I went to the dentist today.
I walked into the waiting room on my own, checked in, sat down and paged through a Women’s Day from March 2007. I stepped out to make a phone call, returned, flipped through most of a Sports Illustrated about the Summer Olympics. The last ones. By the time they called my name – only 10 minutes late, but I had arrived 15 minutes early due to the timing of a prior appointment – I was bored. Just kind of staring at nothing, avoiding awkward eye contact with the other prisoners in that particular holding cell, waiting.
I was not anxious. I wasn’t scared, nervous, apprehensive or frightened. I was not fighting off horrible imagery and chewing on the insides of my cheeks, wishing it was already over. I had not taken an Ativan, or three.
I was fine, I suppose. Not actively happy to be there, but “actively happy” is a state I don’t spend much time in, just lately. I certainly wasn’t actively miserable about my surroundings.
See? It’s been a miraculous recovery! I’ve been cured from 20 years of dental phobia so intense that I needed to be put under general anesthesia for anything more invasive than x-rays.
All I had to do was have a near-death event, with 13-or-so surgeries imposed upon my unconscious body while a ventilator breathed for me and a tube ran nutrition up my nose. Et voila! Perspective around the dentist has been restored.
I should write a self-help book.