Ruminations from a Dental Chair

I began feeling a little funny two nights ago. I thought maybe I was coming down with a cold. I was a bit sneezy and felt sore in the sinuses. Last night in class, I was feeling more acute pain localized in my mouth. I stuck my (clean) finger in my mouth and back around my upper right wisdom tooth. Ouch.

I called my dentist on the way home from class, and pleaded for a next day appointment.

I. Hate. Dentists. Okay, that is not entirely fair, I don’t hate THEM, but I have had some awful experiences with dental professionals. And, while I cannot call myself a sufferer of dendropophobia, there is certainly a bit of anxiety around my teeth!

I presumed I was going to get my wisdom tooth extracted. The pain I had been feeling the previous night was unique and unbearable without ibuprofen and Orajel.

I hopped into the chair. The dentist came in. She looked and scraped. They took X-Rays. She did not see anything wrong with the tooth, per se, but thought I should get rid of it anyhow.

It was really going to happen. I knew this had the ingredients of a significant emotional event which I might be able to use later for substitution. So, I studied the room. Immersed myself in the experience.

I also began to think about what was keeping me in the room, considering I was rather conflicted about the whole thing. Well, to speak in actor terms, my Objective or Goal/Need (whatever you chose to call it) was: Relieve Pain In My Mouth.

Let’s break down some things I noticed while waiting for the dentist to return (I was numbing up):

I came to the dentist to relieve the pain (Objective). I knew this probably meant tooth removal.
I did have to overcome an obstacle (fear) in order to make the appointment and get to the office.
Once in the chair and waiting, I considered leaving.
What kept me in the room? Knowing that if I left, I would probably have to live with the pain.
Since I knew this was going to be a difficult experience, my behavior was influenced by that feeling of anxiety or fear.
I was very nice, told the hygienist and the dentist I was phobic, and asked for gas.

What events in your life remind you of preparation for a role?

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