Wisdom Tooth Week — by Robin
I got my lower left wisdom tooth pulled this week. A filling had cracked, and I was advised to take it out.
Years ago, I had had four adult teeth pulled when I was getting braces, and I survived. I had totally forgotten that I also had my lower right wisdom pulled decades ago. I have a vague recollection that it was coming in crooked.
I know in the scheme of things health wise, the tooth pulling this week was thankfully not a big one, yet I found myself feeling uptight about it. Especially, when the dentist gave me the lengthy list of the potential aftermath that I might experience, however unlikely, that I had to sign off on. Who would want to get a tooth pulled after reading all that?! I wanted to bolt from the chair immediately, but the assistant came in and reassured me it was standard procedure.
Once the procedure was over and I was all numbed up from novacaine and on Motrin, I did some thinking.
Why was I so nervous? It was only a tooth.
I do have discomfort and a mild headache from it, but it will pass. And, ok, I’m eating just yogurt and sugar free jello right now, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
This procedure pushed a button. A fear button in me. And, one of control. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I feel more vulnerable, yet at the same time, protective of my body. In my 20s, I didn’t much think about it. Perhaps I felt invincible at the time? Now, I don’t.
A number of years ago, I had a scary health scenario that ultimately turned out ok, but it left me with huge trepidation when it comes to doctors….or anyone in the medical profession. I want my body poked and prodded as little as possible by anyone in a white jacket bearing instruments or instrumentalia (as I said jokingly to a friend the other day).
I am appreciative for good medical care, but I’d prefer not to need it.
I recently saw the comedian Susie Essman perform at a very cool event in NYC called Women Who Write. She was hysterical, as she read from her new book (currently featured on the home page of MotherhoodLater.com). I felt like the words were coming out of my mouth, as I think many in the audience did. Susie is in her 50s and admits to often thinking she has diseases when she learns of someone who contracted it. Even if it’s prostate cancer. LOL. I have been known, at times, I admit it….to refer to WebMd to look up symptoms I have in the search of self diagnosis. Sometimes it’s calming, and other times it gets the wheels turning even further anxiously in my head.
Fortunately, I don’t do this with my son. Although, when he recently was put on Tamiflu, I did read up on it a bit. Being informed is a good thing. Being overly fearful when it’s not warranted isn’t.
I certainly don’t want Seth to know I do this….or to have health fears himself. I don’t want this to rub off on him. My husband is not this way.
Is it a female thing?
Is it life as a 40 something female thing?
Is it life as a 40 something peri-menopausal female thing?
Perhaps all of the above.
I wish I could return to my more fearless 20-something self. But, we can’t turn back the hands of time. And, like it or not, we need doctors, dentists, etc. I was not in a position to pull my own tooth…though my son probably would have taken great pleasure in rising to the occasion for me. He was quick to take out his toy medical kit when I got home. And, he was hugely disappointed when I told him I didn’t have the pulled tooth. He asked why? Who knew it would be such a letdown for him not to see my cracked, cavity filled tooth?! If there is a next time (I have two remaining wisdom teeth), I’ll know better.
He really is all boy. Perhaps a little dentist in the making? While I’m not so sure of that, I do appreciate his concern for my welfare and his curiosity about the human body.