I don’t know how people choose their professions. I imagine some emerge from the womb, daimon in tow (as in James Hillman’s “The Soul’s Code”) and are firmly on their life’s path just past toddlerhood. Some follow in a parent’s footsteps. Others take a circuitous route, trying on one job after another until, like Goldilocks, they find the one which is just right. Some never seem to find their calling.
Happily, our endodontist found his rightful calling. I’ve covered my dental phobias before. I know there are very bad dentists, adequate dentists and exceptional ones. Now I know an exceptionally good endodontist - and that’s not the medication talking! Dr. V. is as Chuck described: intelligent, patient, skilled, compassionate, a natural teacher and he has a sense of humor. Despite Chuck’s reassurance and Chuck being welcomed in the room during my root canal, I was still quite anxious. That anxiety manifested itself as a combination of a deer-in-the-headlights look, nervous laughter, lame jokes and sweaty palms. When Dr. V. sat down after his initial examination to tell me there was a possibility I might lose the tooth entirely, my nervousness ratcheted up several notches. It was during the ensuing discussion about my options that he became aware I was “pre-medicated”. To which he responded: “This is you on Valium?”. “Yes” I said. And then I hit him! Well, it was more like I slugged him gently in the arm amid much laughter and a significant amount of righteous indignation on my part. I mean, I was not curled up in the fetal position in a corner. Nor was I still sitting in the car outside the office. I was in the chair, having signed a consent form to let him do a freakin’ root canal. They give medals for that sort of bravery - don’t they?
Well, the tooth was able to be saved. The root canal was remarkably pain free. Dr. V. is a big proponent of topical anesthetic (Pina Colada flavored no less!) and blessed Novocaine. Truth be told, the procedure was quite interesting. I spelled questions on the palm of my hand to Chuck, who relayed them to Dr. V. He in turn answered each one. Yes, we are a couple of odd ducks and even our personal quirkiness did not phase Dr. V. He just rolled with it - lame jokes, painful puns and all. I told you, the guy is good at his job and we are both very, very grateful.