Shots cause me an inordinate amount of anxiety. Of course, I always feel the need to explain my phobia. I prepare nurses with the story of my early childhood trauma, how at the tender age of three I received sixty-four shots within the space of eight days. I pass on my mother's comment that I looked like a human pin cushion. I tell them to brace themselves for my wimpy reaction to the needle they are about to administer.
Last week, my dental visit ended with the dentist proclaiming that I had chipped one of the teeth they had just filled last year. He said they would have to dig out the filling and re-fill that tooth. To be honest, I left wondering if said dentist was being fully honest with me or if he was acting more like a dishonest mechanic, with visions of more income generated from useless procedures.
I poured out my anxiety in a letter to my mother. The thought of another loopy day from the nitrous gas was not pleasant. I wasn't thrilled about the expense, either.
My mother immediately wrote back begging me to take the shot and veto the nitrous gas. She is fully aware of my reactions to shots. She's had to accompany me to a few of these experiences (including one time when both Dawn and I passed out after receiving a shot and our younger brother, Tim, sat on a chair, waiting for us to come to, sucking on his lollipop). However, she urged against the gas because we know of a family in The Salvation Army who took their 16 year old son, Nick, for a routine dental procedure and, after a faulty administration of nitrous gas, Nick has lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair, with paralysis and mental limitations. My mother had visions of the same tragedy striking again.
I replied to her letter, promising her that I would take the shot, despite the anxiety it creates within me. That left me building up to another roller coaster of anxiety and fear.
I fully understand that my fears are unwarranted. I know that psychologically I blow this whole thing out of proportion, but the fears are not dispelled by rational argument. The closer I came to the hour of doom, the more antsy and nervous I became.
My little boys prayed for me last night in their nightly prayers. Then, today, as John acknowledged that I was behaving as if I was going before a firing squad, Trevor scooted off to his art room. Just before I headed out the door to go to my dreaded appointment, Trevor ran up with this drawing and absolutely melted my heart.
If you click on it, you can enlarge it, but basically it is a drawing of himself giving me two helpful reminders: 1) "I love you, Mom" and 2) "Im all ways on your sid."
You know what? The shot didn't even hurt. The nurse heard my anxieties and explanations and promised to slather on an extra large dose of the topical numbing agent before the dentist came in to administer the shot. I didn't even feel a pinch. The hardest thing in the whole appointment was merely holding my mouth open so wide to accomodate the hands and instruments.
And really, that's how it is with so many things in my life. I build up my fears and minimize my reserves for dealing with the challenges. In the end, things are usually not as bad as I feared and I'm more able to cope than I dared to believe.
But, I'm still framing this simple picture. It isn't one of Trevor's best (he's usually far more artistic than this spur of the moment drawing, made as he searched for a way to encourage my spirit), but it is one of his most profound!