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#428477 - 03/20/13 03:36 AM Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
As if the last few months of my life haven't been enough of a laugh riot, I also had to have ongoing emergency dental surgery. I went years without going to the dentist, both because I never ever had any pain and because I'm a wuss on that stuff. FWIW, the dentist, the oral surgeon, and all of their support staff have never once lectured me. They hear the same story every day. So I had an impacted wisdom tooth that was crashing into a rear tooth and crumbling it. Extracting the wisdom tooth was relatively easy. Trying to save the rear tooth with well over a month of root canal is a whole nother animal.

And tonight bad shit happened. We were on round 4 I think. By now the nerves inside the tooth have been extracted, there is nothing to hurt - so there was no need for novocaine. So he just drilled and poked around in there and I got really panicky that he was about to miss, or it was about to hurt, and I'd just go nuts from it. That very bad anticipation anxiety lasted over an hour straight.


I feel like I've done a good job getting used to having my mouth open and poked around in. I hug myself and watch movies in my head that I've memorized. But tonight... on 4 different occasions the dentist moved my head around by hooking a fingertip behind my teeth and YANKING AND DRAGGING my head where he wanted to go. This was radioactively Not Okay, I can't ever ever ever stand when people touch my head by surprise and being roughly yanked around was... too much. He also had one of those permanent sprayer things in my mouth and there was another first related to that tonight: he'd periodically bark at me to SWALLOW!


A few sudden yanks and a few SWALLOWS! wore down my hugging myself and watching cartoons in my head. I started shaking, I tried to hold my hands tighter so it wouldn't be seen, which made it more obvious. And I must have looked bad. He started teasing me: "Matt, whatsa matter? You okay? Am I - haha - am I traumatizing you?"

He was joking but also seemed serious as he repeatedly asked if I was okay. He asked again when I was finally able to stand up - that something seemed wrong. I looked around all behind me to make sure the hygienist wasn't in the room - and, um, ok, I kept glancing back AGAIN to reverify that she wasn't there. Now he was looking at me funny.

I got in close to him. Couldn't believe I was about to say it.

"So, listen. When I was a kid there was an abuse situation that I was in. An abuse situation that mostly focused around my mouth. Do you understand what I'm saying, DOCTOR? So if I seem tense or wound-up that's why."

He nodded quickly, didn't miss a beat. "I hear you. I'll try to talk my way through more of the steps of what I'm doing so you have a clearer idea - so nothing takes you by surprise. Ok?"

I wanted to say no that wasn't ok, that he also wasn't allowed to yank my head around and tell me to swallow, but I just felt tired and overexposed and didnt want to paint such a clear picture for this man, so I said ok.

Have been.... grouchy and sad all the rest of the night and just want to go to sleep for 3 days. I need a vacation from this. Even when I'm overall feeling better it's like a seismograph needle, the needle always moves, the signal never goes away, I'll never have something entirely free of it, again.

I know some other guys here have had flare-ups related to medical procedures - and the trust / vulnerability / exposure / access issues that go with them. Feel free to share if you want.

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#428482 - 03/20/13 05:46 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: SoccerStar]
DavoSwim Offline

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 397
Loc: Midwest
Here's my story. Last year I was hospitalized with gastrointestinal obstructions. Scar tissue had sealed off the duodenum so nothing could get through. The only solution was surgery to remove a portion of the duodenum. In addition to missing about a foot of intestine, I now have a nice 8 inch scar down my abdomen to remind me of the experience. In some ways it's nice, because it accentuates the linea alba, making it look like I've got an eight pack. During the surgery I had a catheter inserted. When it was time to remove it, the nurse, without warning, and without permission, just pulled up my hospital gown while I was lying in bed, leaving me exposed to the world. As though this weren't humiliating enough, she then reached down and grabbed my junk and started to remove the catheter. I thought she was taking way too long to pull it out. It probably only took about 10 sec to take it out, but it seemed like it was taking hours. In fact, I felt like she wasn't taking it out, but instead was fondling me. I panicked and froze up, which made it harder to pull out the catheter. I was screaming in my head for her to get her hands off my junk. I had flashbacks to 40 years ago, when I was held down and fondled by my perp. In basically an instant, years of buried memories came back. I spent the rest of the day, and several days after that, trying to relax and recover, doing what I could to get the memories of what had just happened out of my head. I couldn't even look at that nurse again the rest of my stay. I even requested that she not be assigned to me again. I realize she was only doing her job, but in my case she unleashed too many painful memories. Even now, I look at my scar and the memories return. It's taken a lot of therapy for me to be able to look at my scar without anxiety. To compound the problem, the doctors have said that I could develop obstructions again, so the thoughts of having to go through that again are always there. I just have to learn to keep them in check


#428528 - 03/20/13 06:11 PM . [Re: SoccerStar]
Life's A Dream Offline

Registered: 08/25/11
Posts: 886
Loc: Bouvet Island

Edited by Life's A Dream (04/22/13 02:59 AM)

#428549 - 03/21/13 02:47 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: Life's A Dream]
txb Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 410
Originally Posted By: Life's A Dream
My mom said when I was little, if she tried to put anything in my mouth (medicine, cough syrup, whatever) that around the age of 5 or so I would go COMPLETELY BALLISTIC and it would freak her out, cuz it made no sense.

Well it makes sense to me. I still can't swallow medicines. I have these tablets that dissolve so you don't need to swallow them. And I take kiddy ibuprofen. Which means you need to drink about half a bottle just for a headache.

Hate hate hate hate hate the dentist. (I wonder if they learn about this stuff at dentist school and how to deal with patients who have been abused?) I have avoided it for a while now. Last time I went I had to be sedated. For a check up. I think I might have some kind of problem caused by the stuff that was done to me. But I can live with it. Its absolutely not worth the trauma of seeing a doctor to get it confirmed or not.

#428566 - 03/21/13 05:26 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: SoccerStar]
Farmer Boy Offline

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: txb
I still can't swallow medicines.

I can so so so SO relate to that!!!!

To swallow a tablet I have to push it right to the back of my tongue - one at a time. I just can't do it any other way. When I was younger my mum would crush them up in honey - which tasted horrible BTW. My wife laughs at me every time she sees me. She can just throw a handfill in and swallow....I would serious choke. I KNOW this is because of the 'stuff' that was done to me.

As for the Dentist stuff. I haven't been for 12 years so not since my CSA flared up. I am dreading it. I am actually thinking of finding a woman dentist. I know I need a check up. Luckily so far I have had good teeth.

maybe Trigger Here.....

Other medical procedures .... prostate exam ..... done the old fashioned way. As if dropping my pants and getting in the fetal position wasn't triggering enough. (I was fondled inappropriately repeatedly by a female doctor from 11-12) My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my toes. When he inserted his finger I flinched so bad I nearly elbowed him in the head. Even though I knew what was coming. Then when he touched 'it' I nearly passed out. He said 'Good boy'. Do you believe that. I was 35 so I was anything but a 'boy'. I'm sure you can imagine how that comment sat with me.....NOT WELL!!! It took all of my being not to scream at him 'I AM NOT ANYONES BOY ANYMORE!!!!' I was VERY pale afterwards and he asked if I was ok. 'Yep - are we done' and I pulled my pants up and was out of there and in my car so fast. I instantly put it out of my mind as if it NEVER happened. I doubt I could do that now.

More than meets the eye!

#428567 - 03/21/13 06:15 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: SoccerStar]
Farmer Boy Offline

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia

AND Matt - what you went through sounds excruciatingly horrible. It was painful just to read and hear you being so 'radioactively' triggered. My heart goes out to you man. BUT - in the end you took control. You told him it was not ok by explainung the 'why'. I am sure next time WILL be different. Because you spoke up at the risk of exposing yourself you took care of your self - you protected yourself from future trauma.

And last of all - As you get further down the recovery road you WILL have more and more times where you are free form 'it'. We have to believe that. 'It' is not who you are. 'It' is just a symptom that CAN be managed. 'It' may not go away completely but the effects of 'it' will be so miniscule that they will not even register on the richter scale.

That day will come! You will be Matt33 again.

More than meets the eye!

#428585 - 03/21/13 11:06 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: SoccerStar]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1286

I'm sorry you had to go through that. Dental visits are rarely pleasant-even on a good day. You draw a vivid picture of what you endured---and given your past experience---why the dental visit was so traumatic.

The dentist's response to your disclosure sounds less than sympathetic. I don't know if it is a function of this guy's chairside manner, or a complete lack of empathy for CSA victims. He may not have firsthand experience with CSA, but his lack of empathy is troubling.

You deserved better.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#428871 - 03/24/13 01:46 AM Re: Dental DAMN! Medical procedures as triggers [Re: SoccerStar]
unhappycamper Offline

Registered: 10/21/11
Posts: 754
Loc: VA
I've only had panic problems with the digital prostate exam, but I certainly understand all the posts above. Your trigger problems don't seems weird to me, at all.

When I reached a sufficient level of maturity to have regular colonoscopies, I told the GI doctor about the CSA. I told him I wasn't "embarrassed" about having the exam, I was worried about having flashbacks. He seemed to understand and used full anesthesia (not just Valium-type stuff). He even browbeat my "health" "insurance" into covering it! Turns out the standard is to use only a sedative.

I haven't had trigger problems with dental treatments, but at home I did freak out over a mouthful of toothpaste suds a few times.

Finally, here's something to keep in mind for those disgusting digital rectal exams: women doctors have smaller hands. ;^}



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