4/01/2010

Childhood Fears - Looking Back (A Beginning, Part 2)

Getting back to the second part (and what will more than likely be a continuous analysis) of WHY I have anxiety, or at least where it came from. After the move to Arizona, my youngest brother and I transitioned into the public school system and my older brother to high school. In Missouri we attended a private Christian school, which I happened to love.

We settled into an apartment right when we arrived in Scottsdale, AZ, waiting for the sale of our house to go through. I remember, if I recall correctly, we started school mid-year. I was in 2nd grade and met a wonderful little friend named Alice, who was Japanese. What I remember about 2nd grade were the crazy amount of girl scouts. I didn't get it. My parents were definitely way too busy for that sort of nonsense. Besides the millions of girl and boy scouts, I liked school. 2nd grade never presented a problem; I mean, it's 2nd grade. However, my best friend Alice moved away and I met another girl, Violet, who lived down the street from me. Convenient.

Skip to 3rd grade. Mrs. Cook was the sweetest teacher I could ever ask for. I guess I had some balls on the first day of school, because I walked right up to Violet, who happened to sit in the front row because she wore glasses. I said, "Hi Violet, do you want to be best friends this year?" and she replied with "Yes". There. My year was all set; I had a best friend.

Very soon after beginning 3rd grade, I got sick. And I'm not talking about my teeth. Okay, I can explain that one. First of all, I can't even begin to explain the ridiculous events that took place in that grade: lice checks, which weren't done in private, but right smack dab in class (not that I was worried)! God knows some lice would've definitely caused some future anxiety if I were sent home with it. But no, poor Jeremy was "the one" who caught that bug; bad rep all through grade school. Back to my teeth. We had a dentist come to our class for some sort of "health week". One would think a dermatologist would make it, considering we were kids and all we did in Arizona was swim. But no, a dentist and someones parent, I'm sure. How embarrassing (for me anyway) to get in a line and watch everyone say "Ahhhhh!" while the dentist blurts out "You have about five cavities, Tiffany" and then have everyone look at you in disgust. "I already know that. I DO have a dentist", as sarcastic as a 7 year old could respond with.

Despite semi-passing health week, like I said, I ironically became very ill. I thought it was a cold; a REALLY horrible cold. Mrs. Cook noticed that I was trembling and that I also couldn't keep enough Kleenex nearby, so she sent me to the nurse's office. Next thing I know, my aunt has me at the doctor's office. It gets a little blurry from here, but at some point I had a really high, high fever. Maybe this explains why I can only recall bits and pieces of the order of events. I think I went to the doctor and then straight to the hospital. But I also remember being thrown into a bathtub of cold water, by my dad, in order to reduce my high fever. There were several tests/testing and never will I forget the horrible experience I had under anesthesia. My "dream" was of me running to the center of a flashy spiral - and the devil was chasing me. Right before I reached the center of the spiral, I woke up. This should have been a clear sign to never try anything hallucinogenic.

Fall of 1984 I was admitted into the children's hospital and spent the next few months there. My homework was brought to me, I had the best visitors (like clowns that made animal balloons) and my roommates were kids with their tonsils taken out, complaining they (felt like they) were dying. "Uh, hello? I was dying!" I don't know who was in charge of assigning kids to rooms, but seeing several patients go home per day, sure didn't brighten my mood. Oh yeah, I was diagnosed with some sort of rare kidney disorder that I think I was born with? I don't even know. I just remember my doctor didn't know what he was doing and that I was dying. I really wasn't scared about death. Well maybe I was. I'm sure I was terified. I asked a lot of questions about death and I certainly didn't want to die. I do know that I was scared of sleeping alone in that dark, lonely hospital bed. Sometimes my parents didn't spend the night, so my (new) doctor would come in every night and hold my hand until I fell asleep. I loved him. Not only because he saved my life, but because his name was Dr. Katz. Even back then I was a cat lover. I was released shortly after Christmas.

I'm not really sure if I have Post Traumatic Stress/Panic from this event, but I do know it's a very important part of my life. If we had not moved to Scottsdale and dealt with some really extensive testing/treatment, I do not believe I would be alive today. However, I do believe this is just the beginning to my fear of dying, as well as my fear of anything medical related.

So now that I was out of the hospital, we got right back to focusing on those cavities....

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