Are You Scared of the Dentist?

A lot of people have fear of going to the dentist.  But my Throwback Thursday story today involves my fear of someone else going to the dentist.

About six years ago, my birth mother called me one evening.  She said she had a conflict in her schedule and asked me to take my Grandma to the dentist the following morning.  As soon as she asked me, I had a feeling in my bones that it wouldn’t go well.

That night, I had a dream that while in the dentist’s chair, Grandma had a heart attack and three paramedics had to take her to the hospital.  I dreamed they all came and left through a back door  — which was odd because I had gone to that dentist for several years of my life and I never even knew they had a backdoor.  I knew she would be fine in the end, but the experience would frighten her and make it much worse for her, especially while they tried to hook her to a machine.  She was already dealing with early stages of dementia, and I just saw her in my dream being terrified.  I also saw in my dream that I would be at the hospital with her, and we wouldn’t be able to reach anyone to tell them the news.

Besides taking Grandma to the dentist, I also had plans with my friend Angie that day.  Angie’s a nurse, and it was her day off.

When I woke up, I first picked up Angie, then we picked up Grandma.  We took her to the dentist and waited until she was called back, then Angie and I went to lunch.  The dentist’s office said it would be a two hour procedure and they’d call me when they finished.

As Angie and I ordered lunch, my mind was a million miles away.  It was on my dream.  Angie saw I was preoccupied and asked what was wrong.  I told her about my dream and included every little detail.  She laughed and told me it was only a dream and tried to assure me that I had nothing to worry about.  And she tried to convince me that since she was a nurse, she knew Grandma’s procedure was simple, and since Grandma had no prior history of heart problems, I should relax.

We ate lunch, though I was still dwelling on my dream.  We were going to do some shopping, but I couldn’t get my head out of the dentist’s office, so we went back to the dentist and sat in the lobby.  About a half hour later, the dentist called me back to his office to explain Grandma’s procedure.  He told me about her post-op care and said she did fine.

My jaw dropped open, and I said, “Really?  Because I’ve just been having a feeling all morning that she was going to have a heart attack here.”

He chuckled and told me I had nothing to worry about.  He said the assistant was cleaning Grandma up and they’d bring her up front in just a few minutes.

Just then, the receptionist stepped into the room and urgently said, “Doctor, we need you in back right away.”  He smiled and told me to go ahead and sit back in the lobby which I did.

Not two minutes later, the nurse came up front and quietly asked me to come to the back.  She said, “I don’t want to alarm you, but your Grandma is having a heart attack at this very moment.  We’ve called 911, and an ambulance is on the way.  I think she’ll feel better if you’re back there with her.”

When I got to the back, a back door was open, and an ambulance was parking in the back.  They had to open Grandma’s shirt to attach some wires to her chest, and she started freaking out and making the monitors beep even more wildly.  She swatted wildly at the medics trying to get them to stop, and they kept trying to calm her down which only made her more frightened and agitated.

After my morning of feeling panicked, a feeling of calm abruptly washed over me, and suddenly I saw everything as I had in my dream.  I stepped forward and told them, “She’s afraid because she doesn’t know what you’re doing.”  Then I turned to Grandma and calmly explained that they were trying to help her.

After the ambulance left, Angie drove with me to the hospital and stayed for a while until she had to leave and pick up her child from school.  Then I tried repeatedly to call my birth mom as well as other family members, and no one was available.  Every number I called went straight to voicemail… just like in my dream.

So tell me: Are you afraid of the dentist?  Have you ever been in a scary situation, yet had a calming feeling wash over you and known everything was going to turn out to be fine?