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living linda

Small mouth and the dentist

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Hi everyone. I had a back tooth break a while back and have been putting off going to the dentist. Not only because of the money but because like so many others with this disease I have an extremely small, non-pliable mouth. My dentist is a small lady and is so patient with me. I hope she doesn't retire before I don't need her any more. Anyway, today I had to get a temporary cap put on and my tongue feels like it had a sliding accident on the freeway pavement and my lips are cracked on the corners from stretching them for two hours. She suggested I use "the gas" so I made it through without too much pain. After I left there I thought I'd run by my doctor's office for lab work since I had some gas left in me. That is a whole different topic. My veins are terrible and he had a new lady working. Needless to say I have not had a good day. Thanks for listening!

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Hi Linda,


My dentist is a great guy with small hands, so I know how you feel about yours! While I've only actively disliked a few doctors in my time, I never realized how concerned about the welfare of my favorites I would become: "Don't retire, don't move, take your vitamins, wear a hat in the winter! Are you using sunscreen? Do you get yearly preventative medicine check-ups?" :lol:


I hope tomorrow is a much better day for you!



Jeannie McClelland

(Retired) ISN Director of Support Services

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Manager

(Retired) ISN Blog Manager

(Retired) ISN Assistant News Guide

(Retired) ISN Artist

International Scleroderma Network

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Hi Linda,


I'm glad you survived, if barely, your dental and medical adventures today. I sure do know what all that is like.


I won't let them draw blood unless they are using a butterfly and get a good vein up, usually by using a heating pad. It is doubly hard because they usually keep medical offices so cold and then my veins go into hiding. It takes friendly assertiveness to ask them to wait, really wait, until they have found a really good vein.


I make jokes, anything to get their attention and realize if they don't pay attention they might be in for a very bad blood draw. I'll tell them its against my religion to allow more than one blood draw attempt so they better make it good the first time. :lol:


Lately I've been quite fortunate in draws, but that was only after I became more assertive and monitored whether a vein looked good or not before letting them go for that first poke. If they seem like they aren't listening, I temper it with lines like, I know you know your job but I know these veins even better so working together, we can get a good draw on the first go, wouldn't you like that?


Most of the time they are in just too big of a hurry so they usually have trouble slowing down to wait for the heating pad to work or the good vein to pop up. Joking around helps buy some time for the veins to get with the program. And I always double-check to make sure they are using a butterfly (smallest) needle.


I found that for me, its preferable to be a difficult assertive patient rather than a human pin cushion!

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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I found this out the hard way. After 5 attempts to draw blood with 2 different nurses, I now tell the tech that I'm a hard one to get blood from. Wow, this has made all the difference. Hot packs have come out, and last time it was a butterfly needle and a little line to connect the different vials to. That made a whole world of difference. I didn't even bruise like I usually do. I find it hard to speak up when the experts are at their job, but it is worth the hassle.


I was asked if I would be willing to have an inexperienced person put in an IV when I went for surgery the last time, and I said that probably wouldn't be a good idea. Good thing, the experienced nurse had to make a second attempt, use a smaller needle and change locations to try to get it in. Unfortunately, this ended up pretty hard on my daughter that was along to drive me home, she ended up fainting when she tried to walk to the waiting room because of listening to the nurse describe the process to the newbie.



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