Monday, July 25, 2011

Tanty Time!

Today I chucked a tantrum at the dentist and walked out.

I should preface this by pointing out that I have a really high pain tolerance. I once hurt my wrist scaling a fence. I heard a crack and felt a harsh pain. I rubbed it better and went on my way not really giving it much more thought. A year later when getting x-rayed for some other reason (can't remember what) I was asked when I'd broken it. Huh? never. I was promptly shown the x-ray and the old fracture pointed out. I have a similar story with a bone in my foot. I'm sure Crohn's has helped my pain tolerance. Crohn's is a painful fucker, having a high tolerance is a survival mechanism!

But it's been a really shit week. Skin cancer involving painful biopsy, stitches and then burning with dry ice, sprained back muscle triggering sciatic nerve pain and involving instructions from the Chiro that I not lift anything (hello, I have a newborn!), sore foot which just aches all the time, tooth pain hurts on biting, sometimes it just throbs for the fun of it and to top it all off some Crohn's abdo pain. Seriously why does everything that goes wrong with me have to be physically painful???

So from the get-go I was not exactly fighting fit or in a great place. Just saying.

This morning the dermatologist convinced me to let her freeze the remaining skin cancer cells that hadn't been removed by the biopsy. I was obviously a little delirious from the collective pain. "You have a few choices, a chemotherapy cream with you rub on for a month or laser or cryotheraphy." Interesting selection Doc, lets burn my face with dry ice.

"Little sting" She whispered as she aimed the coffee machine type spout at me.

Little sting my arse. Seriously. I drove home, tears streaming down my face, wishing I'd chosen the cream. Sure it was going to leave a horrible sore on my cheek for a few weeks but it probably wouldn't have stung like this. It still hurts now, as I write this.

Next I had the dentist. I have a tooth which has been hurting for a long time. I first saw a dentist about it in April 2010. I've since seen five different dentists. They all say the same thing. The tooth is healthy. There's nothing obviously wrong. The tooth has had a root canal done on it many years ago and for some reason dentists refuse to accept that it could hurt. So I got all the usual questions: Are you sure it's that tooth? Not the one in front? Behind? Below? Yes. It's that tooth. How do you know? Er it friggen hurts when I push on it. Then to test the theory she decided to bash against it and the surrounding teeth with one of her dentist tools. I did mention it HURTS when I put pressure on it right? Satisfied that I was in pain but not convinced it could be coming from that particular tooth she pulled out the cold water spray.

Happy Place, Happy Place, go to your Happy Place!

From there she decided that she needed to do a scale and clean. The assistant comes over with the cold air sucker that she insisted on holding towards the back of my throat which was stimulating my gag reflex. When I told her she nodded and then put it right back where it was. The dentist then attacked my teeth and gums (which are sensitive at the best of times) with both the cold water spray dodad and the scaler thingy on high.

"Now if you feel any discomfort, just raise your hand" Raised my hand three times before she'd even managed to get round the back of my top teeth. She acknowledged the discomfort and said she lower the setting. It didn't help. Then she did something that actually made me cry out.  Now on any other day I would have grimaced and bore (bared?) it. But not today. Today I hit the pain ceiling. I reached my pain tolerance threshold.

"Stop." I said with a mouth full of dentistry tools. They both pulled their respective crap out of my mouth. "That really hurt." She gave her assistant a look that indicated she thought I was being difficult. I lost it. I pulled the bib off, wiped my mouth and pushed the tray of tools away. Why the hell am I doing this to myself? This is just a clean and scale. It's not vital procedure. It's just one of those bullshit things dentists like to charge you half a fortune for every 6 months. Fuck it.

"Forget this." I said. "Life's too short to suffer through unnecessary pain. Shove your clean. I'll stick with my toothbrush." They exchanged looks again and I got a lecture about dental hygiene. Then she offered to do it under anaesthesia... for $1,149!!! I pretty much walked out at that point. I must've looked a picture storming down the street for the first block, red faced, muttering to myself. No wonder people were moving out of my way.

I have had some pretty painful experiences during procedures in my life. I've never walked out on one before and for a scale and clean too, it's a bit pathetic. I'm smiling to myself at the ridiculousness of it all (although that may be the floaty effect of the pain meds kicking in). I'm sure the dentist has made a little note in my file: "Patient is a wimp with no tolerance for discomfort. Pretend you're booked out next time."



  1. Ugh. There's nothing worse than seeing someone for a painful condition and not having them listen to you about how bad it is - I mean, why the hell would you make it up???
    I don't blame you for reaching your limit.

  2. You're right about the dry ice - 'little sting' my arse! I had it on my thumb last year. It burned for 36 hours. Can't imagine having it done on my face. Youch.

  3. Just discovered your blog. Go You!!! If more patients stood up for themselves against unprofessional, RUDE, inconsiderate 'PROFESSIONALS', and why is it always the medical experts who have the relationship skills of an aardvark, they would start to change their practices.