Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sparring with Windmills

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.


  1. Dental care hits us hard too. Since we are self employed we have no coverage. That means Billy's braces hit our pocketbook HARD. I'm happy to hear that your new government has blessed families with some help! We just voted in the same government we had already so I don't expect any great changes.

  2. I know just how he feels. I had 3 unneccessary root canals in one of my teeth that had a tiny cavity. And then, when it was STILL hurting, I found out it was my sinuses from my allergies.

    Hope you are feeling better soon!

    I really appreciated your take on worrying. There are times when I can be the queen of worrying!

  3. That is a blessing when the government can actually do something for you! We paid for Marina's braces out of pocket because our insurance didn't cover it. We are lucky to know an orthodontist among our homeschooling friends, and he offered a discount to homeschoolers.

    My mom learned a way to deal with her worries that might help Logan. When her mind starts racing ahead into worst-case scenarios, she says "Stop!" out loud and takes a deep breath. She says this usually helps.

    Peace and Laughter!

  4. What a blessing! I wish all my dental visits could end so well! But I sure understand the anxiety build-up - I do it all the time, and way too often. Thanks for the reminder. Have fun? Sometimes I forget that it's o.k. to relax and enjoy life - I stress too much over issues.

    I'm glad Logan didn't need a filling or worse. And good for you, Mom, to talk to him about his response to the anxiety. I have started telling my kids, literally, "This is how you should respond" because sometimes they just don't know. If they want to respond differently in the future, that's fine, but for now, it's up to me to explain.

    The dental voucher is a blessing as well. A nice thing from the government, what a good idea!


    P.S. As a matter of fact, Chad sees his orthodontist tomorrow for his monthly tune-up on his braces (not covered by insurance). We are just over half-way paid up on them, only 7 more months to go!

  5. I am a glass half full kind of girl...all the time. My husband, as you might guess is a glass running on empty and no gas station in sight.

    His motto used to be, "Well if I don't worry about it, who will?"

    And does worrying about it change the fact of anything? No. So just do the best with what you have and move on.

    Glad all was well with his teeth.