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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trauma Coping Strategies

I have lost two things in the last four days… eight centimetres of hair and two teeth.

The hair was an easy chop; I still have long hair and now it’s an appropriate length for a flumpety-flurve year old woman.

The teeth are a much sadder story. (They were right at the back of my mouth so nobody will notice they’re missing.)

Nobody except me that is, especially when I try to chew foodstuffs other than soup or puree.

Please don’t think I have rotten teeth. The teeth were pristine. It’s just that the bone they used to be attached to has disintegrated and according to the x-rays the teeth in question were only being held on to by the gums.

It was a very disturbing experience having two upper molars ripped from my jaw. Frankly, it felt as though my sinuses, my ear canals and part of my brain were going to be extracted through my tooth socket as well.

For teeth that were only being held in by gums they certainly put up a damn good fight.

The worst part was when the dentist began barking orders in a somewhat panicked fashion for more and more gauze and then inserting stitches whilst the nurse screamed for the receptionist to come in and help suck up all the blood.

I accidently swallowed a couple of mouthfuls of blood. FUUUUDGGGGEEE.

While the dentist was suturing the gaping, oozing wound, I swear there were four hands, six mirrors and a sucker the size of a Dyson vacuum cleaner in my mouth all at the same time. 

I kept breathing through my nose, humming the Bear Necessities of Life in my head and using a disassociation method of coping with stress by pretending I was one of the Olympians in the closing ceremony (which was on the overhead screen at the time). I zoned in on the flag bearer. I was her, not me, lying on that dentist's torture chair with the corners of my mouth splitting open and three humans inserting their fists into it.

When the witches of Macbeth finally finished with the blood and bone sacrificial ceremony, I stood on shaky legs and hobbled out to pay the receptionist the $400 plus for the pleasure of my visit.

I limped across the road to the chemist in order to obtain the mandated antibiotics with about five gauze pads clamped inside my cheek. I’m sure I looked like a zombie raised from the cemetery down the road. A lopsided chipmunk zombie.

“Mph mph mmmm maw maw,” I said to the pharmacy assistant as I handed over the script with a trembling hand and white face with a blood smeared chin.

She just smiled knowingly as if she’d seen it a hundred times before.

Scotto reckons I should have stocked up on codeine and over the counter sleeping aids because they wouldn’t have been able to ask all those annoying fudging questions pharmacy assistants always ask.

I drove home, walked straight into the bedroom and spent the rest of the day doing New Idea crosswords (which are my favourites because even stupid people can do them).

That’s my secret comfort when I’m traumatised, New Idea crosswords. The Woman’s Day ones are okay too.

There… that’s my secret. I do crosswords. It’s like meditation.

See, people think I’m a wild, mad, drinking woman but the truth is, I like me crosswords.

What’s your go-to calm down strategy?