when an injection became inevitable

[This is the memory of something that happened a few years ago, but written in present tense. Currently, dentist technology atleast in Dr. Mani’s clinic in Malleswaram (17th Cross, Sampige Road, Malleswaram) is quite sophisticated i.e. painless. I’ve found his work excellent and more than satisfactory.]

I’ve always thoroughly loathed injections. Just the look of an injection syringe make me shudder. The terrible prospect of an external steel object piercing my delicate skin and goes inside filled me with fear. I would give doctor’s quite a hard time and they’d use all their comforting words to convince me that it was inevitable. Though there have been a few occasions during my childhood days, I’ve more or less managed to steer clear of them for many years. Could hardly bear to see even when someone else was getting it done either!

Here I was, sitting on this chair, and about to have an injection… right inside of my mouth! No escape this time… the bad tooth had to come out…

Dr. Mani our veteran family dentist (and in general a truly wonderful gentleman), casually filled up his syringe with local anesthesia… while I glared at it with horror. It would soon my stabbing my gums… cause me immense trauma… 😥

My entire body was tensed – rigid… my wrists gripping on the armrest for dear life, my wincing face anticipating the horror that was to come…

Suddenly something clicked…

I realised that AT THIS MOMENT… I’m just sitting on my chair, watching Dr. Mani fill up his syringe. AT THIS MOMENT, the syringe is still in his hands, not in his mouth. AT THIS MOMENT, there is no pain.

Suddenly, I noticed how tensed and rigid my whole body was. I just noticed it, and it gradually started becoming a bit more relaxed. Wow. Suddenly I found myself managing a weak smile. Hey yeah, why create more suffering unnecessarily?!!

Then I had to open my mouth… wide… wider… he peered in and gently adjusted my head. The terror in me that had temporarily abated slowly was on the rise again… increasing more and more.

AT THIS MOMENT… I’m still just lying down on a more or less comfortable chair (well as comfortable as a dentist’s chair can get 😉 ). But this understanding – was not just an intellectual rationalisation that I had to look for to convince myself to have a positve mental attitude. It was the kind of understanding that just “occurs” when you least expect it.

The syringe came closer and closer…

True, I am anticipating a lot of pain. But also true that RIGHT NOW, there’s really no pain.

The touch of the needle on my gums… Warning bells went on… “EXCRUCIATING PAIN AHEAD”. My face started wincing again.

True, that’s what I expect. But RIGHT NOW, there’s really no pain. The body somewhat relaxed.

The syringe went in.

Ouch.

But that was about it. It was really like a strong ant bite. It stayed there for a few moments. I stayed with it… every moment of it. Peacefully 8)

After the injection, it was removed.

A bit of soreness… but I’m ok.

The rest of the procedure went on… the tooth got pulled out after a while… it was preperation for the dreaded root canal treatment. Next was this hi-pitched whining electrical thingie inserted into my mouth to clean the area. There was only a limit to which the anesthesia worked, and there were moments when there was sharp shooting pain. Then some relief with some cool water, which I had to spit out. Back to the whining thing again.

The situations kept changing. However, there was now a better way of dealing with them. When there was no pain, my imagination of more pain ceased. And when pain was there, the understanding that it was the truth of THIS MOMENT only and not forever – replaced my terrible hatred of the pain and fervent wishing for it to end. Though situations kept changing… detached tranquility remained.

Eventually I went home… forgetting about the whole thing. (Having no idea that years later I’d consider it worth writing about 🙂 )

9 Responses to “when an injection became inevitable”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    sanjay
    wonderful memory and narration enjoyed every word of it no doubt Dr.Mani is a genius in his profession he was visiting dentist to BEL Hospital for years. now also he on our panel of dentists. nice if some one reads who is relly afraid of injection.

  2. Vani Says:

    I remember Dr Mani’s clinic….it was in 11th Cross earlier….now he has shifted else where. We used to see Dr Shama Rao in malleswaram for a long time, and then Dr Chander in Margosa Road.

  3. msanjay Says:

    Thanks Praneshavare… yeah Dr. Mani is a real gem of a person!

    Vani, I’ve updated his current clinic’s address in the above post 🙂 I vaguely remember having Dr. Chander as well sometime.

  4. msanjay Says:

    The injection and the root canal treatment described in this post was definitely not something that I had chosen, it was something that just happened to me. It is an example of just one possibility of countless others – a reminder that life is so unpredictable that anything can happen at any time – maybe some unexpected disease, some accident, or getting stuck in some riots where we get injured (so much of this happening nowadays). Things can just happen out of the blue which we are least prepared for them – when anything we’ve unknowingly been taking for granted and developed a sense of security fails.

    For example in this root canal procedure, without the systematic training that I’d been through earlier, I would’ve sufferred a lot more than what was inevitable. No amount of wealth or intelligence or even physical fitness would’ve been of any practical help to save me from such a situation. I would’ve created more and more misery for myself and made a mountain out of a molehill. I’ve seen time and again, that hatred towards pain and resistance in accepting any current condition makes the condition only worse.

    Hate brings great misfortune,
    hate churns up and harms the mind;
    this fearful danger deep within
    most people do not understand.
    ~ Dhammapada

  5. December Stud Says:

    LOL Sanjay, me went through the exact same emotions last month. The ‘smart’ doc came up with a solution…he gave me a math ‘problem’ and asked me to solve it. Well, he started off with 375 and asked me to start subtracting 3 until I hit 0. This mad eme more nervous…I was now convinced that this is gonna be one dreaded affair. Plus, the doc would go on and on about how the whole procedure would not hurt at all……I guess that’s the relief mechanism for HIM.

    All good times…nice read !!!

  6. msanjay Says:

    heh heh hearing that for the first time DS! 🙂 hope your doc made it through the procedure 😆
    Thanks!

  7. Vani Says:

    Sanjay,

    Had to take a couple of blood tests last weekend. Remembered your post a lot…my dad says if you fear something, face it first. I was really scared looking at the size of the syringe….was thinking that it might be used by Vets to inject horses….anyway, wasnt as traumatic as I expected it to be

  8. Sridhar Says:

    Yes indeed an excellent recounting.. Though i did not have that much of a fear of the needle when i got my root canal done. My doc, Dr.Ketham did an excellent job in engaging in a fabulous conversation all along the root canal and the time just flew…. 🙂

  9. msanjay Says:

    Hey Vani, that’s so cool! And really sweet of you to come and acknowledge it over here – thanks! 🙂 Your dad’s advice is definitely very useful!

    Thanks Sridhar – hmm yeah I’ve seen some who don’t bother about injections at all!

    In my schooldays, one of the most wonderful teachers in my school who used to tell any kid who was crying or had fallen down: think of all the army soldiers who get so badly injured but don’t cry! Be brave like them!

    There are two stories that come to mind…

    One is that of a fellow complaining that there are a 100s of frogs in a pond near his backyard, and that they keep him up all night, so finally he goes and tells someone to come and catch all the frogs. So that other fellow comes and they go together during the daytime to see the frogs… and guess what, it turns out that there are actually hardly two or three frogs over there! They were making such a racket it sounded like 100s of frogs! 🙂

    —–

    Heard this from an 80+ year old meditator:

    “Imagine a bad tempered street dog following you and growling at you on the street. If you run away, it chases you. But if you just stand still and simply be aware of it, it hesitates, and then walks away.

    That is the way of awareness.”

    [I felt this was an excellent analogy because I had actually been in such a situation once.]

    —–

    A nice quote by Paulo Coelho:

    Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.

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