I had to go in for one of my regular cleanings at the dentist on Monday. I’ve talked about my issues with the dentist before and I hate that I’ve had this problem for so many years. I wish I could be someone who doesn’t think twice about going to the dentist and just shows up and gets the cleaning done with.
But instead, I get horrible nightmares relating to my teeth for the week or so leading up to the appointment (usually they are about my teeth falling out or having massive holes in them). And the morning of the appointment my stomach is horribly upset and my heart is racing. I feel sick until after the hygienist (who is awesome and knows how to deal with my panic attacks) tells me that there is nothing that concerns her. Then I just deal with minor stress through the rest of the appointment (she could always change her mind and see something bad with my teeth) and don’t feel stress free until I’m paying the bill (which I think is what most people get stressed about).
This appointment had to be rescheduled from earlier this month and the only time they could fit me in was in the afternoon. I usually like morning appointments so I can get it over with, but it wasn’t going to work that way for me. So I did my best to get through my day (including a morning workout at Orangetheory) and tried to not freak out too much.
Because I’m on Vyvanse (which is a stimulant), my panic medication (which is a depressant) isn’t as effective as it could be. If I was smart that day, I would have used that day as a day off of Vyvanse and just taken my panic meds. But I didn’t think things through. I took both my morning and lunchtime Vyvanse before my appointment and made sure that I was properly panic medication medicated before going to the dentist.
On a random note, I found out that one of the dental assistants at my dentist’s office isn’t there anymore. She was the one who would always call me before an appointment and remind me to take my medication. She saw me before I started taking it and she joked that she never wanted to see that crazy side of me again. I was pretty out of control at one major appointment and I know it isn’t fair for anyone there to have to deal with me when I’m in the middle of a horrible attack. But I’ve always properly medicated myself since then so I saw her reminders as just something funny and a joke between us.
When I got to the office, my heart was racing and I was shaking and sweating. It wasn’t pretty. And I had to wait a bit for my appointment which seemed to make things worse. Thankfully, when I sat in the chair I was able to relax a bit.
It does help that the hygienist changed the order of the cleaning so that it’s easier on me and my panic attacks. It’s all minor stuff she did, but it’s made a major difference for me.
And I’m shocked to report that even with the higher dosage of Vyvanse plus having taken both pill prior to my appointment that this was the easiest appointment I’ve had in years! I don’t know what changed, but I stopped panicking within a few minutes of the cleaning starting. I usually have bruises on my wrists or arms from where I pinch myself to not focus on the cleaning, but I’m bruise-free! And I’ve had appointments where after I’m done my body aches from shaking through the entire appointment. But this time I don’t know if I was shaking at all!
I don’t get why things are easier on me now. It really should be the opposite. And I’m not over my issues with the dentist because my morning was just as bad as it’s ever been. I just was able to feel normal again much sooner than I usually can.
I really hope that this is a new trend for me. If I can get to the point where I’m only panicking before arriving at the appointment, that would be a huge victory for me! I know that if I need major dental work again in the future that the panic attacks may come back stronger than ever (it was a major dental work appointment that started the attacks). And because genetically I have bad teeth it is very unlikely that I won’t need major work in the future.
But for now, I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m glad that I don’t have to be back at the dentist for 4 months!