So I did something last week that was pretty big for me.
I went to the dentist-not once, but twice-AND I let him make some long-needed repairs to my neglected teeth.
For some folks this might seem like a silly bit of whiny sympathy seeking for the kind of every day healthcare I should be grateful for and not complain about.
But for me, it was HUGE.
I’ve never, ever liked having my mouth worked on.
I don’t remember when it started but I do know that by five or six I would rather know I was going for a vaccine booster than to the dentist for a cleaning. Of course, having pretty lousy teeth (bad genes) and multiple cavities by my teen years didn’t help.
Anyway, fast forward to adulthood and of all the uncomfortable things I could make myself face in the name of being a grown-up I was never able to get over this ridiculous fear.
Last week it could wait no longer.
Retirement means our insurance provider changes and we needed to use up the benefits we had left on the old one. So armed with economic necessity, I dragged my behind to the dentist, committed to doing what had to be done.
One thing had changed, though, in the years (yes, I know it’s supposed to be every six months!) since I’d sat in that chair. I had learned to speak up for myself. I’d learned to be forthright about how much pain I was willing to take and when enough would just have to be enough for that visit.
I’ve discovered a perverse “law” this side of child loss.
I have suffered the absolute worst heartache and sorrow I can bear. So inconvenience or tiny slights or even some pretty large challenges are manageable.
But I’m not at all willing to suffer unnecessarily either physically or relationally anymore.
If a word to the wise, if honesty, if admitting up front that I need some kind of chemical aid or extra grace to endure a procedure will make a conversation, friendship or painful prod or poke go smoothly, then I’m going to ask for it.
So I did.
And while taking the short walk from the waiting room to the exam room involved some deep breaths and positive (silent) self-talk, once things got going it wasn’t bad at all.
I walked out encouraged and with sounder teeth.
I’ve got another complex appointment in a few weeks and am asking for the same treatment plan and protocol. But this time I’m not dreading it at all.
I’m learning that sucking it up or pretending isn’t the only flavor of brave.
I can ask for help.
That’s brave too. ❤