6.23.2016

Pain of Being Unheard.

I am in my 30s.
I didn't realize until TODAY that it's not supposed to hurt when you get a filling at the dentist.


I don't respond to the numbing injections-lidocaine/marcaine- very well at all. I never have but dentists would not listen to me. I have been on numerous medications for years which lead to decay, and for my part I have not historically always been in the best position to take care of my teeth as well as I could have. I have assumed, my entire life, that going to the dentist to get anything "fixed" NECESSARILY meant an incredible amount of pain- because it always has previously.


Today showed me that doesn't have to be the case, but my serious avoidance of going means that I now face possible loss of essential teeth. Because having the feeling of a drill on or near a non-anesthetized nerve and not having someone listen to you about that pain is kind of traumatic.


I have had a fairly recent experience (last few years) of having a wisdom tooth extracted. I could feel everything- the doctor told me "it's just pressure" and all I wanted to do was scream. It wasn't just pressure- I could feel tissue and nerve tearing. While this was happening I also started having what I later realized was a panic attack. I was finally only given more anesthetic after, by reflex and out of fear, I almost hit the doctor for again continuing. ...but I could still feel it even after that.


When I say trauma- I don't mean "oh that wasn't fun"- I don't use the word "traumatic" lightly. I mean when people are not given control of pain it can easily become a subject of trauma. And it often is. This is called medical trauma in many cases, and it doesn't only happen to kids. Repeated related experience means I now get scared seeing doctors as well- literal fear, by association. Pain according to the individual feeling it is frequently disregarded by the medical professionals who are supposed to serve them. In my experience, my pain is frequently assessed by what a provider thinks it should be, how severe they think it might be, and not according to my report of symptoms.


I did not realize there was another way until someone acknowledged the pain I was feeling and did everything they could to accommodate me, rather than reluctantly going half way.


Listen to people when they say you are hurting them- regardless of your opinion on what "should hurt".