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Work from Animalarium: Monday Matticchio
Now imagine we're in a dentist's waiting room, and cats were allowed... Pretty much! Check more awesome work at Animalarium by clicking on the pic.

Today, Bryan Adams and my cat saved my life. (Oh, the drama!) For the first time in my 30 years, I had to go to the dentist for a filling. A teensy, tiny filling – but one that nevertheless needed a needle. And if you know anything about me, you know that I have a debilitating fear of needles. Some of the standout moments in my long list of needle-related incidents include:

• Being betrayed by my parents as they lift my unsuspecting self up so that the pediatrician can stick a needle in my butt
• Having a nurse lie on top of me to hold me still so the doctor can get some bloodwork (in matric, while deathly ill with glandular fever)
• Collapsing my veins (three times) while the Liberty Life nurse tries to get blood for my dread disease policy (useless, I got duped into it, and I’ve never got a policy since)
• Ruining my husband’s jacket with tears while the dermatologist removes a “dodgy mole (it turned out to be an unhappy hair follicle) from my arm (yes, he was there to hold my hand)

So yes, needles. An hour before my dentist’s appointment found me schnarfing rescue remedy while getting increasingly panicky. Driving there I could barely focus on the road. And then I tried to distract myself by reading a magazine in the waiting room – no use.

Which is where my cat came in. People say you should go to your happy place in times of stress or fear. So I gave it a shot, flicking through various scenarios in my head and finally settling on Her Royal Highness Queen Peroni in one of her favourite positions: purring a mile a minute on my chest, every now and then delicately stretching a leg and flexing her pretty pink paws so that I can tickle between the pads. She does this usually when I’m trying to read, and it’s terribly cute and strangely calming. So I’m thinking of Queen Peroni, and it’s working… Kind of. Because every now and then her truck-engine purr sounds strangely drill-like, and every now and then the little pink paws sprout needlelike claws…

Round about then, the dentist came a-calling, causing an involuntary spasm of my tearducts, which he kindly ignored. I stumbled onto the chair… And this is where dear old Bryan Adams came in. As the dentist took my cheek between thumb and forefinger, vigorously shaking it in preparation for the needle’s entrance, I closed my eyes and started singing at the top of my lungs – in my head. “I got my first real six-string… Bought it at the five and dime… Played it ’till my fingers bled… Was the summer of sixty nine…” Word for word, beat by beat, totally ignoring the goings on in my hard-done-by mouth. And it worked. It really did.

I have my husband to thank for this piece of advice. It also works for air turbulence, I’ll have you know. Give it a shot.

So although I won’t call it my most fun experience, I survived it, stumbling out there with the vague fear that drool might be dripping down my chin.

And I am no longer a filling virgin, more’s the pity. Or as a friend sneakily commented, “it takes a filling to no longer be a virgin.” True that…

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Published inPersonal ramblings


  1. Stuart Stuart

    Ha ha. I had a similar experience a few days back when getting the barrage of shots for my Africa trip. Two injections in one arm and three in the other. My arms hurt for two days after! Yellow fever can’t be worse than this!

    I have similar childhood memories to you – “look at the pretty nurse!” and then whack! Those scars don’t heal so easy. My worst is passing out. Which I’m glad to say only happened once – but I’ve come very close to hitting the floor a few times. I’ll let you in on a secret – it’s super embarrassing for a guy to be scraped off the floor by a burly nurse who can barely contain her mirth. Especially considering I wasn’t even the one being injected on that occasion. 🙂

    • I’ve tried different ways of getting over it, but my mind gets tunnelvision and can only focus on the needle! Also got a yellow fever shot ages back… Makes you wonder if travel is overrated! 🙂

  2. Vanessa Vanessa

    I’m so with you on the debilitating fear of needles! It’s a traumatic experience EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!

  3. Megs Megs

    Jy’t een naald storie gemis…. jou verstandtande…. selfs ma moes vir ‘n week hier wees vir dit…hehehe Bly jy het dit en vandag oorleef!!!

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