My experience yesterday at the dentist went far better than I'd ever imagined. Did it come without fear, tears and dread? No. I could hardly sleep the night before. I had such anxiety my chest felt like it was stepping on land minds every time my heart beat. The most relief I felt was while blogging and posting pictures of Opie Wan Kenobi. ~~~ OK, that, and yucking myself up at how corny I am. Pitiful isn't it when you laugh like a loon at your own goofiness. But laughing is what helps me most of all to put things in perspective.~~~
I also read an article when researching one of the meds, Triazolam, I was to take the next morning just prior to my visit to dental land, that made me cry, and feel a huge sense of relief at the same time. One of the hardest things to understand about PTSD is that it affects you in ways you don't always connect the dots to with certain behaviors.
I could NOT figure out why WhY? why? why??? why? wHy why.... I was having such a hard time facing going to the dentist. It seemed magnified in my mind, and heart. I felt like a baby, an idiot, unable to control the flooding my mind had with thoughts of doom, and overwhelmed by a sincere wish to runaway, isolate, hide in the tree house forever more--broken toof and all.
Here's an excerpt from the article I read that helped me (below) and a great link to check out if you have dental phobias like me . The medication I used was Triazolam. Sedation Dental Care
Dental phobia is a severe fear of the dentist that over time causes loss of teeth because of the patients inability to go to the dentist and receive regular care. The heart of the matter is that dental phobia can rob patients of their self esteem as they become embarrassed about the appearance of their teeth and withdraw from friends, coworkers and loved ones.
Why do people hate and fear the dentist ? Fear of the dentist is most commonly something that patients learn from traumatic personal dental experiences. If these experiences occur as a child and are accompanied by a real sense of panic, the resulting reaction to the dentist may become deep seated, visceral and life-long. Such patients don't feel safe in the dental chair. Patients recall of their traumatic childhood experiences often includes being held down against their will, being yelled at, pain and terror. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that people, who suffer abuse as children, may have life-long alterations in their response to stress. If a patient suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, the dental office may be just one of many situations where such patients feel unsafe. Patients who suffer from panic attacks associated with dental care will do anything not to have that awful feeling again. Sedation, which can block the panic response, can be particularly helpful for dental patients with anxiety attacks.
Superman picked me up yesterday morning and had to talk me out of taking the Triazolam close to 23 times earlier than I was supposed to during the car ride to the dentist. I secretly wanted him to carry me into the dental office & plop my drugged, limp body into the dental chair. Being in control is something I fight to have all the time now since the accident. I hate not feeling in control. But the thought of having a drug to help me numb my fears was appealing. I doubt I'll have to go to a rehab any time soon but for this case I was ready to be medicated. I waited until the time I was told to take the med which meant I had to walk into the office on my own two legs, wobbly knees, and all.
It's probably a tell-tale sign you are the patient when the receptionist greets you with, "Ohhhhh, good morning. YOU must be the one with the appointment. Oh my, you look scared. It will be OK. Hi, I'm....." As she introduces herself to me, she shakes my hand, and looks like she wants to hug every little fear right out of me.
I started bawling right then and there, YES I did.... and the tears flowed like a leak in a garden hose for the next 25-30 minutes....until the nitrous and the happy pill, Triazolam, started working. The staff stood by me with compassion, never rushed me into anything, handed me tissues to dab my sprinklers gone wild, and allowed Superman to stay with me the entire time. He never took his hand off my foot or leg. Not once the entire time.
It took almost 3 hours to clean my toofs, repair my broken molar, remove 3 old fillings of bad, bad, bad silver, and refill, and shape my new toof. I fell asleep a couple of times with the good Dr. Caring-Kind-Gentle Doggie Houser at my side, and staff, calmly working away....stopping anytime I looked the least bit ready to claw my way out of the chair, and telling me what an awesome patient I was.... (ohhhhhh, flattery and excellent meds will get you anywhere with me... I am such a compliment ho....)
I have never EVER EvEr EVerrrrr had such a pleasant trip to the dentist.
For all of you who expressed the same anxiety that robbed my sleep, and peace of mind, about going to a dentist.... do yourselves a HUGE favor. Find one who uses oral sedation, and go.
Your smile is worth it....
I am learning daily about me and this "Dis-Ease" called PTSD. I'm learning to conquer, cope with it, and am discovering its covert ways. And everyday I uncover a little more about the Whys.... Each time I do, I stop beating myself up for not having control over every single minute of my life. Letting go is growth. Allowing myself to feel is healing. Tears are cleansing. And fears can become little pip-squeaks when you face them....
Sharing the journey with you is the BEST medicine. Thank you for reading.