It’s about 5 o’clock in the morning and I have already been awake for about 2 hours now. I have been having a toothache. It is certainly not the worst pain I have ever had, but it is still annoying. It awoke me from sleep and kept me awake thinking about the pain and its possible consequences. Eventually, I got confused whether I was awake because of the pain or because of those thoughts, so I chose rather to get up and do something.
I am about 28 now and never had a complete set of 32 teeth in my mouth; only 26 erupted, others remained latent never coming above the surface, so I have always had a lot of vacancies in there. To worsen the things, two of my existing teeth (a lower molar on each side) are decayed since childhood. I took a good care of them and they never gave me any trouble until the recent past. One of the decayed molar fell out last year, rather I pulled it myself and it came out leaving some roots behind; those roots are causing pain providing a site for recurrent infections. I went to a dentist a couple of weeks ago for the same problem. She prescribed me some medications and advised to get the tooth extracted completely.
Coming to the point, I’m afraid of injections, so I don’t go to doctors. I had had my last IM injection back in 1999, which was a tetanus in a school health program. I took it only after I found out I cannot run away from school. IVs are less painful; I’ve had one in some 2006-07. Now the problem is if I go back to the dentist, I would have to get the tooth pulled out and it’s going to be painful. Dental procedures are mostly done under local anesthesia, so she will give me injections in my gums. I haven’t had a tetanus shot in years, so I might have to get one. And frankly, I am afraid of injections, much more than the tooth pain itself.
I have worked in the emergency rooms for a long while, and have done procedures under local anesthesia almost on a daily basis. I know it is painful just for a while and then it only helps the patient, but I’m finding it tough to apply the same principle to myself. It is not that I cannot tolerate the pain, just I am afraid of it.
But I think I will go to the dentist sooner or later and will have the tooth pulled. I will have injections and I will bear the pain, I know I can do that (if the fear is out). Why shall I stay awake for nights just because I am afraid of something? Why shall I not enjoy chocolates and cold coffee? I cannot live without chocolates, so I must go and get my tooth pulled, and possibly a root canal to the other one decayed.
I need to get that damn tooth pulled out, and before that, the fear!
Note: Sketch by Kazumi Hatasa/Flickr. Fair use for illustration.