I’m afraid of the dentist. Big time. I used to do anything to avoid going. Then I found a wonderful dentist who believed in pain free dentistry. The only thing that was painful was his bill. I had to leave him behind when I left the UK and as luck would have it in two successive days here in Santiago I got toothache and broke my glasses. Anxiety levels rose. I phoned a friend who made an appointment for me not only with his dentist but with his optician. That made things worse. Now I had a deadline. At 12.30 on Monday I had to meet a new dentist, explain what was wrong and hope they didn’t hurt me too much. Fear grows fear. The anxiety spiralled. I thought, “you still have to learn a lot of Spanish...how do you say “ this pain is dull, deep, gnawing and at times it throbs?” But off to the dentist I went. As if accompanying a child to their first day at school my Gallego friend came with me. We sat in the waiting room and minutes ticked by. "I read your last blog," he said, “do you have more stories of the people you met on the way?” And so I found myself telling him about a few of them. I started with the funniest.
Next morning there was a special programme on La Roda TV as the Mayor launched their Anti Drugs strategy.
As these words left my lips the receptionist appeared. “John, the dentist will see you now.” Her name is Dr Eva. She has little English. But with that pilgrim combination of words, gestures, drawings and a dictionary we understood each other just fine. We both learned new words from each other. She diagnosed the problem and applied the treatment. I got the message she also believes in pain free dentistry. I was relieved and at last sin miedo.