Down in the mouth: A word about communication

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Drilling, drowning, jaw dropping, agony! Yep that’s me in the
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chair. My greatest dread turned out better than my worst nightmare because this time, instead of suffering in silence,  I spoke up and, surprisingly, my torturers became my teammates.  I salivate like crazy so I asked if I could hold a suction in my mouth while being worked on so I wouldn’t feel like I was drowning.  The dental assistant acknowledged this is a problem and she would be suctioning my mouth throughout the procedure and, if that wasn’t enough, I could give her a wave of my hand and I could spit in the sink.  Ok, not what my first plan was but it turned out she did a great job and I was fine that way.  My second hardest thing about dental work is I have to practically unhinge my jaw and hold that position FOREVER!  I have TMJ and that is so painful for my jaw.  When I mentioned my jaw pain they produced a bite block I could rest my teeth on while the dentist got both hands in my mouth.  Much better.

So often we get the idea that a complainer is a bad patient.  As a nurse, however, I feel a patient that shares their difficulties and fears is allowing me to be a good nurse.  I can’t meet needs until I know what they are.  This turn at the dentist’s office I took my own advise and the outcome, though not wonderful, was much less agonizing.  Lesson for the day: A word in season may save from a heap of pain!

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