've been pondering fear a lot lately, because I had to go to the dentist. I am terrified of the dentist. As in, I start shaking and crying at the thought of making an appointment.

But, you know, pain can sometimes outweigh fear and you do what needs to be done. Or, well, let's be honest: you have a husband who hates to see his wife in pain who sneaks and makes an appointment for you.

So, I went and I cried in the dentist's chair and felt like a complete moron. This dentist is very kind and wants to help me to be less afraid so that I can get the work done that I desperately need. And, for the amount of money that all this work is going to cost, he'd be stupid not to try. We will probably pay for his summer home.

I am a strong woman in so many other ways that it is an endless source of embarrassment to me that I can't think about going into a dental office without a full on panic attack. I have bad experiences that certainly justify some fear, but I'm also intelligent and should be able to reason with myself that bad experiences in the past don't guarantee bad ones in the future. But, it's a visceral response that I have little control over.

So, I went again and had a tooth extracted. They doped me up with Valium and Sonata and since I don't ever use mind altering substances, you'd have thought I'd have been pretty mellow. But, it just relaxed me enough to allow me to white knuckle my way through it. There were complications (because, with me, there are always complications) but I got out of there with a small amount of panic and pain. Went home and a few days later had a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was put on. Nice. It seems I am not going to catch a break with this thing, dang it.
So, I guess what I am saying is that I am learning that no matter how many other things you stood up to in your life, there will still be things that scare you. I can pull my "birthed 7 children" card out and my dentist fear just laughes at me. I have gone through things that seem far more difficult than having my teeth drilled.
But, that is the nature of fear, I think. It doesn't have to be the worst thing, the hardest thing, the most painful just has to be the thing you are afraid of.


Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Boy, I hear that. I think where we get tripped up is by judging ourselves by our fears vs. not knowing others' weaknesses. Things that would frighten me to death, you could probably do easily, and vice versa. But I don't know that - all I see is your well-put-together self. That's a powerful whipping stick to use on yourself.

scrapnstamper said...

Oh boy! For the very reasons you describe, I haven't been to the dentist in probably 3 years. And I pray that I won't have any pain because that's the only thing that will drive me to that point. Rationally, we know we need to do it....but as you say, the fear has a life of its own!

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I don't fear the dentist, but I've never had a tooth extracted either. It does not sound too fun.

My boss in college made me read a book called "Feel the Fear and do it anyway." Seems like a good mantra to me.

txmommy said...

hmm, I hate to go to the dentist too but it's not that bad. Luckily. I just made appointments for our family and I "volunteered" for the last spot (mostly as an avoidance technique)