I had a hell of a week.
Dr. Daisy tells me as I leave her office, “Because of this cranial treatment, expect to feel various physical and emotional disturbances this week.”
Two days later I wake up with a throbbing pain in a molar and swollen and painful gums. It is New year’s Eve Day. The area in question in my mouth has been bothering me off and on for several years, or more, but nothing can be found. But, here it is, it’s shown itself, bright and bloody, at the start of the Holiday!
Now, I’m freaking out. My personal phobia, my only phobia, comes at me in a rush:
I’m a little kid, again, going through massive dental work. I’m a little kid, again, when my sister Polly is dying, my mother is dying and my grandmother is dying.
Nobody actually dies, but we don’t know that outcome.
Polio is rampant and we kids can’t swim in swimming pools and we have to stay away from crowds.
The elementary school shows us a black and white movie with Polio as a Giant Shadow moving over a little boy in a striped tee shirt who is standing happily unaware in front of a barn. He dies. We children shriek, start crying and hide our heads in our laps.
Nuclear testing is happening in the state next to us and that’s only the testing that we know about. Nuclear bomb siren test warnings go off every day at noon. We children fling ourselves under our desks as practice to protect ourselves from the blast. Then, we go home, take up shovels and dig deeper into the earth, helping our parents build our bomb shelters.
Teachers spray DDT, the poison fly spray, in the rooms around us kids as we do our math.
I get a bad kidney infection and the sulfa drug to cure it gives me raging hives. My parents tell the doctor how looney I’m getting with fear of disease and death and he tells them to get a big stick and beat me when I express my fears.
I am a wreck of a child. Death is everywhere and out to get all of us. I become so terrified that I can’t even eat, as I think I will choke to death. I am locked in dread but I can’t tell anyone or out comes the fat stick.
I become a silent, fear-filled ninny.
And later, as I grow older I find that traumas you experience as a child, that you stuff inside and live with….well, they stick and stay with you your entire life, no matter how illogical they may be in your current life as a rather sane, grown-up person.
And, so, the tooth episode sets me off.
After the Holiday when I finally get to see the dentist, he takes one look at my digital X-rays and says, “You have a cracked root. There’s lots of infection. That tooth has to come out and right now.”
It has to come out?
The dentist sets me up with an oral surgeon for the next day.
As I drive down the mountain for surgery, I am in such a state of phobic dread and terror that I scream and sob all the way down the hill.
What has Dr. Daisy unleashed?
She has set loose the child within. The hidden, screaming, terrified child within.
Oh well and oh good. This little child needs her say. She never got to say it. She needs to be listened to, taken care of and looked after.
A few days later, I see Dr. Daisy, again.
A bit toothless, I tumble out the story of my distress, mentioning that she, Dr. Daisy, sure made some big stuff happen. Like my tooth blew up, finally, and that’s good because now the poison is finally out of me, but she also blew the lid off my only fear, which is a frenzied, fear filled, irrational, illogical and highly embarrassing phobia. I tell her I am suffering mightily in my mind.
Dr. Daisy works on my face some more. And, then she works on my belly. She feels her way along and says what comes to her.
She tells me that I am very forthright, that I am very strong, deeply rooted, very grounded and hugely courageous. She laughs a gentle laugh and says that the phobia is just a teensy, tiny part of me.
As I leave I say warily, “So, what can I expect to have happen to me this time?”
Dr. Daisy looks at me and says calmly, “You’re going to cry a lot. Your eyes tell me they are ready to do that.”
So. I’m having another Adventure. And, I do love adventure, don’t I!
Gee…What will tomorrow bring?
I’m going out right now to cruise the streets in town, looking for my Dad in his Old Red Caddie. Looking for a Dead Man Driving a Red Cadillac will get my mind off myself, don’t you think??