3 Fillings and a Funeral

I haven’t really written a full post in a few days. Partly because I’ve been dealing with so much that writing about it actually becomes quite difficult, and partly because of sheer fatigue and tremendous pain. As a result the following post is rather long, hopefully not to rambly, rant-y or verbose.

The other day was incredibly rough. Son had a dentist appointment in the afternoon then I had a wake to attend.. Neither of these things seemed like especially pleasant things to have on the agenda but I was not nearly prepared for HOW difficult everything turned out to be.

First off, the dentist. I am notoriously phobic of the dentist. I have tried not to communicate this fear to my kids but it is something I still struggle with greatly. I have more extensive dental work in my future due to multiple missing and broken teeth, but that is something for another post. Right now, I’m talking about Son.

I had to talk myself out of rescheduling for no reason. I guess Son had at least a little anxiety about the whole thing because he asked me once or twice if we could change the appointment or if he could go back to KoolSmiles.

When making the appointment, I had asked him if he wanted to go back to KoolSmiles or if he wanted to try someplace else. He said he wanted to try someplace else. He has never been fond of restorative work (who the hell is) but he seemed to have forgotten that in his efforts to get the appointment switched.

At any rate, I told him it was too late to switch the appointments and made a deal with him that if he hated it there, after finishing what was scheduled, we would go someplace else next time. He somewhat reluctantly agreed, I psyched myself up and we went.

This dental office is in the center of our city with a small parking lot behind the building. Happily, the handicapped spot was available which saved me from having to park on the street and walk about half a block on uneven, crummy sidewalk.

Son looked around when we arrived and said,”Is this even a real dentist’s office?”

I assured him that it was but he continued to express doubt, perhaps because there was no big tooth on the sign or giant toothbrushes in the lobby. I got him seated in the waiting area and went to fill out his paperwork.

The receptionist noted, with approval, that we were nice and early.

I replied,”That’s because I hate to be late. I move slowly and never know how the parking’s going to be so I allow plenty of extra time.” That lie was out of my mouth before I even really realized I was lying.

I do of course move slowly and need to worry about parking but I am late for things all the time, especially because I am horrible at time management and I never really allow time to accommodate my disability the way that I should.

Lying is one of the things that I still really need to work on in my recovery. Active addiction involves a ton of deception. You lie to get drugs. You lie about using, how much you took, when you’ll pay someone back, who you were with what they were doing, etc, etc.

There are 1,001 different lies that could come up in 1 day of active addiction. Every time I popped a pill (or a handful) to pick myself up to interact happily with my kids or convincingly make love to my husband when I didn’t want to be anywhere near him, I was lying.

They called Son in fairly shortly after me completing all of his new patient paperwork. I let him go back into the office by himself. Even though I knew he needed restorative work I didn’t insist upon accompanying him. There were a couple of reasons why, even though 90% of my mommy-self was internally screaming that he would need me back there.

First off (and I’m still unsure whether this is nature or nurture, though it concerns me enough to keep me up at night more than a few nights) Son has generalized anxiety. Quite a bit of it in fact. So whenever there is a situation that could potentially be anxiety producing and HE is handling it with a level head I am all for it, and I go out of my way NOT to project my own anxiety.

About 7 minutes or so after letting him go back on his own, as he was seeming so calm and collected about it, I was hobbling back there as fast as I could walker because he was yelling in pain.

It was brutal. It turns out that in addition to having my family’s teeth which seem to decay if you look at them wrong, Son has inherited Husband’s unresponsiveness to Novocaine, it doesn’t numb him like it’s supposed to, so though he felt every agonizing needle stick of the normal amount and every stick of the extra they gave him, he never really got numb, and they didn’t realize the problem until AFTER they had begun drilling.

I sat there, grimly fighting my own impulse to knock the drill out of the dentist’s hand grab Son and flee the office. Instead I sat, Son’s cold hand gripping my warm sweaty one, tears leaking out of my eyes ans sliding silently down my face, the small room filled with the sounds of drilling and my child’s tearful shouts of pain, along with his assurances that he would never, ever go to the dentist again and his strong dislike for the dental professionals currently restoring his mouth. I kept reminding Son that it was almost over, that even things that are really hard can’t last forever.

The dentist laughed heartily at Son’s vows of hatred.

“It’s the Novocaine talking!” He assured me, with a wink over his surgical mask.

Really?! I thought. Good one! It can talk! Real fucking funny, dumb ass! Between you and me I’d sure as hell rather it kept Son from feeling each and every movement of the drill then “talk” as you so humorously insist.

Somehow we made it through. Son had 3 beautiful amalgam fillings done plus a surprisingly easy extraction of a baby tooth that had adult teeth coming up underneath it. The sucky part is that that was only the right side of his mouth. The office will work on more than one side of the mouth in one visit, but after that hell there was no way any of us, not even the jovial doctor wanted to keep going.

I now need to find a pediatric dentist that does sedation and takes MassHealth. No easy feat. I promised Son that he could go someplace else if he hated it here, and thanks to that nightmare of an experience, he thoroughly hated it. He has had positive experiences with KoolSmiles in the past, but not for restorative work. They don’t use sedation there for nervous or difficult patients. They use a “papoose”, which is basically a cute way for saying bondage and a stretcher. To both Husband and I that just sounds like a recipe to adding nightmare to nightmare, not a way to make anything better.

I just had time to get us home, explain to Husband how Son had struggled and change into formal clothes before it was time for me to leave for the wake I had made up my mind to attend.

The woman who died was one of my first Sunday School teachers. She was a really sweet old lady who was old for the whole time I knew her, even thirty plus years ago. For most of those years she was healthy too. She just very recently found out she had very horrible, very painful and aggressive cancer. She suffered terribly, and as awful as it sounds, death was a mercy when it came.

I was grossly unprepared for all the baggage that would come along with attending the service. It was partly the sadness of the service itself but what really smacked the crap out of me was seeing all those people from my childhood. I really hate it when I have overwhelming amounts of inappropriate emotion.

I guess part of what made it so difficult for me is that so many of these people are unaware of all my health and disability issues. So when I see them I feel burdened to explain why I am the way I am now, which of course, is really difficult to explain, AND wildly inappropriate to try and explain when it is SO not about me, at that moment.

So we end up with conversations like this:

me: Mr So and So? Wow, it’s been so long! How are the kids? Not kids anymore! Well, you look just the same after all this time! *smile*

Mr So and So: Um.. heh heh. Yeah. You look.. You.. Wow. It really has been a long time.

It was really hard for me. I did the best that I could. Made small talk where I could, paid my respects to the family and when I absolutely couldn’t stand it anymore, got the hell out of there and made a beeline for the nearest drive through, which happened to be a KFC.

There are sometimes when I am eating my feelings that I am very painfully aware of doing so RIGHT AS I am doing so. Even as I plowed through that 2 piece meal with mac and cheese and wedges I pondered my weight problem and my food issues. I was particularly aware that it was disorderly eating when instead of pausing to go in and get the spork that they neglected to give me I actually used potato wedges as a utensil to eat my mac and cheese.

I know I need to do something about my eating, my weight, my health, my pain, my routines, my marriage, various parenting problems, etc etc etc. There are so many things I need to do something about. Changes that need to be made that I have no idea how to make.

It’s pondering difficult problems like that that make me so frustrated with being sober. Because all it really does is make me want to get good and comfortably numb.

Speaking of changes, my psychiatrist changed my therapist. So tomorrow I say goodbye to my therapist of the past 18 months, and soon I will say hello to someone new. I am both hopeful and terrified.

More on this later. For now, I leave you with a funny song about better living through chemistry.

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