Wednesday, March 14, 2012
FEAR: The Long and Short of It
The person I feared most, the person who made me tremble during face-to-face encounters, will no longer have to face me either.
I should be heaving a long sigh of relief, but I suddenly miss her.
I am speaking of my dentist, my husband's dentist, and my children's dentist of many, many years—Dr. G.
Her children finally prevailed upon her to retire after poking into patients' mouths for over 60 years. She is 80 something today.
One day last month JC went to see her but he was turned away with a warm good-bye. To my family, it was the end of an era.
Looking for a new dentist was like looking for a needle in (let me revise the idiom) a hectare of haystacks. Thankfully, JC remembered, and sought out, his friend whose wife is also a dentist.
As I entered the new clinic, I thought I was zapped into Oz and Narnia.
Little did I know that dental clinics today are bright, seats become beds, drilling does not take forever, soothing music comes on, laser lights are pointed into your teeth, and bibs and rinsing glasses are disposable. No whirring sounds, just a high-pitched extra-terrestrial tone, and the dentist has little time to hum or narrate how life has been.
When our new dentist Dr. P filled my cavity, she asked me who did my bridge. "Well done," she said. I thought it was a wonderful tribute to our 80+ old teeth doctor that a new generation dentist, reared on the latest in technology, would still marvel at something done without modern doodads years ago!
Who is better, our old dentist or new?
The new one scares me too, not less, but in much less time.
The old one scared me much, but she spent gentle time making the fear go away by telling stories of life and humming a familiar tune—in the process, she became an instrument in drilling in grace that enables us to build relationships.
Old Dr. G will forever hold my deepest affection. Well, for as long I have teeth (those I have been born with and those I paid for).