Which medical visit is worse: Dentist, MRI or the annual gynecological exam

Everyone has a medical horror story.  I know someone who had an operation and continued to have pain to only find out that a sponge had been left in his leg.  I know someone who was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to switch insurers in a somewhat sneaky manner so that he could get on an experimental drug trial. He has now lived ten years cancer free due to the drug trial.  My son was told he had an ear infection and was given antibiotics which only made him worse. Turns out he didn’t have an ear infection after all.  He had a stomach flu. I’m never going back to that provider again. Five days of my son crying had me balling as well. I won’t go on as I am not here to bash our medical, healthcare system. I’m doing my part to try to fix it and provide wide access but I too am a healthcare consumer.


While I was getting my second MRI in less than a year, and my 6th in four years (but who’s counting),  I stared at the top of the circular machine in which I found myself and tried counting to 2,700. I kept losing count but it got me thinking of what medical visits I hated most. Before I knew it, my 45 minutes inside the loud MRI machine were over. Well, I will confess that the Valium helped.  For once,  I didn’t mind the sound and feeling that I was being turned round and round inside a coffee grinder, blender or washing machine.


But let me share with you my rather off-beat thoughts while getting an MRI.

First off, I’ve developed a sense of claustrobia recently that I didn’t really have before. Or at least to my conscious knowledge.  Thus, I dread getting an MRI. The worst procedure is the head MRI.  A mask, like Hannibal Lecter’s, is placed over your face. I love the movie Silence of the Lambs, as that helped me decide to become a psychologist. However, I don’t really care to enact a scene from it. Despite my apparent claustrophobia and anxiety, getting an MRI is not for me the worst medical visit type.  I know that may seem like a strange statement on my part, considering that this whole post in face on my MRI-induced stream-of-consciousness. Like I mentioned previously, there is Valium. And once you are done with the MRI, it is over. You can easily go out for a drink or two afterwards. Next.


Now let’s consider the annual GYN exam. It’s a rite of passage for women that we must do year after year after year. It can be embarrassing. In particular, the first time you go to get your annual GYN exam done, you may not be too sure what to expect. Other than some bits of embarrassment, I am not too sure that this particular medical visit is all that bad. Sure, there is a bit of pain when your cervix is clamped open. And perhaps if you are a movie aficionado as I am, you have flashbacks to the horrible movie about evil gynecologists. However, just as with the MRI, you can go out for a drink with you afterwards and be totally okay. You just move on with your life. I am so okay with this particular type of medical visit, not even prefer to have male gynecologist. They just seem to be friendlier and attempt to be more nurturing. I know, that sounds quite contradictory. But that has been my experience to date. Next.


Now, let’s talk about going to the dentist. I will state from the outset of this paragraph that I hate going to the dentist. Actually, I abhor going to the dentist. I find that there is nothing worse than this particular type of medical visit. You often have to sit in a chair with your mouth wide open with lights coming down onto your eyes and two or three people may be poking around or pouring water down into your mouth. There are times when you feel like you may even choke or drown.
Furthermore, there are often many judgemental statements and looks made by the dentist or by their dental hygienist. If you have a cavity, you get that disapproving look from them. And you start trying to justify why you eat so many gummies. You will even note, but you eat vitamin gummies. Yet, no matter what you say, he still gives you that look. How about when they have to fix a cavity and you have to hear the sound of that drill? The sound of metal in your mouth is quite unnerving. The feel of the cotton ball supposedly soaking up the saliva at the side of your mouth and up under your gums is quite disgusting. There so many textures, feelings, and sounds going on during your visit to the dentist. And when that visit is over, they always have to schedule you for that follow up. So you know it’s never over. For me, dear friends, this is the worst visit of all. Do you know what is the ticker for me? You often can’t go get a drink or two afterwards as your mouth may be numb.


As I stated at the outset, we all have our stories. Which is your worst?

24 replies »

  1. Dentist. I have strange reactions to anaesthetics, even local ones. Last time I went I had work done on two back teeth. My face was still numb from my cheeks down to my upper chest 3 hours later. I choked half a dozen times on my dinner until I gave up eating for the day. Not looking forward to the next visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had several MRIs, but before the very first one, like five minutes before I left to have it, a friend of mine told me in abject horror that I was going to absolutely hate it and would completely freak out once I was inside the machine. LOL! Thankfully, I did not.

    I’ve had all sorts of surgeries, tests, procedures. I’d say one of my least favorites was an ultrasound of my thyroid. Having that wand thing run over and over my neck while trying to breathe was not at all pleasant. The colonoscopy sucked too, not the actual procedure, but the prep was HELL.


  3. Dentist. Dentist. Dentist. I love my dentist, she is such a nice lady. However, my mouth always hurts when I leave, and anything being done with my teeth / gums in general always hurts days after the fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dentist for sure. I don’t get cervical exams but I can’t believe a colonoscopy is any less traumatic. When it is over it is over. MRIs are nothing. I close my eyes and meditate. Who needs Valium?

    But dentistry? Holding your mouth open for most of an hour is excruciating. Hitting a nerve that didn’t get the Novocaine memo? Ouch! An hour later you are still biting your cheek or lip because it is still numb. An all the time clips from Marathon Man running thru your head.


  5. dentists are 100% my least favorite. I don’t go unless I have to. I was 12 and they filled 2 teeth for absolutely no reason, because they had some new sandblasting technology which they say you don’t need anesthetic for…I totally disagree. The only time I went to the dentist since was last December when I had a tooth crack in half, so I had to get it pulled. I won’t be back again until I have another issue. I stay as far away from that mess as possible.


  6. I hate the dentist also. The first time I went to my current dentist I had a good experience and thought the experience at the dentist would be better. The last 2 times it was like torture. Hated the MRI I had also. Never told me I had to be in there over an hour and not to move at all. I had other things I needed to get to and they got mad when I told them after knowing I had been in there so long. I also hate lab work. every DR. has different things they need to test for and some of the technicians cannot get me without pain or sticking more than one time. Had bruises a couple of times. Good ones get it easy and painless the first time.


  7. I have to agree. Dental visits are the worst for me! (Although I’ve never had to do an MRI, knock on wood.) They used to be more painful as a kid, but I’ve tried to be more meticulous with my dental hygiene habits over the years, which has helped slightly.


  8. Nope, gyn visit for me. I was 12 the first time I was forced to have a pelvic exam. I think my mother was convinced I was having sex. I was not. She took me to her gyno, this ancient man who delivered me (so in fairness I guess he had already seen my bits). A nurse stayed in the room and just stared hardcore at my vagina the whole time, eyes wide. It felt even more invasive than the actual exam, which was incredibly painful. I cried the whole way through.


  9. Funny but holding still for an MRI was never a problem. I drop into an almost hypnotic state and just live in my thoughts for a while. Dentistry is my misery. God did not man for man to hold his mouth that open for that long.
    Obviously, a gyn visit is not something I worry about. Colonoscopy, OTOH, is a pain in the butt for everyone.


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