BC is an acronym I have read lately to establish a time line of ‘before covid’.
BC, I would have not been excited about going to a periodontist to have my gums measured with a long, sharp instrument that looked like a pick one would use to dig a walnut out of a shell. However, I DO know that I would not have felt the uneasiness (which I did), signing forms that stated ‘I am aware that because there is a high likelihood of blood and spraying water occurring, that I am more susceptible to contracting COVID-19’.
I began getting hives the day before the appointment.
Not necessarily because of the unlikely event that I would contract the virus, but because I knew I would be told that more than one of my teeth would need to be removed and that I would be verbally shamed on the state of my mouth.
I knew this would happen simply because in the almost 56 years that I have been alive, I have been attending dental offices for 53 of those years. I have contributed more than my share to a minimum of 13 dentists, 2 orthodontists and a periodontist or two, for their early (and I must only imagine) grand retirement. I have yet to meet a dentist that believes me when I say I have always had poor teeth. That I do brush 3 times per day. That I do not eat sweets or drink soft drinks ( ….they never ask me about any other bubbly beverage, such as beer for example…).
Anyway, after an unfortunate event at a dental office 2 years ago which left me with nerve damage and numerous trips to the stroke clinic to see whether my facial numbness was indeed due to a stroke; after an MRI, the neurologist concluded that I had not had a stroke, and after reviewing my files, concluded I had sustained damage to a very important nerve that runs along my jaw line. We figured out the trauma was received after the dental appointment I recently had, where the dental assistant had forcefully pushed down on my jaw repeatedly to affix a metal brace into my mouth.
Regardless, because of some sort of insane need to be berated along with a ‘ things couldn’t possibly get any worse’ attitude, I attended this periodontal appointment with trepidation. But before leaving for this torture, I received a phone call. I had gone for a mammogram 4 days previous. It was the radiology clinic. They needed me to come in immediately for another mammogram and ultrasound. Since I was already in a state of derangement, I agreed without question and walked out the door to attend my shaming appointment.
On the way there, more hives appeared and the ensuing itchiness followed me into the dental chair where I lay bleeding, with water spraying sporadically around me as I tried desperately to ignore the beady eyes of the young man behind the mask who made thrice my salary and looked like he had just stepped out of grade school.
That was yesterday.
Today was the mammogram where I had to answer and sign numerous forms swearing that I was not pregnant. When was your last period? (Probably before you were born). Why do you think you aren’t pregnant? ( because I’m 55 years old and my husband has had a vasectomy). Are you sure you aren’t pregnant or could be pregnant? ( ???).
I was ushered into a cubicle to undress and then into the tit squishing room where the technician (who had a wonderful Slovak accent,) told me the doctors had found a mass behind my right nipple. “ So we will need only to do the mammogram on your right nipple…”.
Now, even though she was wearing a mask, I could SEE the grimace behind it. She was indicating that if I thought 4 days ago having both boobs pressed into pancakes was slightly uncomfortable, THIS, was very different.
“I will press the button slowly and as soon as the pain is intolerable, please let me know”. And she began. Standing right next to me. Staring into my eyes and pushing that button.
And I started thinking about the fact that I had a very high tolerance to pain and that it was unlikely that I would tell her to stop…
I then started chuckling….because her accent reminded me of a James Bond movie but in this one, James was being tortured by having his nipple compressed into oblivion by the Slovak militant…and it was absurdly funny to me…at the time.
She asked me “ Is that too much”?
I honestly wanted to answer her back, in my best James Bond voice, “Oh, have you started? I didn’t know…”.
But I didn’t. I told her it was fine and she said “You are VERY not a pain person”.
Then it was off for the ultrasound where I spent the next glorious 45 minutes having my right breast massaged and contorted with gallons of gel, while the technician told me a condensed version of her life’s story. In between she would stop, click a few pictures and comment “ I’m sure everything will be okay…”.
The guy I live with drove me home.
He told me he’d order in tonight- anything I wanted.
A few minutes later we heard the front door open, which sent us both into a panic because, well, it’s Covid and no one is supposed to come around! Lol.
It was my daughter. With a care package of all sorts of goodies and fun things! Although she only stood by the door- it meant the world for me to see her. So honestly, I think, although the week hasn’t been the best one so far, I am a very lucky person to have all this love….AND she brought me Aveeno…which means hopefully no more itching!
There are other things I have recognized in my almost 56 years (besides the number of times I have attended a dental office)…Although I am grateful for many things in this life, by far, my family and friends and even the smallest gestures they make, mean the most.
Oh…and beer…that has to be up there….Probably a really great meal as well. Tonight is the night!