Monday, 14 July 2014

My Floral Burst Personal Size Filofax

14b25c14bc67c6c683f455530ca705d9997eddb.As you can see by this first image, I own a small collection of Filofaxes ranging from the Mini up to the A5 (click on image for larger view).  I find it really hard to resist buying them, but I do.  If I didn't, my collection would be at least twice the amount.

For the last couple of years or so, each year, Filofax have invited art students to submit a design for the cover of one of the planners - which have the collective name of "Cover Story".  This year, 2014, the design chosen is the Floral Burst and the moment I saw it I knew I had to have it.

Although my favourite size of all the Filofaxes is the pocket I knew that if I bought the Floral Burst in the pocket size I would never use it, as the style for me is not conducive for using as a purse/wallet which is what I use my pocket sizes for.  Along with the fact that I already own a pocket size "Cover Story" but in the "Eden" (now discontinued) - Same style but different design.  I chose instead the personal size.

Because I already own the Eden, I knew I would love the Floral Burst.  It's at the cheaper end of Filofax organisers being £35 for the personal.  The outer covering is a cotton twill canvas with the inside a colour coordinating combination of polyester lining and smooth leather look pu.

I did what I normally do when wanting to buy a new Filofax, I looked elsewhere for it on the web first to see if I could find it cheaper.  I found it on Amazon for £28.  I also knew that another shop - Websters Books - also sold via Amazon, so I searched for Websters personally selling the Floral Burst.  I found their page and they were selling it for £26 with free p+p.  I ordered it late Wednesday night and receive it Friday morning.

I love it.  It's absolutely beautiful.  But.....  What do I use it for?  At the moment I use my mini for a purse to carry cash and notes, along with using it for shopping list and a neat little appointments diary if I don't have my handbag with me.  I am also using my purple Malden pocket size for my main organiser, which most people would use a personal size for, and I haven't actually had a reason for a while to actually use one of my personal sizes.  As I said, the pocket size is my absolute favourite size.

While fondling and admiring my newly arrived Floral Burst it suddenly hit me how I can use it on a daily basis.  I really will use it as a personal.  Meaning everything in it will be totally and absolutely personal to me and my emotions, body, health, etc., etc.

First of all I have called her Florence.  Most of us nuts about Filofaxes will give their favourites a name.  I think Florence suits her well.

It comes with 6 tabs/dividers numbered, not surprisingly, 1 - 6.  Of course one can have less tabs or add more tabs, but I thought I'd see if I could work out using the 6 tabs first and take it from there.  After all as all of us that uses organisers know, they grow as one uses them.

Tab 1)  About:  This is for my fun things and will be a bit like the medicine pouches that used to, and still are by some, worn around the neck.  Meaning I will collect things that are unique to my memories and life,  my star sign - western and eastern,  good luck charms,  photos, and so on.

Tab 2) Tweeting:  By using a week to a view (a week to 2 pages) I will use the small daily space provided to manually tweet 140 characters a day.  The tweets could be about my emotions and feelings of that day, if something special or funny happened or simply a quote that might have caught my eye that day.

Tab 3) Thoughts:  This will be an "In Memory of" and "Healing Prayers" area. 

Tab 4)  Go 4 Fit:  A month to a view diary to mark down and keep track of my weight and another week to a view diary only this one will be used to mark down manually everything I eat and drink and any exercise I do on any particular day.

Tab 5)  Health:  By using a top loading transparent envelope (Filofax) and "To Do" lists this will be used to keep track of my hospital, blood tests, doctors and dentists appointments.  The envelope will hold any present hospital letter, x-ray card, appointments cards and so on.  Once the appointment is done and dusted those can be filed away as normal.

Tab 6)  Money:  This one holds a transparent Filofax zipped envelope, a top loading transparent envelope, and some paper.  The zipped envelope I am using to put £10 a week in.  Once there is £100 I will then transfer it and start again with saving the next £100.  This money is for spending on me.  Clothes, Dental treatment, Hairdressing, Make Up, a new bike? - Who knows? - Whatever!  It will be my "Me" money.  The top opening envelope will be for receipts.  The paper will be for my wish list and to remind me what I am saving all the money for.

I may be adding more dividers if I think of anything else I might want to add, but at the moment the 6 sections seem to be just right.  I will also be making my own pretty dividers/tabs over the next few days to make it more personal.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Overcoming Dentophobia

I can't believe that I am able to write a blog post regarding this aspect of my life.  Even two days ago it would have been impossible.

I have suffered all my life with Dentophobia.  It's not just a regular anxiety, or nerves, it's a bona fide,  no holds barred, shear terror, immobilisation of visiting, talking about, reading about, watching, walking passed, or anything to do with a dentist.

Sometimes I can't avoid someone around me mentioning their visit to a dentist or the treatment they have just have and it's agony for me to listen to.  My family I can tell to stop talking about it in front of me, or I can walk out of the room.  If I see anything about a dentist on television I can turn over or mute it, fast forward passed it and so on.  But the problem has always been when a friend or stranger mentions it.  With those I have developed a way to shut them out, make the right faces and right sounds while at the same time stopping myself from doubling up with stomach pains, or running in the loo to empty my bowels quickly and even concentrating on not throwing up, all the while praying for the time when I can politely change the subject.

Most people will just say, "no one likes the dentist" or "most people are scared of the dentist" - but to have a phobia goes way beyond being scared or frightened.  A phobia totally immobilises the senses.  One can't think straight, it's hard to control the breathing, the sweating, and all the other physical responses mentioned above.   Of course depending on the situation the physical responses are different each time one has to face the object of their phobia.

Walking in a dental surgery would be a number 10 on the 1 - 10 scale.  Walking passed a surgery on ones ordinary route would be a number 6 ( I personally will cross the road and look in the opposite direction when I know I am about to pass a surgery).  Having a conversation about a visit to a dentist or being told by someone they have a dental appointment coming up, for me, as long as I am able to cut the conversation short, is about a 4, and so on.

Due to this phobia I have only been able so far to have very spasmodic dental treatment as and when it's been totally vital.   And on top of that I have had to be intravenously sedated each time any treatment has been needed so that it all gets done on one visit.

So what has changed?

We are lucky enough to have here, not only in Dorset, but just 2 miles away from me, one of the 70 clinics in the whole country that deal with Dentophobia.  It's taken me many months to work up the courage to book an appointment and even as I did so I was fighting back tears of fear.  As I was talking on the phone, I was feeling sick, and I could feel my bowels loosening up already.

The treatment it seems actually starts while making the telephone appointment, although they don't tell you that.  I can just see that now with hindsight.  They chat away just generally chatting about anything and everything and then throw in the odd question which I presume they are making notes of.  At the end of the chat which probably lasted about 20 minutes, my terror on simply picking up the phone had evaporated and an appointment was made.

My appointment was for 9:30 yesterday morning.   I hadn't told any of the family where I was going because I simply can't talk about the dentist in any way and I didn't want them remarking on the fact I was going.

I had ask Jess to babysit Louie while I nipped out for a couple of hours, and on arrangement Sarah dropped Jess off to me as she passed through to work at 8:30am and she pick me up and dropped me off just before she reached her place of work.  The clinic happens to be a 6 or 7 minute walk from there.

Of course I was really early, so I dawdled along, sat for a few minutes in a park that I had to cross on the way and all the time being terrified of walking into the clinic and not knowing whether to bolt now or be brave and take it one step at a time and at least just turn up and book in.

The only way I could do it was to be certain in my own mind, that if at anytime I became painfully uncomfortable during the next hour or two, I could just get up and walk out.

The atmosphere in the clinic was not nearly as intimidating as a usual dental practice.  It still had the log in desk and the coffee table with magazines etc, and the chairs for waiting. but it was more plush, and the staff, were chatting away to each other and including the patients in their banter, yet at the same time it seemed so much more relaxed.

The moment I told the desk my name she jumped up and went to get the practice manager, who came out and introduced himself to me, asked me if I'd like a tea or coffee then ran off to make it himself.  He came back with my tea and I was taken into a side room with comfy chairs.  Our chat was very similar to the telephone chat in as much as we seemed to chat as if it was just a social call with him occasionally asking questions that gave him an indication of why I might have developed this phobia. 

He then asked if I would be prepared to be introduced to one of the dentists, which I felt ready to agree to.  After all it didn't hurt just to say hello did it?  He left to get me a 2nd cup of tea and go into the dentist to give her the low down on me while I filled out a basic medical form.

On coming back with my tea I followed him along the corridor to one of the surgeries.  I stood on the threshold and now my fear was building up again to about a number 8.  The dentist and her nurse said hello and I know I answered them, but was desperately thinking, do I turn around and run or do I just step over the threshold.  I was actually voicing this all out loud because the dentist (Caroline) said, oh don't worry we can chat standing up.  Just having her saying that dropped me instantly down to a number 3 or 4.   So I stepped in the room and she said would you like to sit down as a definite question.  I could see her hand was open toward the dental chair but I said I will sit here if you don't mind.  This was on an ordinary upright chair.  She was fine with that so I sat sipping my tea while we talked.

I was in a bit of a panic still so I can't for the life of me remember what was said between us, but it ended up with me actually voluntarily getting up and sitting on "The Chair" and saying that I was determined not to leave the clinic without at least having an ordinary check up.  Being in that surgery felt more like being in a lounge.  You felt like a person and not just "the next patient".  You felt as if your feelings mattered.  It was important to make sure you were comfortable above all else.

Not only did I have the check up but I also had the x-rays and a big discussion on what treatment I would need.  Which I am stunned to see that it only turns out to be replacement of two black metal fillings with new white fillings - a scale and polish - and then here comes the reason why I suddenly plucked up the courage for the first time again after 16 years to go for treatment. 

I had known for at least the last year that my bottom gum of my four front teeth was receding - The teeth are becoming loose and it's hard to keep them clean which of course is making a bad situation worse.  The dentist said that my jaw bone has shrunk a lot which is quite normal as one gets older.   I had the choice of her taking the two outside ones out of the four and then holding on to the other two for a while, but quite honestly I would be losing the other two shortly after anyway.  So I've opted to have all four removed.

Now it comes to discussing me having sedation.  She said that I could of course have intravenous sedation, but then I wouldn't be learning to overcome my phobia.  Now I'm back up to about a 6, thinking oh bugger, she is right, but will I be able to go for several appointments, instead of the one it would be with sedation.

They do it so that you have to keep going back but only have little bits done at a time.  I presume that's so that you not only start to feel comfortable visiting them but are also only in "The Chair" for short periods at a time.

But now here comes the sugar to swallow with the pill.  They don't expect you to do it cold turkey so to speak.  She gave me a 5mg Diazepam to take away and then take that an hour before my next appointment.

For my next appointment I will be having a scale and polish to remove any bacteria below the gum line where I haven't had treatment for a long time.  I also think that I am going to be acclimatized with the imp trays, as I really, really, go into a panic when having an impression taken.  I hate those trays in my mouth with a passion.

When I came home, over the course of the rest of the day my girls discovered where I had been that morning.  They were really surprised that I had managed to do it.  Aimee said that I should have asked her to go with me.  But I needed to do this alone.  I had no idea how I would behave on going into the clinic.  When one is suffering pure terror logical thought and behavior goes out of the window.  If I was going to show myself up then I didn't want any of my girls witnessing it.

This treatment doesn't come cheap unfortunately.  But after only ever having NHS treatment during the course of my life, I can tell you, paying privately for care is a whole new ball game.  I'm not going to begrudge a penny if this all cures me of my phobia.

I now have to force myself through the next step and turn up next Friday for my next appointment.  With the care I have had this week and armed with the diazepam I should be able to do it.

I have a long way to go, and many appointments to come before hopefully I will be cured.  But with just one telephone call and one visit I am able to write this blog discussing and actually mentioning "Dentist" which is a massive step.