I went to the dentist today and once again was amazed at how calm I was. You see there was a time when I was a white knuckle patient. For someone who has three cousins in that field, a dentist, an orthodontist and an oral surgeon, all cousins that she dearly loves and knows would not inflict pain, one would think that I would always be calm about a trip to the dentist. Not so.
When I fist went to my current dentist 30 years ago I told him how scared I was, something I’m sure he’d heard many times before. He didn’t realize how scared until he noticed how tightly I was clutching the arms of the chair. His comment: “You really are scared aren’t you.” Well duh… that’s what I said wasn’t it.
When it was time for our son to go to the dentist for the first time I asked my husband to take him and not to the dentist I go to because I didn’t want to take any chances on my trauma being passed on.
Where did it start? A few years back Mother, my sister and I were chatting and the subject of dentists came up. I was recalling a time when Mother and I were in the waiting room and my sister was in the dentist’s chair – screaming with pain. I mentioned the name of the dentist and simultaneously Mother and my sister responded, both saying my sister never went to that dentist, I was the only one that did. To this day I can’t put myself in that chair but it must have been me. By the way, my sister thanks me for putting her there.
Well, all these years later I’m calm; in fact, I could fall asleep while the dentist or hygienist is working on my mouth.
That’s not because I’ve suddenly become able to bare that pain; actually I have a pretty high pain tolerance (a fetal monitor told us when I was having a contraction, I didn’t have any labor pains, which tells you mothers out there how high my tolerance is.) Dentistry has come a long ways and all of those dentists are striving to provide pain free visits.
The other reason is that I learned to mentally put myself somewhere I’d love to be rather than in the dentist’s chair. Hey, if I can move myself out to the lobby and put my sister in the chair in my place why not. When I first began making regular visits to my current dentist, while he was working I was mentally skiing in the winter or sailing in the summer.
Today I just closed my eyes and went through my to-do list for the rest of the day. I’ve come a long way.
I’ll get back to post about art another day.