the PANIC visit

In my post ‘quality of life…. (or lack of it)‘, I wrote the following –

With the recent move to Tampa, Florida and change in healthcare, comes more doctor visits, appointments and more medications.

The transition to this area is a struggle with regards to finding new doctors and scheduling the appointments.

In today’s post, I write the following –


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One of the previous mentioned appointments was with a new dentist.  I was fortunate to see a new dentist within the first week because once my chemotherapy begins I should not be having any dental work.  There is always the possibility of an infection and during chemotherapy my white blood count is low and therefore more prone to infections.  So, my first visit with the new dentist was an examination that included the usual x-rays that resulted in me having a cavity.  I very seldom have cavities and was surprised to learn I had one.

Okay, two days later and another dentist appointment to take care of the cavity.  Before I write about this appointment, let’s go back about 14 hours –

It is the night before and I am experiencing a great deal of back pain.  I take pain pills and go to bed extremely early – around 7:00 PM.  I am unable to rest or sleep, so around 11:00 PM I am taking additional pills for pain and sleep.  I do finally receive some sleep, but the next morning, I am tired.

Early morning Gary and I depart for the dental appointment and I am excited about using a new smartphone app that I can use for street parking near the dentist office.


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I set the time and pay for two hours the maximum amount allowed.  Gary is also having a dental appointment the same time so, two hours should be enough time.  The dentist is running behind and I become a little nervous about the time, but I know I can extend it from my smartphone.  It is the first time I have used it, so I am a little nervous that maybe it will not work and I will receive a ticket.

Now I am sitting in a chair and receive my injection to numb my mouth.  Oh, did I mention I do not like to go to dentists?  I have Cancer and deal with appointments, procedures, IVs and blood tests – but going to the dentist makes me nervous.

Now I am at another dentist appointment to take care of the cavity – it is time – but the mouth does not feel numb.  The dentist decides to give me another shot.


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Within minutes, half my throat goes numb as does part of my vocal cords.  I am having trouble swallowing and breathing.  I request the staff to get Gary in the room – I need him.  The dentist thinks I may be having an allergic reaction to the lidocaine.  I am not allergic to anything – I receive an Epipen injection.

911 is called just in case there is an allergic reaction – but they are not needed.

I am having a panic attack as the throat is swollen, I am unable to swallow and breath and having difficulty speaking – I am also crying.

After some time to relax, I go through with getting the cavity fix because chemotherapy starts in 2 days.

I am glad I do not have to see the dentist again for another 6 months.

64 thoughts on “the PANIC visit

  1. Oh nooooo I have dentist on Monday and I too have reaction to anaesthetic, my whole body shakes uncontrollably like I am havng an epilectic seizure. I also have teeth that refuse to go numb and had a whole procedure done last year without pain relief. I share your nervousness, but glad you got through it. I at least have the reassurance of a lovely Portuguese dentist who is so patient and understanding. As a joke, after several torturous appointments where he seemed to use the full gamut of instruments, I bought him a dvd of Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier about the dentist who uses his ‘skills’ for actual torture! He thought that was hilarious 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with your visit Chris, I never have experienced this before in prior dentist visits – this was a first for me. This experience will make even more difficult for me to visit a dentist in the future. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have never had a panic attach at the dentist. I have always been nervous about dental visits – I just do not like the fingers and instruments in my mouth and I find it difficult to breath. I feel almost like I am being suffocated.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I used to get sick when they used the sucking tool on me. It never got to the point where I had a panic attack (thankfully), but it wasn’t pleasant for anyone involved. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened in a while, but I have some inkling of the dislike of the whole thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how SCARY! I’d be panicking and crying too, what a horrible feeling to struggle to breathe. I’m glad it all turned out OK in the end, and thank goodness no more dentists for awhile. I’m sorry you had to go through that experience. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was the first time I have ever experienced that. I usually am very nervous at dental visits, but to actually react that way – that was a first. Thanks Kathryn, and I am glad I do not have to go back for awhile. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww Terry I’m so sorry to hear about the panic attack and so thankful it wasn’t an allergic reaction. I would be so scared too – I’ve had some panic attacks in the past and I could understand all the steps you described. I’m so glad you’re better. Many hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. oh Terry! that is all you needed!!! NOT! So sorry for that awful experience. Glad Gary was there for you and glad you are done for 6 months! Hugs! I am not a fan of the dentist either!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not a dentist fan I have to say, but somehow managed 5 hour knee surgery, go figure.
    When I was younger our dentist had a soft toy called ‘Humpty Dumpty’ to soothe us. I was given it once but held on a little too tight and managed to pull it’s arms off. My Mum was less than impressed, from what I can remember it was sent home with me to get sewn up and my poor Mum couldn’t sew! Lol
    Good luck for starting chemo, all the Eejits in Ireland are rooting for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can deal with Cancer and Chemo, but not the dentist. I always become nervous – I just do not like the fingers and instruments in my mouth – it makes me feel like I am suffocating. I appreciate the rooting – hope all is well with you. 🙂


  6. Oh my word ! What a horrific experience !!! I was scared for you, just reading your story…. I hope this experience does not play on your mind next time you need to go to the dentist. Hope you are feeling loads better today my friend. Hugs 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This seems to be the week for dentist ‘horror’ stories doesn’t it? My visit, on Monday, wasn’t too bad as such things go (aside from the pain in my pocketbook), but there’s a whole summer of procedures coming up (I’m getting the holes in my mouth filled in finally) and I’m sure I’ll be writing about those and some will be, like yours, full of pain and terror. I have had that phenomenon you described, of my tongue feeling like it was swelling so much that I felt I was choking..and I’ve come to believe that the dentist must shoot the Novocaine in the wrong place or directly into a vein or something to cause the effect. I couldn’t swallow properly for about four hours after it happened, and I kept thinking I was going to throw up. It’s awful and I’m sorry that you had to endure it. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I remember reading your recent post about your visit. Gary is having to have a lot of work done over the next several weeks, so he is having to endure much more than me – but the dentist does not bother him as it does me. All is better now, at least for 6 months. 🙂


  8. Well good Lord, child. That’s all you need, right? I could go to sleep in the dentist chair if I didn’t have to hold my mouth open…and Novocaine and Lidocaine are hit and miss with me. Most of the time, neither of them work…or if they do, they only last for a few minutes. I have a high tolerance for pain so even when I feel something, it really doesn’t bother me.
    Even when I have gotten stitches, it has been without any anesthetic. I can handle that…..but I can’t handle an airplane ride. LOLOL
    Maybe the next time, they could give you a Valium or something before they start. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Terry, your anxiety is very understandable. I am sorry for all that you have gone on right now! I am glad the dentist issue is over. I wish you peace and freedom from the ongoing pain. Hugs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad the dentist is over for now also, it was not an experience I want to go through again. I have many appointments in the next several weeks and hope to get the pain under control. Thank you Blue for catching-up on reading my posts, I appreciate you very much. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. OMG! What a frightening experience you had at the dentist! Maybe some of that medication got down into your throat and not into the gum area because of the way it was administered or it affected a different nerve. I would have panicked too….I do not like going to the dentist! On top of that, your parking app…the dentist running late…you had a miserable experience because you didn’t know if the numbing shot experience was because of other issues….we are not doctors, so we become worried very easily. Your cavity is now taken care of and I hope the rest of your day is going much better. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I never did either! We girls as growing up had the best dentist ever…never felt the needle going in for the numbing shots and no dentist has ever been able to duplicate that experience! He simply had a special way with it! Hopefully in 6 months…all will be well and no work will need to be done. Have a wonderful day 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. What a horrible thing to happen, you poor thing. Thank goodness Gary was there! In your arsenal of medications do you have any clonazepam or Ativan? I know that you don’t like taking meds but possible taking a very low dose of one before your next appt. might be an idea? You’re obviously stressed to hilt currently and it would only be for particularly tricky situations like the dentist. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I am sorry, Terry, but I couldn’t help but laugh! Poor you! I love going to the dentist (better than a massage) and my mum had cavities filled with no anesthetic. That said, I am terrified of moths… Glad to hear that it all ended well. Next time, call me and I will bring some of my ‘stash’ (and maybe a cocktail or two). 🍹

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  13. Panic attacks are dreadful. More physical than physical reactions. I would wager that all the uncertainty reached breaking point when you were in a situation that always makes you nervous (what IS it about dentists – I’m the same and there is no tangible reason for it) and boiled over. I’m glad they fixed the cavity and that you don’t have to return for several months.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh no! How awful, Terry! But I´m glad it wasn’t an allergic reaction. I have many dentist-horror stories in store but I won´t share them now with you 😉 First you need time to get over this dreadful experience, it will take a while. I´m also glad Gary was right there to help you through! No one really seems to like going to the dentist but without them we wouldn’t be happy either…

    Liked by 1 person

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