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Focus on breathing

Friday, April 02, 2010

I have been the proud owner of a wii fit game and balance board for about 3 weeks. My son teased me when I was using the yoga - focusing on my breathing, and the exercise where you sit on the board and stare at a candle flame.
"Are you meditating?" he exclaimed.
"Um, no. I am breathing." I said as my focus broke, and the machine went "Aye Ya!" ending my session. I have been doing this nearly every day for the last 3 weeks as a stress reduction technique. Today it was put to the test.

Two days ago, while eating my bowl of cereal and 2% milk, I broke a back tooth. Darn.
So, I made an appointment to visit the dentist today.
I do not do well at the dentist.
I panic. I put it off. I avoid it.
I am allergic to certain kinds of Novocaine and have actually been sent to the ER when I got sick while having a procedure done when I was in my 20's. Then I still had to go back to get the filling.
Luckily, the dentists do not use the kind that gives me a reaction anymore.
Unfortunately, for a while I would also have to pre-medicate due to my heart murmur, and I would get sick from the antibiotics, so for a very long time (many years, 10 perhaps) I put off going unless it was absolutely necessary. I am allergic to many antibiotics too.
I found a dentist in the last couple years who will put up with my nervousness. Although when he tried to do a root canal I had a panic attack and almost gave up on the whole thing if it weren't for the fact I had no choice.

Today, I hoped there would be no root canal. Just a crown! Whew! Still, my nerves get the better of me. Previous visits, I have been encouraged to "breathe through my nose". This is not always easy for me, especially with my allergies. This morning, I made sure I took my allergy medications for easy breathing, but also needed my inhaler. That is where my heart beat took off.

The assistant gave me a soft folded blanket to put under my neck due to my cervical spine injuries, and I descended into that upside down like place where the dentist pokes prods and drills to his heart's content, so it seems. As the dentist drilled, I stared at the ceiling, at a flame like reflection, pretending it was the one from the game, and kept on focusing on my breathing. My worst moment was the panic attack I suffered while they took an x-ray of the offending member of my mouth. Other than that, the fact that I kept on concentrating on filling my diaphragm inhaling, and exhaling out, kept my focus on something other than the noisy whine emitting from the little drill. (It wasn't me as I couldn't whine since all that stuff was in my mouth.) I found that while I was in the passenger seat (the dentist's chair) - my heart was racing. Perhaps it was nerves, perhaps it was the inhaler, perhaps it was a combination of both. Typically, when I do my cardio workouts, I am able to help lower my rate by focusing on my breathing. I absolutely could not get my rate to drop. I began thinking. Well, If my heart rate is up, can I consider this a workout? Hmm. Well, I was not sweating, not even a cold sweat. But, I definitely was having a cardio good time.

After the temporary crown was placed (I go back in 3 weeks for my permanent crown! Just like checkers - King me!) I went home and tried to unwind. My lips, cheek, jaw was numb. My stomach was upset. I put off work for a short time. My husband made me some scrambled eggs, and then I went to work. My lips were thawing, but they sure felt funny when I applied my lipstick!

Anyway, I was impressed with just how important it was that I have been focusing on my breathing through the Yoga games as a relaxation technique. I know I will continue to do that light activity on a daily basis because I really need to keep training my body, and my breathing so that I can help de-fuse myself during stressful situations. And, if the dentist is not stress, nothing is.

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