I'm not the first to say it, and I won't be the last to say it. Moms, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself and not letting things go. Yes, you have a lot to manage, but if the captain goes down, the ship goes with it.
I know this. I do. But every once in a while I let things slide, I forget, and then I get reminded in the worst way that a little self care goes a long way.
This particular reminder slammed into me yesterday. For the past few weeks - ok, MONTH - I've been having some tooth pain. I've not made it a secret that teeth and I are not friends. I have big time dental anxiety. Just about a year ago I found a dentist I clicked with, and I paid the price for a period of dental negligence. Over a course of four to five visits, I had a root canal, a crown, and multiple fillings, both old and new. I had a deep cleaning, and for the first time in a long time, my mouth was in good shape.
Then, six months ago, I had to cancel my cleaning and check up for some reason. I think it was because something came up with the girls' schedule, Adam's travel, and our babysitter, but hey, it could have been anything. I canceled and I didn't reschedule. And I didn't reschedule. And I didn't reschedule. And I didn't reschedule. The office called and left messages, but I didn't reschedule.
And then I got a toothache.
That should have been my HELLO! YOU'VE BEEN DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE! WAKE UP AND GET YOUR BUTT TO THE DENTIST! moment...but it wasn't. I blamed Madison's busy schedule, and Adam's busy schedule where he couldn't watch the girls, and the fact that I didn't want my only babysitter afternoon a week to be "wasted" at the dentist when I had everything else that needed to be crammed into those hours. I started chewing on the other side. Then I started avoiding cold drinks. Then I started taking Advil. And then I started absently rubbing the side of my mouth because it was generally aching all the time.
And yesterday - surprise! - I ended up with an emergency root canal on top of a pretty disgusting infection. Which was such an intense root canal that they gave me the heavy pain medication because my gums were so beat up. Which kept me up all night itchy and feeling really out of sorts. Which led to a morning of intense nausea, headache and dizziness. Adam took over from the time I left yesterday, through dinner and bath as the aftermath had me feeling icky, and all morning while I curled up and tried to think of something that would make the reaction to the meds pass more quickly.
Sidenote: This is not the first of the heavy duty painkillers I have had this kind of reaction to. I would make a TERRIBLE drug addict. In the future I'll be toughing it out with Tylenol.
If I'd gone to the dentist six months ago for a check up, they may have been able to treat the tooth without resorting to the root canal. If I'd gone when the pain first started, the root canal probably wouldn't have been of the emergency variety, and certainly wouldn't have been as invasive. So I wouldn't have needed the meds afterward. So I wouldn't have spent several hours this morning sick from them, and curled up in a ball while two little children hovered over me, asking me if I was ok and bringing me very sweet and totally useless things. And while, yes, it's awesome to have a husband that picks up the slack when stuff like this happens, it's not like I was enjoying a leisurely evening and morning reading magazines and sipping tea. I was either in pain or sick. Awesome.
Basically, because I didn't feel like making (or, let's be honest, having) a dentist appointment that would have taken an hour total, I spent yesterday morning at my dentist, yesterday afternoon at the endodontist, and a total of twenty four hours being completely useless to my family. And I have a minimum of two-three more appointments before this tooth is "finished". And I should point out that as of yesterday morning, I STILL didn't want to go in, because it wasn't a "good day" or even a "good week" for me to have an appointment. Adam basically had to stand over me and MAKE me call.
So yes, I'm all better now, and I know that the "good" pain meds are not my friends, and all's well that ends well. But it's just such an intense reminder that waiting until you absolutely can't take it anymore is never a good idea. I would never do that with the girls, so why am I ok with doing that for myself? If they need something taken care of, I call, and I schedule it. We make the time. We figure it out. We get it done. If we have to miss a park playdate, so be it. Their well being comes first. Why do I do that for them, but I am completely opposed to the idea that it also applies to me and my needs? When did I decide that doctor and dentist appointments were a luxury, up there with haircuts and massages? Because if that's how I'm going to think of them, the haircut or massage is going to win.
I'm hoping that yesterday was my slap-in-the-face, practice-what-you-preach, wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment. And I'm hoping that this helps remind others to take care of yourself just as well as you take care of your kids and your pets and your husband and your house. Get your checkups. Get yourself in when you start feeling something isn't right. Taking care of yourself is never a poor use of time.