I Hate The Dentist And Nitrous Oxide Does Crap

Whoever said nitrous oxide, laughing gas, is fun, a legal high and you don’t feel the pain is a big fat liar.  It doesn’t really help and if you are terrified of the dentist to begin with and he’s coming at you with that horrifying noisy drill, slowly breathing through your nose is the last thing on your mind. In fact, I tense up and I forget to breathe altogether.

English: Medical grade Nitrous Oxide tanks use...

English: Medical grade Nitrous Oxide tanks used in dentistry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate going to the dentist and needing a cavity filled was a traumatic event for me. Even a cleaning is horrible but last month’s filling was downright dreadful. Of course, I haven’t needed a cavity filled for at least thirty years and I am planning not to have one ever again. I am not vain, I swear I’d rather have dentures even though I don’t need them.

How could anyone be a dentist or married to a dentist. I know you can say the same thing about surgeons, even doctors but for a person with a phobia about dentistry, it seems stupefying.

I actually like the three dentists in the office, I really do. However, their office staff at the front desk are horrendous. One is an overly affected woman, from France or Greece who walks around with two sticks up her ass, never smiles and is downright rude. It’s hard not to take it personally until you have been there for a while and notice she’s nasty to everyone. Why do they keep her? No one knows. She is not, in the least bit, friendly (friendly is a gross exaggeration) she is not even polite. I happen to know they get a lot of complaints about her.

The second front desk person is like a little troll.  She’s the one who happened to do something illegal while I was there but I’m not telling. If she was friendly I could have let it go but she is as nasty as the other one except she has more of a street smart attitude. Gum-chewing, short, dyed hair, clicking her gum as if we were in junior high school, you have probably seen her in the background of the movie West Side Story;  and she seems ready to rumble. I have never seen her smile or be welcoming or polite to anyone there either. Broke the law, nbd.

The third receptionist who is barely tolerable is a guy who sits behind his computer scowling, doesn’t talk to anyone and pushes numbers into the computer, a data entry job which is fine. He doesn’t have to “welcome people with respect and compassion in HIS job description.” Maybe the other two women don’t either?

It’s like the inmates are running the asylum and I’m not quite sure I’m comfortable with that. The dentists are kind but are they incredibly clueless about how to manage an office? I dare say with this economy I’m sure there are thousands of men and women that would be not only competent to do this job but friendly and warm too.

There are two questions: 1) Should customer service/care be part of your decision-making process when hiring a doctor?

2) It’s 2014: Can’t they come up with ANYTHING to mask the sound of the dreaded drill? Headphones maybe?

Your thoughts?

 

Advertisements

Carry On Tuesday: When As A Child I Laughed And Wept

Little Girl Feet

Little Girl Feet (Photo credit: mtsofan)

As a child I laughed and wept, but nobody heard me. I lived in my own world of stuffed animals and dolls and they were my friends. Once, when I was about five years old, my mother, from another room, asked me who I was talking to, I replied ” my friend.” There was not another child in the house.

My mother said I “could always occupy myself” unlike my older sister who always had to be entertained. “Play with me” she would whine to our mother and so my mother would play with her. Was it out of default that I didn’t even try or was I really happy in my own little world? I can’t say for sure but I think it was a combination of both. I’d wager a guess that I was never big on competing,  sure I would fail. My confidence level was always low; a loving gift from my mother. I knew she never meant to give me low expectations but her fear and worry overwhelmed her and so she thought she was protecting me when in fact she was holding me back, making stress and anxiety my constant companions.

At night, every night, my father would sit at my bedside and I would ask him the same series of questions. Would anyone go to the hospital? Would there be a fire? Would the birds come? (We had bats once) Will the boys come (My sister once had rowdy boys come on Halloween, banging on the door relentlessly and I was terrified) and a few more I don’t remember anymore. It was a ritual, a scared girl, needing momentary comfort every night, while the orange light from the hall beamed.

When I was told that my mother had to go to the hospital for a hysterectomy I remember sobbing that night when I asked my father the questions. I told him that the answer to the hospital question would be “yes” and I was inconsolable. The order of the routine was changed, the answer to one of the danger questions was wrong and I was filled with fear and doubt.

I never wanted to try anything new, I was scared and I always made excuses to get out of doing new things, fear held me in it’s vise-like grip until I could only choke-out syllables of lies. It was a long time before I could be honest and the first time I was honest was with my sister, on the telephone and it was such a relief. She told me step by step what to do and how to get to her house by subway and I got there, for the first time in many years feeling brave. What gave me the strength to tell her then, with my mother on the other line, I have no idea. Maybe I was just sick of being sick and holding all my fear inside me.

Eventually, I became more and more honest with people, telling them my fears or my utter lack of sense of direction. I felt safer in the world by becoming stronger as a person. It was okay to have shortcomings because apparently everybody did; I wasn’t the only person that was weak, everyone was weak in some way, I just didn’t know it. Now, I consider myself a very strong person, realizing my strengths way before my weaknesses and yet having weaknesses made me sensitive to others and to how they feel. I can read someone’s feelings just by looking at their face, I can see what someone is feeling instinctively, whether they are ready to acknowledge it or not.

I get messages from the deceased, I have a sixth sense, I knew that when I was in third grade, learning it as I walked down a street in my home town. My parents always called me “over-sensitive” as if I were to blame for feeling hurt, the truth of the matter was yes, I was sensitive, but looking back, they were not.

Haiku Heights – Childhood

Port-42

Image via Wikipedia

I stood without words

fearful, like a mouse darting

Not yet knowing strength.

*********************

I proved them all wrong.

Mom said to the audience

I was too shy. No!!!

*******************

I lived the safe life

Protected, not encouraged

My own person now.

My First (False Start) Drive

Silhouette of a car

Image via Wikipedia

  • Driving And Me = Phobic
    I had just confidently and successfully passed my road test. I was proud, I was a teenager; I could now drive. My father had taken me to the road test and I was, like most teenagers, eager to show off my skills. I passed the dreaded road test easily and I left the test, positively beaming.
    My father, reluctantly, let me drive home. The first, ummm, stop was the slightest, gentlest, teeny, tiny bump of my car into the car ahead of me at a red light. NOTHING happened, but my father started to freak out, including getting out of the car and talking to the other driver. There were NO damages, not even a dent or a spot. I was way to young to say or even think “hey Dad, chill, that’s what bumpers are for” and if I had he would have swiftly slapped me across my face. He was already in a mood.
    I was determined to keep driving and off we went. I was driving splendidly, I thought, slowly and carefully. We arrived safely at the street where we rented a space in a garage. All of a sudden, my father freaked out, threw his left leg over to the brake pedal and slammed it down, hard. He also started yelling at me “you are too close to the car on the side,” “you are going to scratch it.” What? Huh? No car was on the road, except for parked cars and I was fine. However, I was so shocked, horrified and embarrassed (even though nothing had happened) that, after that, I shut down and stopped driving altogether.I totally blamed my father for my chronic fear of driving, my new phobia. I quit.
    I didn’t drive for 25 years when my boyfriend (now husband) insisted that I start driving again. He was a magnificent teacher, terrorizing me with the jingle-jangle of his car keys to signal to me that it was my turn to drive!
    He was patient and gentle, no screaming, no dramatics. I remember he used to say quietly “mantain your speed” but there were no close calls, not a fender-bender, nothing but his confidence in me. The first car-ride trip I made alone after that was picking up my parents from a hotel when they visited us in Boston. My parents were a little shocked to see me pull up, alone and I had to encourage their praise, but I drove home confidently. I was in charge NOW; my boyfriend believed in me and more importantly, I believed in myself. That was the beginning of my real driving adventure. P.S. I totally blame my dad for my initial humiliation/phobia and for not driving for twenty-five years. Just sayin……
  • Previous Answer Next Answer

It’s Time To Skip, Again

My 2 children spontaneously hold hands and joy...

Fear: I know your name and how you make me feel. My fingers are deep in the inner pocket of my blue fleece jacket rubbing my thumb and forefinger over the soft texture again and again. It is part of my life and everyone’s life at some point. It takes a long time to get over it but eventually you have to and you do. It is like a lazy turtle hiding in its thick green shell and only slowly, with caution, it sticks it’s leery head out and barely looks left and right. It retreats, yes, we all do but we do come out again. Maybe it’s a little easier the next time.

Life is like that, everyone can be terrified at some point and it took me years to accept that it wasn’t just me. I am still cautious, I still get those annoying, tight anxiety strings that pull and tug until they think they can wear me down. I try to push back but sometimes I fail and that is alright. There are solutions because we cannot handle everything ourselves. We need other people or we need medicine or we need to write down our fears or do a collage to rid ourselves of the scary lion, in our minds, attacking its innocent prey. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves to jump or to take a baby step or to skip like when we were innocent children. Remember the feeling of skipping down the street with your best friend? Pure joy and innocence and no fear whatsoever. Maybe we can still be that person once in a while.

It is alright to make mistakes and to make them all over again. Some lessons are hard to learn but not impossible. I know that I feel that too. Some people hide it better than others, some quake, some sweat, some can’t speak for a moment but eventually you find your OWN path. Don’t think it’s just you because it isn’t. I promise. Think of someone who you think has absolutely no fear and then think again. Everyone feels frightened some time in their life. There are some of us that wear our hearts on our sleeves, like me. You can notice my feelings on my face ten feet away, at least some people can; others, don’t notice a thing.

Sometimes I have to play a game. You can play it too. Plaster a great big fake smile on your face and pretend you are absolutely confident. Once my college teacher called it “the confidence game” and I needed it as much as anyone else. It takes time to master it but give it a chance. You might be happily surprised.

“What if I fail?” asks the nervous me. “What if I made a really big mistake?”  I wept to one of my son’s teachers when he was in first grade, “Stand in line, she said “do you think you’re the first one to make a mistake?”  To me it seemed colossal and I did fret with worry but it made me think. My son is now eighteen and I still think of her words, I can picture the teacher’s red hair and the tears on my face streaming down like a small but steady waterfall. When I finally stopped weeping and gave her a hug, I left feeling a tiny bit better. As years went by I always remembered that and now I give other people the same advice I was given. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone does.

If I had any failures in my life most of them were because I was “scared to try.”  I look back at my life and think it might have been really healthy to have been fired once or twice, or scolded and reprimanded instead of TRYING to be the perfect me. My one badge of pride is that I did not pass on my own fears to my children. For this, and this alone, I have succeeded in a spectacular way. I have also forgiven myself for the mistakes I have made, because the decisions I made at the time seemed right. Now, knowing more and being older if I try really hard, I can make different choices. Not always, but sometimes and that’s perfectly good enough.