Thursday, April 8, 2010

We All Have Our Reasons

I spent a good portion of my day at the endodontist. The first hour or so was awful. I was so nervous that I forgot to bring the X-rays and referral information from my regular dentist. They were very kind and assured me it was fine. I was trying not to act nervous, mind you. But I was shaky. Distracted.

I hate anything dentistry related. And no, it's not because I'm just a big hysterical wimp. At least, I don't see it that way. It's not so bad with my regular dentist. It's the new ones that freak me out.

What they don't get and I don't know how to explain is that I am not worried about the pain.
I'm not afraid of needles or the buzz of a drill. I don't mind blood and find the bits and pieces of the body and how they work together to be just about the most fascinating subject available. There seems to be an assumption that it's this white coat stuff that freaks people out. Maybe that's true for some. Maybe most. I don't know.

For me the problem is PTSD.

No, really.

The problem is that I can't explain what happened to my mouth to anyone without going into the most humiliating memories of my life and sharing details that make people wince and stutter and glance wide-eyed at their fellows in the room, searching for guidance on how to respond. Little things. Little details.

I know how I present. 30-something female with purple hair and a grocery list of meds for depression and anxiety and a few other things they're unfamiliar with. Missing five. Count 'em. Five teeth. Meth? Random drugs and poor hygiene?

Assumption. I can accept that judgement and just roll with it long enough to get work done or I can try to figure out a time to interrupt and say, I know how this looks, but it isn't... that.

When is the right time?

1 comment:

  1. So you didn't tell them? I think the right time is right off the bat. Since I have similar reactions with some doctors and things I try to remember the worst case scenarios they deal with from time to time. Our dental students here see people in a free clinic who have so much decay and gum swelling that they are thankful for what little their mask does to block the smell coming from their patient's mouth, and they usually have to pull all of the teeth.

    I think you feeling shame to share what caused it robs you of power. You didn't choose it to be your story and it isn't your fault. It is medical facts they need to complete the puzzle. The color of your hair or your medication list gives them no right to jump to conclusions. They are still professionals who have to stick to the facts.

    I love you and I'm so sorry you have to go through this kind of decision making.