It started with a tooth. I hate going to the dentist, but a year ago I went. I had four fillings done. We don't have dental insurance, so including the exam and the x-rays, this was no small commitment. One year later, my tooth is chipping away around one of the fillings. What this says to me, in my current frame of mind is:
- Dentists deliberately do bad work so that you will need to return.
- They will keep doing more and more work until you have no teeth/money left.
- If I hadn't gone last year, I wouldn't have this problem now.
- My teeth will all be gone by the time I'm 40. And I'll have spent tens of thousands of dollars on them by then.
- I'll have to get dentures, and I won't be able to eat anything I want anymore.
- THEN I'll miss biting into an apple, even though I have a whole pile of apples in the fridge right now that I cut up if I want to eat them. Later I'll think, "Why oh WHY didn't I bite into apples when I could??"
- Dental work costs so much, it's a luxury service. It's unfair of them to promote it as a basic essential.
- Oh my god, how are we going to afford dental work for a family of seven?
- I wish we had dental insurance.
- Even if we did, it wouldn't cover enough.
- Life sucks.
- I'm going to have to make an appointment and just shut up and pay them whatever they tell me to, but for when? Before the baby? After the baby?
- What if I wait, and then it gets suddenly way worse when I'm, say, in the hospital?
- Is it starting to hurt now? I THINK IT'S STARTING TO HURT NOW!
- How are we going to pay for this, considering Paul just had $3000 of dental work done, and now we'll have a $1000 hospital copay because of the stupid insurance increase?
Oh, so I was saying that it was tooth agitations that set me off last night. It was right before bedtime, so I thought, "I won't think about the tooth now. There's no point. It will only keep me awake." So I tried to think about other things. And what I thought about was how I should really get up the courage to ask the OB/anesthesiologist about having the epidural taken out the night of the c-section rather than mid-day the next day, because I hate not being able to move, but I'm probably too chicken to argue about it, and maybe I'd be wrong about that idea anyway and would be writhing in pain in the middle of the night with the doctor shrugging and saying, "Well, you insisted." And about how the only thing that has worked for the pain afterwards is Perc0cet, but last time I got a rash and so they said I can't take it anymore, but now what will I take? Vic0din and Tylen0l 4 and Demer0l have all failed me. And then I thought about how we need to get the oil changed in the minivan, like, two thousand miles ago, and how Paul and Rob need haircuts, and about how we need to install the infant car seat rather than just having the box taking up half the minivan. And I thought about how mad I was at the Target automated refill system, which left a message on our answering machine WHILE I WAS AT TARGET PICKING UP A PRESCRIPTION to tell me I had a prescription I needed to pick up within 3 days or they'd return it to stock, and how because of HIPAA they can't tell me over the phone what prescription it is or anything, and Target is 20 minutes away and I really don't want to go twice this week, and CRAP. And about that program we watched on TV that showed scarily blank-faced children staring at a TV screen as the voice-over explained that by letting our children watch TV and play video games we were bringing them up to relate only to technology and not to other people.
Paul is good at times like this. Just for starters, he doesn't argue with a pregnant woman on a tear. He doesn't say in an exasperated voice, "Well, why don't you just do something about it instead of complaining and fretting?" He says, about the dentist, "Don't worry. Make the appointment. It will be fine. This is what money is for." And if I refuse to be comforted, and I burst into tears and go on about everything we've spent money on in the last year, and how it means we have NONE LEFT, he doesn't say I'm being irrational, or say, "Well, if you hadn't spent money on ____," or think I'm attacking his earning power. He says, "I know," understandingly not patronizingly, and then says, "Oh, did I tell you the cute thing Edward did earlier?" and tells five funny/cute child stories in a row. He says, "Why don't you close your eyes and think about how not sleepy you are." He tidies the blankets. He lets the window stay open even though he's freezing, because he knows I'm overheated and short of breath and the cold fresh air helps. Furthermore, last night he went to the grocery store to get some mid-week things (we are always out of milk and fruit), and he came home with not one but two pints of Dove ice cream for me, and he had to guess at the flavor I'd want because I've only ever bought the bars, not the pints, and he picked the flavor I would want more than any of the others.
This skill of Paul's (not the pint-picking, but the whole "letting the storm blow over without fighting it" thing) is a good thing, because I am aware that I am becoming impossible, and that it is almost certainly because I am at full-term as of today--but that doesn't mean I can force myself to be rational about it. And since next up is the postpartum period, it's not as if things are going to improve anytime soon.