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Facing My Fears

There probably isn't one person who has a fear that paralyses them with just a mere suggestion of the thing/item/place. I think of my daughter who inherited her arachnophobia from my mom. No, it is not genetic but a learned behavior because my mom with lose it whenever there was a possibility of a spider. Therefore, my daughter now does the same. I can draw something on a paper that looks like a sun and the child will rip up the paper and throw the book. I have a few fears but today I am writing about one developed recently and other overtime.

Old Fear

I am not sure about this either but I remember liking the dentist as a kid. The cleanings and fluoride treatments were fine. My dentist was nice and very kid friendly. He had bad teeth though. I always thought that was an oxymoron. I digress... I don't know where my fear came from or how it developed. My mom used to get work done and didn't always look happy. Maybe that did it. I am not sure. Over the years I suffered dental issues from problems with gastrointestinal issues since about 2000. I have gone off and on and each time I felt a bit traumatized. Now when people say dentist I immediately clutch my imaginary pearls and close my mouth.

Recent Fear

I can't say for sure when it started either but it is all related to my conditions. I want to say about two years ago I had the issue where I had the prolonged elevated resting heart rate. It would come and go but for about 4-5 months it was sustained. We found that I was sensitive to tricyclic medications because they elevated my heart rate. They are antidepressants but I never took them for that. Migraine and pain meds are often antidepressant meds because they help with the pain receptors from the brain. At low doses they aren't used for depression symptoms but for pain management. I took them before in my early stages of trying to be diagnosed. Like I said, about two years ago I did. I have been asthmatic my whole life and I always had an Albuterol Inhaler or used my nebulizer for treatment. It would make me jittery and after a while I was fine.

Now I am not able to take tricyclic drugs or the inhaler without lingering and devastating side effects due to epinephrine. The last time I took my inhaler I had a fainting episode in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and almost missed my flight. At the time I had my children with me and another child in my care. It was a mess and I had to get myself together long enough to get home. Long story short, I suffered lingering memory issues as a result. The last time I used a tricyclic (amitriptyline) I was out of work for 4-5 months. These both trigger and epinephrine and norepinephrine response. To avoid this being a long explanation please read about it here. I had an allergic reaction to dye for a CAT scan and ended up in the hospital because the benadryl and epinephrine both worked together to keep my heart rate up. Picture this, ala Sophia Petrillo, I am in the ER with a massive dose of a drug that makes me sleepy and one that makes me jumpy. I am trying to sleep but my heart is beating out of chest and keeps waking me up. It was a sight to behold.

The Face Off

Now with the emergence of my conditions and understanding that tolerate epinephrine well, fear going to the dentist especially when they have to give me shots. The reason why is because their numbing agent novacaine. is used in conjunction with epinephrine. I try to avoid things that trigger the norepinephrine in my fight or flight and I avoid things that cause me to need to take epinephrine.

A year a go I went to a much needed dental appointment (insert tears) and I heard the obvious, work was needed STAT. I knew but I was afraid. However, I like talking to people face to face and I love smiling. I figured that if I wanted to keep that up, with confidence, I needed to just go! I got the run down and I sighed. However, it took me a year later to go back. It wasn't due to my fears any more but the lack of funds and illness. I finally went back this year and after several false starts I went to an oral surgeon to get some preliminary work done. This man was sent specifically for me. He was caring, soothing, calm and had a way to completely disarm the scardy cat in me. He sat next to me and explained the procedure. He was even understanding when I explained my problem with epinephrine. The doctor was able to explain to me about the alternative carbocaine. He said that it didn't last as long though. The joke was on him because one of the issues that I have causes me to process anesthesia slowly so it was about the same.

There will be fears and they have the potential to hinder you. Don't let them. It can stop something important like you smile. What are your fears and how do you face them?

One day at a time.

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