First, let me just say this…

When you do something fairly unpleasant for the first time, it’s always a little easier if you have to do it a second time. When you have to do that same unpleasant thing over and over, well, you actually become immune to it. A few examples come to mind: public speaking and my Remicade infusions.

As far as getting me to say two words in class as a kid was like poking me in the ear with red-hot branding iron. I wouldn’t do it. I would actually get dizzy and my vision would go weird so that I really couldn’t see, which I suppose was a self preservation symptom: If I can not see them, I can not fear them… The infusions were something a little different: they weren’t as unpleasant as public speaking.

Getting blood drawn, however, was. I never had a lot of anxiety getting my blood drawn when I was younger, tho as a kid I hated shots, but who doesn’t? In college, the nurses at the college infirmary were trying to draw blood, unsuccessfully from my arm, then my hand. They couldn’t get it from the hand either, pressing the needle in further, causing one of the worst pains I had experienced up until that point in my life. This was also during my Grad-school spring break, in which I needed to wrap up my studies so I could graduate in 5 weeks. Can you say stressed out? So the pain didn’t help any and I almost passed out. I also started crying, which freaked the nurses out. They withdrew the needle and raced to get me orange juice, a cold towel and anything else that would help me from passing out. Threw the tears I told them I was ok. I was actually laughing at myself, my tears and my situation as a whole.

But it wasn’t a laughing matter I would realize a few years later when the back started to hurt. Not that the pain was the trigger, it was the idea of getting blood drawn. I was terrified. I fretted for days before and when the time came, I almost ran. Almost. The nurse that helped me was young, a bit punk-rockish, which actually put me at ease, and when she slid the needle in, I felt nothing. Nothing. She did it with such precision and grace I just about jumped up to hug her when she was done. Don’t worry, I didn’t. Since then, my nurses at the Rheumatic Disease Center were wonderful, even when 11 vials needed to be drawn one day. When it came time for the infusions, I wasn’t too worried. Now, I actually tell the nurse where to place the needle. Sometimes it can still hurt, and I am developing scar tissue that make the old reliable places harder to stick.

The public speaking became easier to do, too, with all that I do at the library. I’m not so much afraid anymore, but I still get flustered once in a while, especially if my mind goes blank or something doesn’t download fast enough in a presentation. Recently I had to give a talk about library services to 7th & 8th graders. Yuck. My mantra for everything unpleasant is “Just get through this.” I still use the “Just think happy thoughts,” but that’s when I have time to relax and concentrate on a happy thought. When I was getting preped for the back surgery, I kept thinking of baby Eli’s face: I had just seen him the day before and his sweet 2 month old giggling face was fresh in my mind. I have used this device in other instances, too, thinking of Sierra, Allison, Craig, the babies, even my Herman, but if I remind myself to just get through it, it reminds me that this is just a temporary unpleasantness, and this too shall pass. So, I can’t very well imagine my cat’s fuzzy face while I am lecturing a bunch of 10 years olds, but I can remind myself that it’s just for now, and that in a few hours it will all be over and I won’t have to do this anymore.

I said this to myself during Kathryn’s burial.

Time passes, It’s really weird how it does. You really don’t stay in the same place, constantly moving by either your own means, or by something else. What ever moves you, you do.

My point of my rant was supposed to be that once you do something once, doing it a second time comes easier.

I am almost 40 years old (almost…) and I have never had to deal with a cavity. It turns out that, I have a few that need to be dealt with. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I don’t wanna! I so do not want to and I know friends and family have said that it’s not that bad, but they don’t understand: I have gone (almost) 40 years WITHOUT one!! Shoving it in people’s faces: Haha, I don’t have any cavities!! I love the look of shock on their faces, their silent cursing of my name and of their own misfortunes with their teeth. But now I have crossed the line of… gee, I don’t know, grownup-ism? I mean, (almost) 40 years is pretty good without having a cavity, and given the 10 years where I didn’t step foot in a dentist’s office, I’m surprised there aren’t more. I’m sure once I have the first set dealt with, the second round won’t be as horrible. I’ll have gotten used to the idea that I can no longer go around going Haha to people, that I have to look into the mirror and know that I have joined the ranks of billions of others who also have cavities. Oh, pauvre-moi!! Life just sucks.

The firsts are always the hardest, but sometimes the best, experiences. I don’t think this will fall in the “best” category, but I’ll write some time about some pretty good firsts.

There’s got to be something…..


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