04 May 2010

The Pathogy of my Fear

I am having my wisdom teeth out on Friday and well, it is kind of freaking me out. Arguably this will be no big deal.  They are all grown in, nice and roomy, should just be a matter of "popping them right out"...at least according to my dentist. Honestly, I would probably take them to my grave if two bouts of pregnancy induced bulimia hadn't taken almost all the enamel off the backs of them. Yes, that x-ray was horrific and yes, I am glad they were there to be a buffer so my "necessary" teeth didn't take that hit. Despite all the assurances that it will be fine, I have this niggling feeling in the back of my brain that it is going to be awful.

I can cite two major reasons for this:
  1. I think that doctors often have no clue what undergoing these procedures is actually like and/or they are not realistic in explaining what it may be like to have said procedure done. Examples include:

    • Stripping my membranes when "not in labor enough" with Little Cheese. "Can be very uncomfortable" translated to me sobbing and throwing up in the shower while I had contractions so bad I thought I would surely have that baby right there like one of those women on those horrible TLC shows.
    • One NP Commenting that the HG "couldn't be that bad." Enough said.
  2. I do not have a great record of success with normal responses to pain and local anesthetic. Examples here:

    • Having surgery on my toes as a teen where, despite the podiatrist's insistence that I had been given all the local anesthetic safe for someone my age and size, I was still painfully aware of the whole procedure. I only had the second one done because I was given a Valium. (Valium Rocks!)
    • My early labor "menstrual cramp-like" contractions came back to back and had me hyperventilating with pain. Clearly my body never got the memo about this part being manageable.
    • The local used to place my epidural might as well have been skipped. I could feel it all, a small price to pay for the relief that followed, but still, a datum worth noting. 
Basically I can conclude on of two things.  I may be a gigantic hypochondriac drama queen or, I may be someone who genuinely does not do well with pain and local anesthesia for a physiological reason. For what it is worth, the anesthesia during childbirth, both the narcotics and the epidural, were pretty good, so maybe I am just bad with "Novocain" (though I realize there are a million varieties of this generic term for local numbing drugs) which is great, but kind of problematic for this particular case.

I am not sure what the solution to this anxiety is, or if there even is a solution, but putting it out there helps a bit.  I guess now I can poll the audience and see if this falls under the category of "you are a whiny nut-job" or the category of  "yeah...I might ask about that Valium if I were you."


    Alicen said...

    I was getting ready to ask you if they will give you a Valium or not. We used to when I worked in a dental office. Also are they doing conscious sedation? If not, they should...that is TOTALLY the way to go!

    Valium does nothing for me although "you are small with a very small frame so this should make you feel really good", yeah right. If it works for you though get some and take it, it'd be better in the end.

    I can't say what the actually procedure feels like since I was sedated (awesome I tell you...awesome) but I know after I was expecting to be in a ton of pain but was surprised when I wasn't from my wisdom teeth. I don't want to scare you but I do know some of my friends were quite miserable after with swollen jaws and dying of pain. I hope you aren't the latter but they do give pain meds and if they don't work ask for something different/stronger, etc.

    You have every right to be freaked out but I do hope it ends up being better than you thought.


    And just for laughs and for something to add to the doctors don't know what they are talking about speech a story from my labor. As a matter of fact it pissed me off so bad I wanted to punch him for it! Anyway I was starting to get quite uncomfortable, contractions long, hard and back to back when the doctor came in. I had been on Pit for an hour and seeing how I walked in at 4 almost 5 cm figured I had been making progress. He looked at the seismograph, err I mean contraction monitor and stated "Oh you are in classic early labor, I'll come back and check you in a couple of hours!" Worth mentioning he said this quite smugly too! Early labor, what the F are you talking about?! Walking in at 4 makes "early labor" a non-issue. So yeah I had many explicatives to say about that lovely doctor of mine and when the nice nurse walked in and saw my face she didn't hesitate when I wanted to be checked. Well come to find out I was 7 cm!! Not in early labor my ass!! Totally get you on the fact that doctors don't always know what they are talking about.

    Well, after this comment (or perhaps short story) I wish you the best of luck and certainly ask for Valium! Big Hugs!!

    Alexis said...

    I will check on the drug options when I do my pre-op call tomorrow. Everyone at the office said to just do local and have done with it since they are all in and just need to be tugged out, but I am not sure I am buying it! We shall see...

    Ginger said...

    Oh, dentists in particular are horrid. My husband has a crazy tolerance for the normal -caine that most dentists use--he had a cavity once and they gave him 6 shots and 30 minutes later he STILL wasn't numb--so he always has to tell new dentists about it before they start to see if they have any other options. You might want to check that out.
    Oh, and I second the sedation. 5 root canals, a tooth extraction, and a dental implant all made tolerable by sedation. I'm a big fan.

    Alicen said...

    I would ask, sure it works fine with local but also works fine the other way too. I just suggested it since your so nervous, when your sedated you don't remember anything but the IV. I do know, however, that some dentist offices don't have the appropriate personnel/licensing so that could be the case too. If nothing else get the Valium, take it our leave it but at least you have it!

    Kerry said...

    Valium does nothing for me either. Ditto Vicodin and upteen other drugs. With my first c-section, they kept giving me more and more stuff, and then they'd poke me to see if I was read, and I was like, "Umm, no, I can still feel that. A LOT." My body just doesn't recognize the authority of painkillers.

    That said, I had my wisdom teeth out, after dreading and putting it off for years. It was SO not a big deal. I took ibuprophen (a regular dose) for two days and then I was fine. I felt like an idiot for having made such a big deal out of it beforehand.

    I have learned that you really have to be an advocate for yourself...if you need Valium, or a different prescription, or whatever...demand it. You're the customer here, and you don't need to suffer out of politeness.

    Good luck. Enjoy the milkshakes.