I don't have a whole lot of phobias. I don't fear speaking in public - in fact, my friends and family know that if you give me a microphone, it is hard to get it out of my hand. I'm not afraid of spiders, although I can be startled by them sometimes. Heck, I can be startled by my lovely blonde niece sometimes! I do fear snakes but my friend Ray is trying to help me get past that. I have progressed to the point that I can sit in his living room and not run screaming when I see one of his pets move in their tank. Ray is a patient teacher.
I fear dentists. In fact the fear runs so deep that I actually cannot pick up the phone and call to make the appointment without bursting into tears. I never loved going to the dentist as a child, but the phobia developed after a rather bad experience when I was about 20. The experience was actually SO bad that I didn't return to the dentist for a very long time. More than 10 years. And when I went back and actually got comfortable with a new dentist - he suddenly had to retire for health reasons. Leaving me adrift and without care for my teeth for another period of time.
Eventually I really NEEDED to see a dentist because I had a toothache that I couldn't get past with Advil and Sudafed (and sleeping pills and Orajel and so on, and so on...). So I did what any logical dentaphobic would do...I faxed a letter to three local dental offices. The letter professed me to be a coward with bad dental issues and even worse mental issues. I begged for someone to be patient with me and not yell at me (the evil dentist scolded me and didn't believe in Novocain). My angel of a dentist responded right away: Dr. Anne Libbey. She assured me that I wasn't alone and that she would treat me with great care.
I don't think she knew what she was getting herself into.
After a tearful first visit - she let me know that it was all fixable and we came up with a plan. I told her between sobs and sniffles that I was certain that she was going to tell me it was hopeless and to prepare myself for dentures. She was very kind. And we worked our way through the restoration of my mouth. Fast forward to today...
Once again, I had been absent from dental care for awhile. Not because of Dr. Annie or her wonderful staff - but because I lost my job and dental insurance almost 2 years ago. And since that situation also damaged my psyche for awhile...the phobia returned. Sometimes I would think about calling to set up an appointment, but when my hand reached for the phone...I couldn't do it. Finally, this week I sent an email to the Libbey office. Once again, I proclaimed myself a huge coward with a damaged mind. And again, they responded with the most tender and patient care. Within 30 minutes I had a phone call from the sweet Kerri who got me an appointment for today.
|This is a crack head, NOT|
my new hygienist!!!
I'm not sure if dental school includes psychology classes - but every member of the staff would get a passing grade in counseling from me! Thank you for all the tissues...