Day 102: Alone at the dentist

So… I’m terrified of dentists. Yes, I said it… I’m 30-something years old and terrified of the dentist. Originally our appointments were booked to be together about 12 weeks ago, but with his passing and not being mentally capable to go for that appointment time, it was moved to now. How I hoped I would be with Mark, instead of here to see the day when the appointment would occur.

The air conditioning is making a noise, the receptionist is on the phone, there are 4…5…7 other people waiting for appointments …and I’m just trying to hold myself together without breaking into tears. By the feel of my face, I don’t think I’m doing a very good job. I’m sure that I’ll start to uncontrollably wail any second.

The hygienist calls me next… I’m not ready. (But let’s face it, I never will be…) As we walk, my face gets hotter and I know I’m not going to make it. By the time we reach the chair, I’m already quietly crying. “Is there anything or any medical conditions, that would stand in the way of dental treatment?” “Anxiety” is all I can respond. (…which is true, but only the tip of the iceberg.) Mark was supposed to be here, we were supposed to go together, he was going to hold my hand.

X-rays, then waiting, waiting… The lady in the next cube is talking about her sister’s diagnosis of leukaemia and subsequent treatment… Oh my god, I’m going to have to run for it. The hygienist tries some small talk to distract me but as I stare at my wedding rings, Mark is all I can think of and how unfair this whole situation is.

Finally it’s my turn, and I can barely look the dentist in the eye. “So did you have a bad experience, or you just don’t like dentists?” “Bad. Proceeding to drill when I’ve indicated that the freezing isn’t working.” The look exchanged between hygienist and dentist was as if they wanted his name to report my prior dentist. He assures me that isn’t their practice, and completes an inspection and some regular photos of my teeth…. And finally, (finally!) he tells me I have no cavities and have exceptional teeth – particularly considering how long it’s been since the last time I went. …so #\£%& thankful that one thing has gone right! “I’m so scared to see a dentist, that I have been doing whatever I can to take care of my teeth!” “If I pulled 100 people off the street, your teeth would be in the top 5.” …Ha! Take that!

Well this deserves celebration. …Fuck. I don’t even want to THINK of the word ‘celebrate’, let alone do it… How dare I celebrate anything. Besides, who would I celebrate with? I want to tell Mark how great his wife’s teeth are and go for a full-on date night together!

I decided it was unfair to NOT celebrate in some way since it was such a momentous occurrence and Mark & I would have certainly done something (I MADE IT OUT OF THE DENTIST WITH MINIMAL FUTURE VISITS!!), so I picked up a dozen donuts to take back to my office, while ensuring Mark’s favourite kind was there for me to eat. It might not help everyone else’s dental health, but it helped my mental state while also knowing I could eat the whole dozen if I so chose since my dental health is so “exceptional”.

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