Friday, 8 March 2013

The Dentist: me and the cats


My friends on Twitter know that I have recently had a number of dental appointments and [advanced warning Twitter mates] there’s another one looming in a few weeks’ time. As a child I wasn’t scared of the dentist… I was PETRIFIED! This fear still lives deep in my psyche even though the dentist no longer wields a pneumatic drill and I rarely experience pain, even for major treatment. She’s an excellent dentist [added in case she ever reads this!] so why am I still terrified?

I also experience fear by proxy, especially when it’s my pets and during the last few weeks both cats have had to go to the vets for dental work. Animals are so dependent on us. They can’t be reasoned with. We can’t explain. Taking them for treatment makes me feel that I’m betraying their trust in me, even though I know it’s for their long term health.

Their treatment was spaced over two weeks. First it was Charlie’s turn. Nil by mouth for both cats from 10 pm and the cat flap locked overnight. Charlie had four teeth out, scale and polish. She came home later that day high on pain killers, pupils dilated and legs crossing slightly as she walked staggered around. By the following day she was subdued but on the mend and eating a little soft food.

This week it was Mabel’s turn. Nil by mouth and locked cat flap sent Charlie into a panic. This caused me double guilt when it came to forcing an unsuspecting Mabel into the cat carrier. She had one tooth out and returned home angry and starving. She demolished two bowls of food and moved swiftly on to the dried stuff. [Yes, she is the larger of the two cats!]

All that’s left from their experiences now are matching shaved squares on their necks from the blood test and the same on their legs from the anaesthetic. They’ve moved on. I’m the one with the trauma and guilt. What does it take for me to forget those childhood experiences.

This is a photo of Charlie showing off her bald patch. Mabel refused to pose. She's indignant and is hiding under Daughter's bed!


[To prove that they’ve 'moved on', we came home last night to the two of them taunting a poor little mouse in the house, but that’s another blog story. Suffice to say that we rescued and released the mouse into the garden to be caught another day.]

28 comments:

  1. You won't ever forget the childhood stuff, Ros - but writing about them can make them lose their power, especially if you can make it funny - then all the childish ridiculousness falls into place.

    (I was lucky - my uncle was a dentist, and he was the sweetest, kindest man. I don't like going, but it doesn't leave me quivering.)

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    1. Your uncle sounds lovely. I wish I'd been to him as a child.

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  2. An awful experience for you and your feline friends! To take your mind of these events, hope you have a very happy International Women's Day, Rosalind.

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    1. I almost blogged about International Women's Day but the statistics were so sad, inequality at best, rapes at worse, that I made the decision to be upbeat. It's a massive issue.

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  3. Replies
    1. I wonder if dentists are scared of themselves?

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  4. Luckily our Ellie's teeth did not get worse. Somehow her new feed is actually helping
    I do understand fear though! keep the teeth more clean and her bad breath is gone :)
    I myself was not allowed to be afraid of the dentist. Luckily that I was able to comply.
    However I do understand how fear can be a tough one.

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    1. We have special food for our cats too, large crunchier biscuits. Fortunately they like eating it and it hopefully will prevent further treatment.

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  5. You made me laugh with this, Ros, although I am deeply sympathetic to your fear. Even so, the feeling of 'having betrayed' when you have to take the animals to the vet is something I can relate to well. You describe it perfectly too. They forget the trauma within a matter of hours. We are the ones riddled with guilt about inflicting this upon them. By the way, I al also terrified of the dentist....haven't been for years as a result.

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    1. It's a strange thing that's though I'm petrified, I can't let myself not go. I torment myself with appointments twice a year!

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  6. PS Why would anyone even become a dentist, I wonder....

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    1. I've heard the pay is quite acceptable!

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  7. A few time I've visited the shelter's cat rooms. As I look at each cat, I always wonder what circumstance made someone give up this cat. They are very lucky if they get adopted. That is why, I too, feel so responsible for my pets. They are totally dependent on humans when we remove them from the wild. There are 2 feral cats at the ranch that sleep in the barn. I put up a big feeder for them and little heated houses. They won't come near me. Sometimes I see 2 eyes watching me from the bushes. I keep the feeder full and I don't know what more I can do for them.

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    1. Poor little things. It's sad when they're so scared of us.

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  8. Poor kitties. I never heard of a cat having teeth pulled, but I can understand why you'd be a little traumatized on their behalf. I'd hate if our "girls" had a dental problem. So, um, now does Charlie have to get a little feline dental bridge? HA! (Just kidding.)

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    1. I've covered their eyes so they can't read your teasing!!

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  9. I have to take Barney for a descale later this year. I'm not looking forward to it.

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  10. I'm petrified of the dentist too! Your little cats were so brave and so was you! x

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    1. Is it our generation? I suspect it is.

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  11. I hate the dentist and only go when I need to. I wish they would put a silencer on the drill. Poor cats but at least their sleeping when tooth is pulled. Good luck with next dental appointment.

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  12. I'm terrified of dentists too. Mine is lovely - very gentle, kind and funny - and still I hate going. Good luck with your next appointment!

    Glad your cats have moved on. Our old cat has 3 teeth remaining. He had the rest taken out in one visit to the vet. Oh my. We were so worried. However, he came back from the vet's and raced straight to his food bowl. It took him no time at all to move on. :)

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  13. I don't like the dentist due to discomfort. Poor kitties.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. Not sure my dentist would approve of your chocolate hugs but thanks any way ;-)

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  14. I know just what you mean, Rosalind. I was petrified of dentist visits as a child. Probably because I always had multiple cavities and they never gave me Novocaine. That fear is hard to overcome. I still get ridiculously tense in that examination chair.
    Good luck with your next appointment.

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  15. I, too, along with many other people dreaded dental visits. Yup, even a grown man like me. I haven't read anything explaining people's fear from dentists, but I think mine was caused by a little unfortunate event that occurred when I was younger. I think it keeps getting better with my every visit though. I wish the same for you.
    Reginald Cooper

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