I won't bore you with my lifetime history of dental trauma, but let the phrases 'panic attacks' and 'resistance to analgesics' provide some context for this triumphant story.
My last one and a half dentist visits have been easy, relaxing and if not exactly pleasant, then at least not unpleasant. Today I almost fell asleep several times, that's how relaxed I was.
The difference is not in the dentist, but in my mind. Half-way through the writhing agony of my second-stage root canal I had this thought: wouldn't it be nice if dentists arranged for a foot masseuse to work on the other end of our body while they did their drilling? And I started to imagine, in exquisite detail, having my feet massaged. So absorbing and delightful was this fantasy that I was surprised and a little miffed to have it interrupted by the end of my dental treatment.
So when I went back for stage three today, I launched into my foot massage visualisation as soon as I settled into the chair. This time I included skillful reflexology and Body Shop Peppermint Foot Cream, and kept it going the whole session, eventually extending into some Thai massage all the way to my buttocks. I would have drifted into sleep a few times but for some pesky drilling.
It is possibly the first time in years I haven't had to stop dental treatment for second and third helpings of painkillers that just didn't seem to work. How miraculous to have my mouth functioning again within an hour of the session finishing, and not to have my jaw aching from so many needle jabs. The most traumatic part of the whole experience was paying for it (which as it turns out was due to this).
It seems too good to be true, but it is truly too good a secret not share. Next time you go to the dentist, I recommend a DIY imaginary foot massage, it makes all the difference.