Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Was it really so bad? Yes, I remember it well.

Perhaps your childhood was much different than mine.

Maybe you loved going to see the pediatrician. You couldn't wait to breathe in those noxious fumes of rubbing alcohol, iodine and fear. Perhaps his nurse didn't lurk behind a half-closed door, feebly attempting to conceal a syringe filled with this year's vaccination. He probably didn't peer over his glasses and tell you the perils of a life spent in a wheelchair--where you were destined to be if you refused your polio vaccine. Again.
I'll bet you even loved your dentist. A deceptively handsome man who enjoyed torturing you with painful shots that presumably made the ensuing procedures only slightly less excruciating. You probably didn't attempt to grip his strong forearms with your comparatively weak, child sized-hands as he drilled into the lower half of your jaw, where nerves danced with blinding intensity.

Nope, you probably don't even mind going to the doctor as an adult. Or try to convince her that you don't need the tetanus shot she wants to give you after your foot needs stitches. Even though she admits to not ONCE seeing a case of lock jaw, she's determined you need the shot. You probably didn't mind in the first place.

And so, when you've run out of excuses for not seeing the dentist (yes, you do have insurance now--have for years), and finally make the call, I doubt you'd cringe when they have an appointment available in the same week, which leaves not enough time to stall or formulate an upcoming hair emergency that would take precedence.

Before you leave home, you wouldn't search the cabinet for something to self-medicate with--take the edge off but then decide to forgo the potential risk of increased blood flow or heightened sensations. It wouldn't matter that the kind woman you first met took your X-rays with gentle patience, seated you in a comfy chair and even gave you a blanket to cover your shaking legs. (She wouldn't mistake your nerves for low body temperature.) Nor would your blood pressure reading betray you and fall into the "not too bad" category while your heart raced to keep you conscious.

And when the dentist approached, not with dark glasses or menacing furry brows, you might not even have noticed her calm demeanor or care that she said your teeth look great, given the amount of time that has lapsed since you've seen a dental professional. Finally, after a friendly hygienist scraped away your daily tea habit, polished your pearlies and sent you on your way, you might not have even taken the shiny white bag they offered with a new toothbrush and sample sized toothpaste tucked inside.

But I'm not you. Someone not afraid of the dentist. Or the doctor. I took the white bag.

1 comment:

Kim Bullock said...

I didn't used to mind going to the doctor until she freaked out a bit over the pace my heart normally goes and sent me to a cardiologist - at 35. Now I know this condition won't hurt me, thanks to the cardiologist, but it doesn't prevent me from being freaked out at the idea of freaking out the nurses and regular doctor again. I mind the dentist because they check my pulse before they clean my teeth. I now look for excuses not to see any medical professional.