Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Today's post was going to be about wheelchairs.
Then it was going to be about religion.
I still have things to say about both subjects, but I have too much to say about both subjects, and since I have a limited amount of time today because of a meeting at Bennett's school and some other obligations, I've decided to talk about The Tooth.
You remember The Tooth, yeah? The one that cracked a short while ago? Went to the dentist yesterday to have it looked at and to have my teeth cleaned.
This was the first time I had been to the dentist in maybe 7 years or more...I think. Toothfully, I can't remember. It's been THAT long, I just have no recollection of when my last dental visit was.
But my new dentist? Love the guy. And for the sake of this blog I shall call him Dr. Vic Mackey. He has a shaved head, kind of a thick build but not fat, and even though he had a goatee it wasn't a thicker goatee like yours truly, it was understated, so I'm comfortable enough with the nickname...besides...I miss The Shield.
As it turns out, The Tooth did not break because of internal decay like its brother before it. Though there is some incidental decay in two OTHER teeth where fillings have kind of separated a bit from the teeth themselves. One didn't surprise me at all, considering that lately it was becoming sensitive to temperature.
But The Tooth actually cracked because of ME. I bit it off.
Allow me to explain.
I grind my teeth in my sleep. At least, that's what my last dentist told me she thought I was doing, because of some scratches she had seen on my teeth that indicated as much. But Dr. Mackey said that looking at my teeth today, especially at the wear and tear on my METAL fillings, I must be grinding like a mufugga (not his word choice) to be causing this kind of internal pressure.
He thinks I simply crunched my own tooth apart because of the pressure of grinding my teeth, probably due to excess stress. I told him that I have a diagnosed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety, and he said...'Makes sense.'
He then asked me if I got the PTSD by serving in the military. I hesitated for a moment and said 'No, I had an abusive childhood.' He said he was sorry. Looked uncomfortable too. I told him not to worry about it. We moved on and started talking about plans to fix the teeth and ways to possibly keep the teeth from grinding at night.
HOLY SHIT dental insurance sucks the big one. This is going to cost WAY more than I thought...and the thing to keep me from grinding? I can't afford that thing. I'll have to maybe find a homemade solution for the time being. After all is said and done, we're looking at a couple of grand for my big mouth.
The funny thing is though, that as I left the office and came home, the cost of all of this dental work (and I am glad it isn't going to need a root canal by the way) wasn't really what was on my mind. What I couldn't stop thinking about was that exchange about the PTSD between me and the Doc. That conversation has been bothering me ever since it occurred.
Before I go into the 'why' it is important to remind everybody (cause my Mom does read this blog 'Hi Mom!') that my Mom was not the source of this childhood abuse I mentioned, and I'll have much more to say about this entire subject at another time. My Father leaving and wanting nothing to do with me was one part of this problem and then my Step-Father came in and was the abusive parent. My Mom was unaware of most of the really harsh and weird stuff that took place, and I never told her.
Again...subject for another time, but I've had discussions with Mom before and she always says that when I bring up the subject it always makes her wonder what people must think of her since I have never really clarified the situation in black and white...I keep meaning to, and will completely, consider that a preamble. But my Mom was really my beacon of light in the darkness growing up. Anything good I have or am came from her side. The bad stuff? That came from someplace else.
But about this exchange between me and Dr. Vic Mackey.
Why is it that, even though it is a documented fact that adults that have suffered from Childhood Abuse can grow up to have PTSD or Anxiety because of it, or Dysthymia or other types of Depression disorders, and, even though Childhood Abuse is a very serious thing, something no one should ever take lightly, why is it that I would much rather be able to answer 'Yes' to the question 'Did you ever serve in the military?' when someone asks me a question like that about PTSD rather than say 'No, I had an abusive childhood.'
I'll tell you why I THINK I feel this way.
Because it is so much easier for other people to accept me for who I am if they imagine that I was somewhere dodging bullets and bombs in my late teens and early twenties and watching people getting their arms and legs blown off than it is for people to accept me for who I am because my Daddy called me names, slapped me around a little and did a few weird things to me when I was a kid.
And that's a fact.
'That was so LONG ago.'
'Can't you just learn to put the past BEHIND you?'
'You just have to get over that stuff, it isn't happening anymore.'
'Why can't you just forget about the past and learn to be happy?'
'If you would just stop thinking about it your life would be a whole lot easier.'
These are the kinds of things that have regularly been said to me throughout my life, and often by people very, very close to me, who perpetuate this feeling of, I don't know...embarrassment? I don't know what to call it even, when it comes to answering the question about the PTSD or the Anxiety. Not to mention that I could certainly TRY to nutshell in how Bennett's disability added a whole new dimension to this already difficult to manage disability or disorder of my own.
But I do manage it. I just wish I had a snazzier, more seductive reason to give in a situation like that one. One that the general population was more...comfortable with. 'Yeah...served in the Gulf. Man...when the shit went down, there was oil and blood everywhere man, I was scared shitless.'
But that would not be the truth, and I wouldn't be comfortable with anything but the truth. So I've learned to just answer the question and brace myself for 'The Look', which I get a lot, and got yesterday, and then I get on with my day.
Most of the time anyway.
Or sometimes, just sometimes, like it did in the dentist's office, it sticks in my craw for a day or two, and I have to put in a little extra effort to get it out.
What the hell IS a craw, anyway?
Well...at least it's not stuck in my tooth.