May-2009-Update - Dentist, Panic, Gloop, Aronia Berries
Article by Sian
This is just an update to tell you we are all still around, we have just been extremely busy. Rick is involved in the hypnotherapy course, Kev has been working on other projects, and I myself have been writing, having a course of dental work and been trying the new 'Superfood' dried Aronia berries....More on that momentarily.
I thought I would write about my dental visits, as such things involve panic attacks, which triggers my IBS. I have healthy teeth; this was cosmetic work, so I could have avoided it. I also had the option, for the last 3 hour treatment, to have three ten mg tablets of Tamezepam, used for anxiety, which I was told would make me feel as if I had had a few brandies. They do not use general anesthetic at this particular dentist.
I was rather amazed at getting through the initial check, scale and polish without panicking too much, however, I did not have any clear idea of what the next process involved which was whitening. I was told I could do it at home, using trays, but for some mad reason, I agreed to let them do it, as it was a much faster process. The team were marvelous. They understood I was terrified of having a panic attack, and the practice itself has a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. The kindness and professionalism of the team actually went a great way to toward my calmness. It was the kind of calmness I go into in a hospital, when I am actually so scared I go numb, I think, but that can *snap* and throw me into a severe panic. With health-care professionals and dentists, however, there is a big element of trust, and so I put myself in their hands.
The whitening. Oh, dear. I had no idea. First my mouth was wedged open and then gauze was pressed firmly up against my gum's, so that none of the bleach can touch them. Gauze is then put across the bottom of your face, so that the actually appearance is oddly mummy-like. Then, the plastic wedge in your mouth is fitted to the light which shines on the bleach -- for fifteen minutes, then a break, another fifteen minutes, a break, another fifteen minutes. And since you are lightly attached to this light, the feeling of being trapped is impossible to ignore.
I do not know how I got through it. I was praying, thinking about my writing, and was repeating a mantra in my head, 'I am well, I feel great!' over and over. The woman who was in charge stayed with me constantly, and told me I was doing very well, (her voice, and the fact there was music playing, also helped.) and after said that considering my anxiety, she was surprised I had opted for this treatment and not done it at home, but had also got through it so well.
I was stunned. I sort of reeled out. However, I was pleased with myself, my panic (in that situation anyway) is so much better than it was. I lost two back molars in my early twenties because I absolutely could not sit in a dentist's chair. (When I eventually did, they put me under general anesthetic.)
After this, I had to wait two weeks for the composite work. I went to collect the Tamezepam and wondered seriously about taking them. I was supposed to take one the night before the appointment, one in the morning and one an hour before the appointment. I am prescribed Diazepam for anxiety, but the most I have ever taken is 4.5 milligrams over a day. Thirty milligrams within twelve hours was going to floor me, I thought. Also, I write a lot in the morning, answer any emails from YouTube or this site, I take the dog out early; I did not like the thought of feeling completely dopey. In the end, bearing in mind what they had told me I took one tablet an hour before the appointment.
Much of my anxiety of dentists is due to the simple fact of feeling sick - nausea is a huge part of my life and has been for years. Sometimes it is intense and I can do nothing but hold myself together. I feel if I start to vomit I will never be able to stop. A dentist works in one's mouth, so if I wanted to be sick, it would be a struggle to get out of the chair, tipped far back as it is, and find something to use as a bowl. Since I had had no idea of what they would do to my mouth when I had the whitening, I think I almost froze - and also sweated blood, I have to admit, as there were moments my mouth would fill with saliva, as it does before you are sick, and the wedge that kept my mouth open made it hard to swallow.
In this procedure they use what is called a 'gum dam' which is a sheet of rubber pushed tight over the teeth to the gum-line. It keeps the teeth dry, and also stops anything going down the throat. It also, in theory, would stop anything coming up out of the throat. I did ask the dental nurse who fitted it, and she said if I felt ill to make it clear, and they 'would not let me die.'
I did feel more relaxed from the Tamezepam, but I still had episodes where I thought I was going to be sick. The dentist was marvelous, as was his assistant, and I felt nothing. There was a TV set in the ceiling, and I had earphones, and I think concentrating on that also helped. In any event, I got through it, which has made me feel more optimistic about the future, since at one time such a thing would have been impossible.
In other news!
I was unable to obtain any Slippery Elm Food for a few weeks.
I have written about this elsewhere, and have been taking one cup before bed for months.
I have found that it has helped enormously with my IBS. I noticed that after not taking it for a few days, I was feeling sick, getting bad gas, stomach pains, and I really believe that Slippery Elm Food, taken regularly, has helped alleviate those symptoms, but that it has to be taken every day. I make it so thick it is like wallpaper paste, (hence my calling it 'Gloop') or porridge. Some people really do not like either the taste or the texture, but my attitude is; 'If it helps, I'll take it.'.
I was able to get some a few days ago, and am taking it each evening again.
And speaking of taking something because it is good for you, regardless of the taste -- Aronia Berries. Also called Choke-berries. That latter name? It says it all.
The berry is native to the America's, but also Eastern Europe, I believe, since the pack I bought were from Poland. It is allegedly the richest fruit source of anthocyanins and other antioxidants, more even than the blueberry and pomegranate, and studies have shown it to help with:
urinary tract infections
It has an oxygen radical absorptive capacity, (which means a measure of an antioxidant's power to neutralize free radicals) value higher than any other food. It is these which give the berry such a dark (almost black) color.
Due to the fact that I suffer UTI's, and also with the emergence of A(H1N1) 'Flu (Swine Flu). I decided to try some of the dried berries which were on offer in Holland and Barret, the health food chain of shops.
They basically look like small, shriveled black peas and are hard - it's easier to chew them if you let them soften in your mouth a little while. And, arrgh! Sour! I thought some-one had dried sloe berries! Apparently the juice itself, which is sold at Trader Joe's in the US, is usually sweetened and added to other juices as it is simply too tart and sour to drink alone - moreso than cranberry, which I am very used to now. However, they had no adverse effects on my IBS, and as they are packed with so much goodness I am sucking, chewing and grimacing my way through a small handful per day. Kev and Rick's faces were wonderful when they tried them. I wish I had filmed them.
Warm wishes to every-one who reads this, and please do not hesitate to contact me via this site if you wish to.
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