Dentist + ME/CFS = a significant dip

31 Jan
Me post dentist trip - rather wilted.

Me post dentist trip – rather wilted.

You would have thought that after knowingly living with ME/CFS for over two years I would have got the hang of (stressful) activity = spike in fatigue. You would have thought that having been through this inevitable and frustrating cycle more times than I care to remember, that I would have realised that a trip to the dentist would trigger post-activity fatigue and a increase in other lovely ME/CFS symptoms.

But guess what? No, I didn’t appreciate before the event the impact the trip to the dentist would have me. But I definitely appreciated it after.

So I had a dentist appointment last week for a couple of fillings. At my check up a few months back my dentist had said I needed the fillings but there wouldn’t be any drilling so I wouldn’t need local anaesthetic, i.e. I would NOT need injections.

So I went merrily along to my appointment last week, not feeling overly anxious. I’m sure you can guess what happened next, yep mr lovely dentist man decided it’d be better if I did have injections. Now I know injections aren’t that big a deal (but honestly do you know anyone who actively enjoys having them? No? Neither do I. If you do, then they are weird!) but as you probably know with ME/CFS part of the problem is that our nervous system is a out of balance and our stress responses are totally skewed and literally out of our control.

I was okay ‘ish’ during the procedure. Although I was clasping my hands together very tightly and my chest felt very tight, I did manage to remember deep breathing through my nose (yoga practice helps off the mat!) and to focus on that – though that is pretty hard when you’ve got metal utensils and a dentist’s hands in  your mouth…I can feel myself getting anxious whilst just relaying this to you….and BREATHE.

Anyway the impact of all this became apparent when I stood up from the dentist’s chair. My legs felt like jelly. They felt so weak I had to sit down again. I felt very light headed and my entire my body hurt. I must have been so tense sat in the chair that it triggered the myalgia pain to kick in. My mum said I was as a white as a sheet and she was worried I was about to collapse. My head hurt, my legs hurt, my shoulders and neck hurt. Everything hurt.

For the next few days the all too familiar myalgia body aches and pain were much worse than they had been prior to the dentist trip and I was exhausted. My fatigue had spiked and with that came a bad headache and weird fluctuating body temperature. It was a real dip.

5 days on I’m pleased to say my myalgia and fatigue are much improved, though still not quite back to where they were before the now infamous dentist trip. My head still feels more fuzzy and tired than ‘usual’ and I’ve still got a dull ache in my forehead that I can’t seem to shift. But I’m coming out of the post-exertion fatigue curve and should keep feeling better as each day passes provided nothing else gets in my way!

What I had done wasn’t a big procedure at all, I was in and out in 20 minutes. I know that. And NO I’m not a wuss, I just have ME/CFS and this has served as a colossal reminder of just how ill (read screwed up) my body is. Never underestimate how your ME/CFS body will respond to activity, especially if it is, in anyway, however small, stressful.

What’s most frustrating is that a dentist trip is most definitely not an activity of choice for me so it’s not like I even enjoyed the outing which would have at least made the consequences a little easier to take. But hey ho, that’s life. We can’t always do stuff we enjoy can we? And at least when I next go to the dentist (lord help me I have to go back next month for root canal….) I will be more prepared for whatever fun consequences ME/CFS cares to throw at me. And to be honest I can’t really ask for fairer than that. #livingwithME/CFS.

Photo by Flickr user: Alpha Chen

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