Ten years of pain and fear and what for?
Well I went to the Dentist this morning fool of fear, panic and anxiety. I woke at about 4 am even though I had already taken two temazapam.
I didn't feel too bad but did take an Ativan before leaving the house and then before going into the surgery.
And before anyone makes a comment I am prescribed them and I do know how to take them!
The Dentist was just delightful she soothed my fears told me exactly what was going on and kept giving me little breaks all during the scaling, cleaning, poking, prodding and temporary fillings.
I need a couple of more appointments in the coming weeks to do some actual proper fillings and to continue on in the cleaning of my teeth.
Having smoked for for years up until about 3 years ago there was a thick hard layer of black / brown calculus in between and on many of my teeth.
In my head this was actually my teeth decaying - yes I had really convinced myself of this! And I was convinced that A) I was going to have to have at least two or three teeth removed and B) it was going to be a hell of a lot more stressful.
In reality I know that the boy was talking to the Dentist first and we are going to address one issue at a time, IE the Dental phobia, then the cleaning of the teeth and gums, then the decay and then lastly the long term issue of a chronic dry mouth which has been causing receding gums.
But I am just totally amazed at the change in my mouth from one visit.
For years I have been a bit wary of smiling because I imagine everyone was looking at my hideous teeth. My confidence has suffered and I did often wonder when people were looking at my face whether they were looking at my teeth.
At the end of the session she gave me a mirror and said do you want to see, at first I was like no, I didn't want to because I hated looking at my teeth.
But she told me to look, and I was and am flabbergasted.
I feel so much better!
I kept on telling her that this experience with the Dentist was just so amazingly different than what I went through before.
My dental phobia stemmed from years of abuse by my previous Dentist, and I really mean abuse.
You see my Dentist was my cousin and I have been seeing him as my Dentist from about 14 or so. I was not the best of patients to begin with I was overly anxious and I did not practice a good flossing or brushing routine. This meant I had more problems than most people anyway.
My cousin was and is still a rather homophobic guy, and by about the age of 15 - 16 it was pretty apparent to everyone that I was gay. When I came out it was made really apparent that he was very homophobic and there were many snide remarks and general nastiness aimed at me by that side of the family.
Through years of neglect by the time I was in my late teens and early twenties my dental problems surfaced, coupled with three rounds of the skin treatment Roaccutane for acne my mouth dried up and I ended up with various cavities.
Each time I would go to my cousin there was this air of he really would have preferred me not to have been there. I also had a very very low dental pain threshold and even though I would tell him time and time again that the anaesthetic was not enough nothing was done.
There was always the question whenever I did visit the Dentist of when my last HIV test was which was insulting to say the least. Not all gay men have HIV you know and there is a moral obligation to tell a Dentist if you were positive anyway.
Anyway I digress.
I think from his point of view he was doing me a favour by seeing me at all, but to me there was never any explanation, there was just exasperated conversations where I was told that my mouth was a mess. And muttering to nurses and a general feeling of being 'handled'.
In fact in my early twenties I ended up in hospital with an enlarged tonsil that blocked my air way almost killing me, the cause at it turned out was an abscess on a wisdom tooth from a cavity. The cavity would have been totally obvious from xrays which had been taken by him several months before. This I never shoudl have had to go through what I had gone through.
But in either his haste or whatever to get me out of the surgery it was never looked at properly.
By now my dental phobia was really just an anxiety but a few years later in my mid twenties it really went up a hundred notches and became a real phobia.
I got an cavity and then an abscess on one of my teeth and not only did it hurt like hell but it caused a massive nasty infection in my mouth and gum. I went to my cousin again and he was just vile and treated me like I had the black plague.
The treatment was spotty at best and I was just petrified, and since then no matter what went on in my mouth I tried my best to either grin and bear it or ignore it.
So for ten years the mere thought of the dentist has sent chills of terror and I do really mean terror down my spine.
The boy made an aside that I should sue my cousin for damages which in my mind is a total waste of energy. At the end of the day I think my cousin never wanted to treat me or anyone else who was gay, he has some real issues about that.
But because he was family he couldn't just tell me to find another Dentist, nor could he encourage me to actually go see a Dentist in general. So a bit of catch 22 really.
So today I did something which has terrified me, kept me awake at night and stopped me from doing things and has contributed in no small part to my general anxiety.
I am stoked, totally stoked!
Now there is only one more thing that I have been avoiding and that's driving....