Check out my other blog: Arugula Addict! I'll be writing about my journey to becoming a healthier person.

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Needles, Please!

I had a dental appointment today. I hate dental appointments. Of course I'm probably part of the general population who would rather spend an afternoon pulling stubborn weeds from parched earth in scorching 120-degree weather than sit in a chair with their mouth open wide as some stranger pokes and prods about inside. But unfortunately I was not presented with a choice, except the choice to have a filling or wait several months and pay 10x more for a crown once my tooth had rotted to the core. Needless to say, with my job going to half-time in 2 months, I opted for the cheaper filling.

I had already rescheduled once and knew I couldn't put it off any longer. When I reached the office, right on time, I was shown to the plastic blue automated lounge chair, a fuschia purple paper bib was clipped around my neck, and I sat and waited. And waited. And waited some more. They were a little backed-up that day. (Remind me not to make my next appointment on a Friday afternoon!)

I have a strange way of coping with dental appointments. I try to sleep as little as I can the night before so I will be really tired when I come. Then I can lie in that chair in a semi-comatose state and not be alert and aware of every single thing that's happening (and now she is scraping away at the root. . .). I had managed to get very little sleep all week long, so the 30 minutes I waited were a welcome time to almost doze as I listened to a dental assistant explain a rather complicated method of taking care of one's teeth to the patient next door.

Finally my dentist turned up. She is a very sweet Indian doctor who is always reassuring me. Being as petrified of anything to do with drills and crowns and fillings as I am, I rely on my added bonus of looking about 10 years younger than I really am, and try to look as scared as I can, so that everyone will have pity on me. At this office, everyone is very sympathetic, so while the procedures aren't pleasant, at least the people are.

The worst part about fillings and crowns is the numbing needle. I'm not exactly sure why it is necessary to do at least 2 injections (and often 3 or 4), but I suppose the dentist needs to numb all the necessary places. The second worst part is when they drill near a nerve. This was going to be a routine filling, though, so I didn't anticipate any painful drilling. Just that needle, though, was enough to make me nervous. I could handle the scraping, the drilling, the filling, and keeping my mouth open for 2 hours straight. What I couldn't handle was that needle.

First, my dentist poked around inside my mouth, probably to determine which tooth needed attention and to evaluate how she should proceed. Not only did she have a face mask over her mouth, she also had a plastic face guard (like the kind welders wear, only this one was see-through plastic), so when she mumbled something to me, I looked up hopefully and nodded in agreement. I had absolutely no idea what she had just said.

As she walked away, the thought suddenly hit me, "I think she said we won't need to do any numbing!" I was hesitantly excited but unsure whether I had interpreted her mumblings correctly. I didn't need to wait much longer to find out, for a minute or two later, she reappeared, I opened my mouth wide, the dental assistant sat on the other side of my head and held the suction tube in my mouth, and she began to drill away. No needles. No numbing. No pain.

In about 7 minutes the procedure was over. It was the most painless filling I had ever had.

Did your mother ever tell you, "Don't worry about it now, worry about it when it's over! It might not be half as bad as you think it will be."? Mine told me that, repeatedly, as I grew up. It was a lesson I needed to re-learn again today as the anticipation of the needle kept me from enjoying my day and being grateful that I have a dentist who works to save my teeth instead of wasting my money. Worry about unnecessary things kept me from being grateful that I have found a place to go where I feel comfortable and that I have the money to pay so that my teeth can be preserved as long as possible.

Isn't it neat to see how God works things out in our lives? I'm a firm believer that He works in even the little things and today was just one example of how He takes care of us and gives us little surprises, even when we forget to step back and recognize them. Unselfish love.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share a thought or two. . .