It’s all in your head
It’s all in your head!
That’s what my mother used to say when I was too scared to go to the dentist.
It’s all in your head!
It’s all in my head…?
I’ve always seen myself as a fairly level headed person, with both my feet firmly on the ground – as opposed to having my head in the clouds….
I believed that the dentist was out to get me!!
One of the buzzwords in education and psychology is “brain dominance”. Brain dominance has nothing to do with somebody sitting on top of your head telling you how you should go about living your life!
On the contrary, it has to do with the way yóú apply your brain in everything you do everyday. You have a right brain and you have a left brain. People who use their left brain more – i.e. left-brain-dominant people, tend to be more planned and structured whereas right-brain-dominant-people tend to be more free with feelings and spontaneous.
According to the test results my daughter was definitely more a right brain thinker, 58% vs 46% for the use of her left brain – yes, you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with your instamaths – 58% + 46% gives you 104%, on which she commented that they probably included her fringe when they did their calculations.
My score, also indicated a preference towards the use of the right brain, 56% vs 36% left brain. That’s right, 56% of problems I sort out using predominantly my right brain, in 36% of situations I use my left brain and…….. yes, you’re right, again. There is 8% not accounted for. Maybe you think: “Amazing!! She has a middle brain too! She is able to think in ways not classified by any known standards.”
Me, I’ve never thought of it that way. I reckoned, 8% not accounted for. An 8% void. You know what the experts say: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. I figured, there you have it. Black on white. Confirmed by the computer.
I’m losing it.
But my whole perception changed a week later, when I had to go to the dentist.
As usual, with all dental appointments, I postponed this visit until I really couldn’t any more. At the reception, I filled out all the forms, told them that I wasn’t allergic to anything on their list and then I was called in…. The dentist invited me to take a seat. I wasn’t even halfway through explaining the reason for my visit when the dentist stepped on “it.” The next thing I knew, I was as close to standing on my head as I would ever get at my age and with my physical capacities. At first I had pins and needles in my toes but after a while, my feet were totally numb. I could feel the blood rushing to my head. I could not think clearly. But somehow and for some odd reason I got the feeling that everything was under control. At first I wasn’t sure under whose control but it was then that I realized that all the blood that rushed down to my head, had filled the void. And then I understood the purpose of the void. The purpose of the void was to ensure survival. Survival at all cost. Survival not so much of the body, but more of the mind. Most importantly of the mind.
First there was the shot. The shot that eventually renders you not only extremely vulnerable but also incapable of responding to any form of verbal communication. The first sensation is that of mild numbness, but it soon builds up to complete deadness. Completely unable to control myself, saliva dribbled from the corner of my mouth. After installing a suction pipe in the corner of my mouth and stuffing my cheeks with what felt like almost a good part of a roll of cotton wool (most probably made me look like Marlon Brando in Godfather I), the dentist made an effort to communicate with me.
I could vaguely recognise the words “Are you still ok?” in my nearby surroundings. At this stage however, the void had already given clear instructions to my ears to ignore any messages until further notice. Gurgling and drooling accompanied by an unconvincing involuntary warped smile was as much as I could manage.
There I was, like a helpless teething baby. But the void does not waste any energy on issues like saving face and maintaining image.
Then, the drilling started.
Now, about drilling….
I’ve always held the opinion that apart from killing the feeling in the area that would be operated on, dentists should also supply their patients with some means of protecting their ears.
My experience is that no matter how many shots they give me to kill the feeling in my mouth, my cheek, nose and eye, the moment the dentist applies the drill, I hear pain. Severe pain. The pain message went straight from my ears, to my brain. But the only part of my brain that was operational at this stage was the void. And the void was not into information processing. Just survival.
The dental procedure eventually came to a conclusion, and the dentist, taking no cognisance of dignity or blood pressure, stepped on “it” (the great leveller) again. Within split seconds I was back on my feet. For a short while momentum kept the blood in the void, but it wasn’t long before gravity took over. I tried to rinse my mouth, but there was a split second when it seemed as if there was a traffic jam and the blood struggled to reach all the blood depleted limbs. I nearly dropped the cup with the red mouthwash, and as my mouth was still numb to a large extent, some of the liquid ran down the side of my mouth and left a large stain on my jacket. At least it smelled like mouth wash because it could be very easily be mistaken for red wine. This would definitely not aid my case as my balance was still slightly compromised. As the void gradually handed 36% control back to the left and 56% to the right brain, I managed to reach the reception counter. I paid the levy, opened the middle door, wished the dentists well and waltzed to the car. By the time I had opened the car and sat in the drivers’ seat, turned the radio on for an update on traffic before hitting the road, my left and right brain usage had been restored to their usual level of functioning.
The last verbal message that was recorded in memory before the void took control was “just relax, this won’t hurt”. As the void did not store any data concerning my recent experience to contradict this, I had to assume that I was all right.
Left brain, right brain?
I salute the void.
I am not losing it!!
But, as much as I hate to admit, my mother was right!
It IS all in my head!