It wouldn’t happen today. I was a five year old boy at St. Joseph’s school in Oamaru and when the dental nurse got up to the “o’s” I had to leave school (alone) to walk the mile down the road to the dental clinic, or, as we called it, the “murder house.”
The past few nights I have been kept awake with toothache and the fear that a trip to the murder house was unavoidable. Yesterday the pain passed my tolerance limit and this morning I was in the dentist chair fighting back tears of pain. Then the dentist picked up the anaesthetic needle and as she aimed it at my gum I relaxed knowing that relief was on the way.
Tonight the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off, the pain has faded and I’m looking forward to next week when the dentist will finish the job. The murder house has become a place of healing and relief.
In the moments before the anaesthetic took effect the dentist, her assistant and I chatted about people’s fear of visits to the dentist. I was aware of the many people who are in desperate need of dental treatment, but can’t afford it.
A wider perspective is often enough to lessen the pain of present burdens.