Word to the Wise

Hey, I’ve lost weight!

But not in a way you’d expect.  No “Perfect Bikini Abs” Pinterest workouts or green smoothie kicks for me!

Instead, I recently underwent the extraction of all four third molars.

That’s right, I had my wisdom teeth pulled.  

Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom Teeth (by tarale)

Reason?  The usual “you-will-most-likely-end-up-with-a-painful-bacterial-infection-if-these-teeth-which-your-mouth-is-too-small-for-are-not-removed”-logic.  The coming-of-age surgery.  The transformation gone sadly unrewarded by the tooth fairy.

But this whole ordeal isn’t just about teeth.  It’s really about fear.

Here’s what I’m afraid of: anything and everything related to the medical field in general.  Examples: blood pressure cuffs, feeling my own pulse, thinking about/looking at my own veins, shots, latex gloves, IVs, the thought of giving blood, the smell of hospitals, the creepy beeping noises of medical machines…I paled writing this list.  I’m not joking.  I don’t do pain.  I don’t do gross.  I don’t do blood.

Let me provide a little history before we move on.  Dental professionals and I?  We go way back.  The first major incident was the loss of exactly half of my right front tooth in a tee-ball accident when I was eight.  Boy, that was a blast.  Since then I’ve had a crown.  A root canal.  A few fillings.  4 years of braces.  And this is gonna sound strange, maybe, but I always had good experiences!  I really never minded going to the dentist.

But going to the doctor?  Different story.  Hospitals terrify me.  I’m convinced I have some sort of a phobia in this area.  Once, my grandma was having an issue and so some family members and I traveled to the hospital to cheer her up.  Well, that was the intention.  I couldn’t make it to the room.  I’d been overcome with dizziness and was sitting on the floor, my back against the wall and my head on my knees.  I was trying not to throw up.  I had to lean on Mom as she helped me back to the safe zone- the car.  That could happen to anyone, I know.  But it happens to me all the time.  Like when the optometrist was explaining Lasik surgery (yuck).  Or the video in ninth-grade health about a kid breaking his arm.

So, to be clear, I get this reaction that pops up whenever blood, veins, medical beeping noises, pulses, or emergencies enter the picture.  So every day when my surgery (shudder.) involving intravenous sedation (shudder. shudder.) came a little closer, I felt a little sicker.

And then it was the night before and I couldn’t take it anymore.  So I turned to God.  I prayed about it and I took out my Bible.

I should’ve done it earlier but I’m so glad I did it then, because here’s what I found:

 “I love you, Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”  Psalm 18:1-3

Lightbulb!  If I make God my refuge and shield, he can save me from my enemies.  The enemy in this situation was the fear.  I talked to several friends who all promised to pray for me, I discussed my fear, and I let it go.

The surgery went well.  I got no crippling “reaction” and had no pain or side effects.  I’m thankful for the skilled and kind doctor who made it painless- literally and figuratively- and for the amazing anesthesia.  I’m thankful for the God who loves me and looks out for me.

I lost my wisdom teeth but I think I traded them for a little bit of real wisdom.  

xo, j


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