A few nights ago, my son Logan was walking around grumbling and frowning because he had a bit of a toothache and he hates going to the dentist. I managed to get him in for an appointment the very following day because somebody else had cancelled. It was for 4.30 and all day long, he was moping and groaning. "She always finds something with my teeth! She's filled some and pulled some, this time she'll probably say most of them need to come out and the few that are left need braces." Although he wasn't serious about this, he still managed to talk himself into a real state of nerves. I could understand him, because last year he needed six baby eye-teeth pulled. The new ones had grown so high in his gums, the old ones were showing no signs of getting loose. But although that was over and done with, he was still expecting the worst. By the time we were sitting in the waiting room, I could just about feel anxiety waves radiating from him.
When we went in, the dentist tried her best to work out why the tooh had been hurting. She tapped it and scraped it and put cold stuff on it, but it looked OK. So she took an X-ray of it, and after peering at it, asked him if he'd had a cold. He had been going around with a snuffling, hay-fevery, thick head sort of thing a few days before, so she showed us on the X-ray how his sinuses were playing up with the nerves and roots of his teeth. "In a few more days, it shouldn't be giving you any more trouble at all."
So Logan left the clinic trying to appear all nonchalent, as if he hadn't been worried at all. And I warned him not to ever let himself get the way I used to be (and still am if I don't take care). I was the sort of person who'd always assume the worst case scenario must be true until it was completely ruled out. If I read a medical article, I was sure to discover I had heaps of the symptoms. And if Andrew and the kids were late coming back from somewhere, I'd imagine all sorts of road carnage or other disasters. I've found part of the solution is to have a good laugh at myself and treat this sort of thinking as a bit of a joke. And I remembered the classic old story of Don Quixote, wasting so much time and energy trying to attack something he perceived as a huge threat, but turned out to be nothing but a group of windmills. Although everyone has a giggle at poor old Don Quixote and that story, I have to see we're not always that much brighter. I've certainly fought my share of windmills in my past, and cringe to think of how much fun I could have been having instead of wasting the time I spent worrying.
It helps to find the good in each situation too. In this case of the dentist, I was able to use a special voucher we'd received in the post. Our new government has decided tha teenagers should be especially targeted for preventative dental surgery, so earlier in the year, we received a teenage dental voucher entitling Logan to have a free $150 worth of treatment. At last I was able to use it to cover this check-up and X-ray. And next year we'll get another one. Family dental care usually hits us in the wallet worst of all, but this time all I needed to do was sign a Medicare claim form. And they start coming when kids turn 11, so after another year, Emma will be eligible too. All I can say is "Thank you, Mr Rudd." It's pretty good when you can actually benefit from something the government is doing.