I had a flashback today in the most bizarre place.
I was at my dental appointment and suddenly I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe and like I could cry at any moment. Now, most people would assume that it was some sort of dental-phobia that I was suffering from, but the truth is…I like going to the dentist. I know that sounds strange, but going to the dentists office is one of the few places that I can’t take my kids, so I kind of look forward to it. Kind of like my yearly OB exam.
I know this is a new dimension to my craziness, but trust me…as a single mother to 3 kids, I’ll take the breaks where I can get them.
Normally, when I’m sitting there, I get so relaxed while they chip away at my teeth that I practically go to sleep. It helps a lot that my dentist has these awesome massaging dental chairs. I’m sure I pay extra for that, but when you don’t get some rubbing a whole lot in your every day life, you’ll take what you can get.
I practically need a cigarette when I leave.
Anyway, today, after over 3 years of my husband being gone, I had this flashback to when I went to the dentist right after he died. And I mean right after. It suddenly occurred to me today how weird that was. He had just died 2 weeks earlier and I still kept my dentist appointment? I mean, what was I thinking?
The only reasonable answer I can come up with is that I was trying to keep everything as normal as possible. For example: As I was coming home from the hospital right after he died, I was asking people, “Has anyone taken the kids to McDonald’s lately? Who’s taking my daughter to ballet tomorrow?” Like, if I acted normal, everything would be normal.
So, what’s more normal than your regular dental appointment? I mean, if everything is okay…why shouldn’t you go?
I showed up, plopped myself down in the chair, and talked to my regular hygienist. She asked me all of the routine questions, one of which was if I was on any new medication lately. To which I replied, “Well, I’m taking Ambien because my husband died 2 weeks ago. Which reminds me…you should probably cancel his next appointment because he won’t be able to make it.”
Being new to the Widow Game, I hadn’t learned the hard lesson of what a conversation stopper that is. My hygienist promptly put her clipboard down, teared up, and had to excuse herself.
Which of course made me late bringing my kids to McDonald’s later.
As we all know, grief just sneaks up on us. Its attacks are farther apart, but they still come. Even though I’ve been fine going to the dentist for 3 years, suddenly today, I just wasn’t. And it brought on an anxiety attack of epic proportions.
I usually don’t do that until I get my bill. Damn, I miss having Dental.
When I get this way, I feel like I’m drowning from the inside out. I can’t breathe. I can’t see straight. But instead of the water coming in, it’s coming out of me faster than I can keep up with it. I know that there are other factors involved…work stress…personal stress…and my daughter’s birthday coming up. Who knew that it would all come to a head in front of a masked woman with a pick in her hand?
Lately, I feel like I’m just treading water as fast as I can, trying to fight the current that’s doing its best to pull me under. I try as hard as I can to remind myself that these are all (relatively) little things that are making me feel this way. When I look at the big picture, we’re all doing pretty well. We’re healthy. The kids are happy. And even though I have to pay out of pocket for a dental exam…I’m able to pay out of pocket for a dental exam.
All things to be grateful for.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. If you haven’t already figured out by this blog…I’m feeling a little lost right now. But there is one thing that makes me feel better. And that’s you all my Widow Chick friends.
Because I may feel like I’m drowning a little. But I always know…we’re all bailing out the same boat.