Saturday, September 28, 2013

Blessings!

Who would think going to the dentist would be such a blessing? I usually associate the dentist with, well, you know, yucky stuff. Today, I was reminded about how much my daughter loved me again. Let me share the story..

I have always had some issues with going to dentists. It goes way back to my childhood and probably not having the best of dental care when I was child. I would put up such a fuss, I think the parents just figured it could wait another year. Before you know it lots of years went by and I began to suffer in my late teens. Having tried your neighborhood dentist, and that not working out too well; I had to search for a doctor who would administer "sleeping gas."

One such dentist surfaced in an old building on Grand Ave. and I  made my way there with cash in hand. That is the only way he agreed to see me. I know this all sounds like some plot from a bad Grade B movie, but I assure you it was real. I couldn't go alone because after the visit, I was often too woozy to walk much less drive. I became ill quite often from the gas, and would still be in pain a few days later, but I had my dentistry done the only way I could feel comfortable-out cold.

Fast forward a few years, my dentist passed away, the building closed down and I was at a loss once again. By this time I knew I had to have dental care so I asked some family and friends for  referrals. To make a long story short, three dentists later, being escorted out of a dental office in South County, I knew I had real issues. Laughing gas really isn't so funny when you become combative and knock a dentist in the chest as soon as he goes to examine your mouth. No, I was facing therapy and I needed real help for this.

Several years went by I married and had a little girl. Somehow, she managed to go to the dentist and never show fear. She actually liked getting her teeth cleaned. As she grew into a young lady, her smile began to light up my life in more ways than one. She became a real trooper and inspiration for me. When she became a mom, she asked me to go with her to the dentist for her son's first visit. I went along determined not to show fear or weakness. She took J-Bug in the office and he climbed up i the chair and smiled just as big as you please. The dentist made his way in the room and gently spoke with J-Bug and encouraged him to look at the equipment and ask questions. Once Jason had asked his questions and found his comfort zone, he relaxed and the visit went without a hitch.

It's amazing what a little human kindness can do to put you at ease in a frightening situation. This dentist was amazing to me. He clearly knew how to handle even the youngest of patients. When Shanny and I left the office, she asked me if she could help me find someone who would be patient with me. It was one of the sweetest gestures I have known.

When I was a youngster I had encountered a rather aggressive dentist who very seldom gave Novocaine an opportunity to take effect before he plundered on with drilling and sweating profusely. His own bad breath did little to comfort me. At one point, I actually passed out in the dentist chair and slid to the floor. My dad was called in from the waiting room and he took me home, embarrassed and not sure why I had passed out in the first place. I still remember spitting blood and drilled teeth for days. I remember the horrible smell in that office. That dentist did little in the way of helping me.

My daughter and I spoke at length about my fears. She assured me that most dentists did not treat their patients with such disrespect and lack of empathy. She began her search for a dental angel to help me through my pain.

Within a month or so, I was on my way to a dentist she had spoken with and explained my story. She accompanied me to his office and stood in the doorway while he assessed the damage to my teeth and gums.He knew of a specialist who could help me and worked with traumatized patients. He never once made light of my situation. He simply wanted to help. Shannon stayed with me the entire visit and took me home. Even though there was no invasive work done that day, she could tell it had taken a toll on me just to sit in the chair and allow him to touch my mouth and look inside.

Soon, I was introduced to my dentist that I have been seeing for the past almost 10 years. He and his staff are a godsend to me. I no longer dread seeing the dentist because I know he takes care of me and his staff are all wonderful. The first time I was in to see him, Shanny came with me and stood by the chair while he got x-rays and praised me for being so brave. She truly was understanding and loving and wanted my health more than anything.

After the discussion and dealings of what we could do, how we could save most of my teeth and even fix the gap that had bothered me since I was a small child, my relationship grew with my new dental family. So much more than that though, Shannon gave me the gift of patience and love when I really needed it. After my first really long visit with the dentist, a lot of work had been done, and I was very weak and swollen. I had no idea it was going to be so difficult for the first week or so. Shannon had me come stay at her house the first few days. When I felt strong enough, I went home, sporting a whole new smile!

So, blessings come in all different ways. Some as simple as a sweet memory I had tucked away. God is so good. I am beginning to see My Shanny in the smiles of others, even my own!