Mind Monsters

by Bella Rum

Cracked heartI cracked a tooth or lost a filling (or both) while eating something I shouldn’t have eaten to begin with. You know I’m phobic about the dentist. See there. I wrote that little word ‘phobic’ and you passed right over it. That’s because people use it too often, like ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’, but I mean it when I use it. I’m a mad woman when it comes to dentists: clammy palms, upset stomach, trembling hands, racing heart. In case you’re a more recent visitor here or forgot (and why should you remember my idiosyncrasies?), dentists cannot desensitize my back molars. Something about the nerves not being where they’re supposed to be. Of course, the tooth in question is a back molar, but you knew that, didn’t you?

I sometimes let the mind monsters take up space in my head, and I begin to fear the worst will happen. Notice I said fear the worst, not expect the worst. Take the colonoscopy. I wasn’t concerned about the colonoscopy or the results. I didn’t expect bad news, but…. I take Warfarin (blood thinner) because I have AFib. Some of you may be familiar with AFib because you have it or have a loved one who has it.

I had to stop taking Warfarin five days before the colonoscopy in case the doctor found polyps and had to remove them. You don’t want to be on a blood thinner when someone starts snip, snip, snipping away at your colon, and I would have had to stay off it longer if the doctor had actually removed polyps.

With AFib, when the blood thickens, there’s risk of forming a blood clot that could cause a stroke. I worry about this when I have to stop taking the Warfarin for a while. I recognize that discontinuing the Warfarin for five days is an “acceptable” risk – kind of like driving on New Year’s Eve. Still, it makes me nervous. An increased risk for stroke (small though it may be) is a scary thing to me.

So, when I’m required to submit to something that, intellectually, I know is best for me, but my gut believes I’m about to meet with catastrophe, my body reacts by giving me an anxiety attack. I must be getting better, though. H thought I maintained an acceptable level of terror leading up to the colonoscopy episode. Everything is relative, I guess.

I know there will be more of the same in the future, and that all of us look down the same road eventually. I do get it, and I try hard not to let the mind monsters terrorize me too much. I wish I could get my gut to line up with my intellect. I wish I could be a little braver when I find myself in a scary situation, a little more stoic a little more trusting that all will turn out as it should. I love that trait in others. I’m striving. That’s all I can say.