by Roberto “Obet” Dionisio
Different people have different phobias. And my phobia is the Dentist. This was a result of a very traumatic experience when I was in grade school. when my tooth was extracted and the bleeding took time to stop. It turned out I was what they call a “bleeder”. From then on, I have lost my trust and confidence to any person wearing a dental uniform. I have tried to avoid seeing a Dentist unless it is absolutely necessary. And this carried on until my present age.
Lately, if I need a tooth extraction, I need to be sedated or I will suffer a nervous breakdown or an attack of anxiety which would cause my blood pressure to shoot up. So, even if I am having a problem in grinding cooked meat, I did not get my molars fixed. I was just contented in eating soft food like fish and other seafood. The minimal meat dish I eat is “Sinigang,” “Nilaga”, and sometimes “Kare-Kare.”
Some months ago, my wife happened to see an advertisement in the Philippine Tribune about the availability of a new Dentistry somewhere in Rooty Hill. And since our family dentist is located in Parramatta, this one seemed more convenient. Knowing about my problem in eating meat, my wife tricked me in accompanying her to this new Dentistry for the replacement of her old and defective denture. While at the Dentistry, she cornered me in making an appointment with the Dentist to have a look at my tooth problem. And indeed, I really need to have some of my old teeth extracted.
We talked to the Dentist about my condition. Unfortunately, they do not sedate patients in extracting tooth. If I have to undergo sedation outside, and have my new denture done in their Dentistry, the cost would be beyond our budget. Because of financial constraints, my arm was literally twisted by my wife to agree for the tooth extraction to be done in the Rooty Hill Clinic of Dr. Arnold and Myra Cunanan.
Come the appointed time, I was again having cold feet and cold hands. I had to ask my wife to come with me inside and hold my hands for the entire duration of the treatment. All the while, I thought that it was Dr. Arnold Cunanan who would perform the extraction.Suddenly, a woman came out with a face mask. This was the first time I have seen this woman inside the Dentistry. Is she a Dental assistant or what? Maybe, she is just an Anaesthesiologist who would inject some pain reliever so that I would not feel too much pain.But again, I could not bear to face a total stranger, let alone a woman in a Dentist’s uniform. I was already seated under the lights of several dental apparatus and I felt like a prisoner with no means of escape.
Then, the woman introduced herself as Dr. Myra Ordanes Cunanan. She was going to perform the tooth extraction. The introduction was so mildly delivered and out of courtesy, I let her inject the anaesthetic, believing in her words that the sting would be comparable to an ant’s bite. I was already expecting the dreaded moment and I began to perspire. I just closed my eyes and prepared for the inevitable.With a melodic voice that was calmly spoken, I felt mesmerized when she began talking to me in an assuring way that everything would be all right. All throughout the procedure, she continued to talk to me telling me what she would be doing and how the extraction was going on. I have never encountered a Dentist with such a soothing voice that I completely forgot my phobia of the Dentist.
With such a very pleasing voice, I sat still and closed my eyes. I do not know how long I sat there. What I remember is that I was not sedated, but I fell asleep as if being hypnotized by her voice. Before I knew it, she victoriously announced, “There, it is finished”. I could not believe that I was able to endure the whole procedure not feeling afraid or nervous, no anxiety, and my blood pressure remained steady.
Now, I know who was that lady who came in wearing a dentist’s uniform. She was an ANGEL who erased my phobia and brought back my trust and confidence to the man and woman in dental uniform. Thank you, Dr. Myra Ordanes Cunanan. You are a very capable and an extra-ordinary Dentist. You are the best.