I learned the hard way that the most important part of healing is human contact.
When I was in my early twenties, I needed a root canal.
I’m sure I didn’t have insurance, but in those days a person could actually afford to pay a doctor.
I was living in the city, but for some reason my dentist was in Kirkwood. My girlfriend Lora had to go with me because drugs would be necessary and I wouldn’t be able to drive.
I should have known something would go wrong; my doctor’s name was Hugh R. Dunn (no kidding).
The procedure to remove the nerve in my bad tooth went well and Lora drove me home.
A week later we went back for the follow up. Dr. Dunn took a long needle he called a probe and poked it into the hole in my tooth.
The whole world spun into a violent torrent of super heated gasses. As my mind raged I could just make out a woman’s face.
Her arms caressed my head. She held smelling salts to my nose, put a cold compress on my forehead and whispered, “Don’t go under.” Her beauty was the only thing I could hang onto. I think I fell in love with her.
As it turned out, I’m an anatomical freak. I have two sets of nerves in my teeth. The doc’s needle hit an exposed one.
The nurse, using every means at her disposal, kept me from going under. She really cared and it meant everything to me. I realized that was the job description. It gave me a great respect for the profession. I would go so far to say that nurses and the human contact they provide are more important than doctors when it comes to healing.
Pic of me helping Lora convalesce.