Saturday, December 6, 2008

my father, the dentist, and needles

i have always been afraid of the dentist. okay, not always. i had a really traumatic experience when i was 19, getting my wisdom teeth pulled. nowadays you have the option to sleep. no, i had the full on vibrating jackhammer to gums fully awake and aware. i felt like i was being tortured for government secrets, like on an episode of "24" or "Alias." but i think my fear of the dentist and other medical procedures, were fostered in me very early on by my father.

my father would tell me about his oral surgery while he was serving in vietnam. detail by detail. and then he would tell me about his root canals, detail by detail. the drills, the needles. i cringe just thinking about it. after those stories and my one bad episode with my wisdom teeth, i have not gone to the dentist in like 5 years. bad, huh? not only that, whenever i walk into a hospital, i feel like my skin is crawling, and i start to get anxious and uncomfortable in my own skin.  i also feel like that when i am visiting someone in the hospital. 

recently, my father got diagnosed with multiple myeloma, cancer of the blood. he was anemic and in pain for the last month, and finally went to the hospital, a day before thanksgiving. he had all the symptoms of myeloma, including a mass found in his kidney (hence, multiple myeloma). yesterday, my parents were advised to have my father go under chemotherapy twice a week, and also take medication. my mom was positive because the doctor said this treatment causes a high survival rate, IF the treatment was followed completely. i said, okay, that's good. and then my father started mumbling and grumbling about needles, and IV, and the discomfort of taking 10 pills in one day. i thought, hey it's a small price to pay for your health, but held my tongue, because i am not in his shoes. but, i could see myself in him. 

i'm such a baby when it comes to any type of pain. i am holding back on taking insulin shots, because of the needles, but it's been 4 months since i was diagnosed with diabetes, and my lifestyle has not changed and my blood sugar has made little progress. and if i want to have a shot at having kids, i need to get off the diabetic meds and onto insulin shots. it made me think of my father and how he was being so stubborn about his health. i had started to become the same way. 

so, today i choose to be an adult and take care of my health. i choose not to let my fear prevent me from having the life i deserve. and i pray that my father, for the sake of his health, and for his family, i pray that he give his taurus-driven stubborness  a rest, at least for now, and do what's best for him.

No comments: