Root canal. The words strike irrational fear. Like snakes, we instinctively recoil from certain things. Dental work is one of them. I was at the dentist today, and root canal therapy was the agenda. I get very anxious. I was a victim of a country schools dental program in which there were dental nurses only - no dentists - and they drilled without anaesthetic. It was the country in the 1960's. Boys displaying courage was more important than spending money on anaesthetics. The only encouragement consisted of being told that only girls cry and be still. Now I would never go to any dentist voluntarily unless there is great pain.
Ralph Dayman is a very good dentist. He loves art and likes to help artists. When I first went to him he was young and now like me he is a little less young, although he gives the impression of being only days older than all those years ago. He has a nurse who is as beautiful inside as outside, and that is very beautiful indeed. She has a name that means The light of love, what a beautiful name to carry through life. They both did their best to make things as easy for me as possible, yet every sound caused me to jump, every vibration from the drill made me imagine terrorists tearing my skin off. I suspect I would have faced flaying like that easier than facing that drill.
And afterwards I felt such intense gratitude. Not just for finishing, but for having done such a wonderfully professional job. The anxiety seems to heighten the emotions.
Now the dentist wants me to come back in one month to finish the job. I am not going to think about it, I will just enjoy not having to face that trauma again for a while.