Catherine king Artist Printmaker

Jennifer Szuster

Jennifer inherited me as a patient at Falkirk hospital. I was terrified of dentistry due to a series of dreadful experiences and wanted to hold on to my teeth. I had been referred as an "unsuitable" patient (taking up too much time). Jennifer treated me as an adult who had previous horrible experiences and with infinite patience, I came to trust her. She always believed me when I said I was in pain and coped with my minor panic attacks and tears. She would count out loud to 10 before stopping to give me a break. After 7 years I finally realised I could cope and now just ask her to stop if I needed her to. In my mind I used to take myself to an Atlantic beach on Tiree, the waves crashing and the wind howling. A scene I had painted in the lee of a rock, where I needed all my concentration to recall the detail of the scene. In recent times I've managed to be on a beautiful calm beach on Lewis or Great Bernera where the sea is every colour of blue and green and gently lapping the shore. I still have relative analgesia as it helps me stay calm, but I never thought I'd be able to cope as well as I can now. Jennifer believed my fear was not a phobia, something I'd failed to achieve with others. This painting is called Trust Jen!, and is a tribute to her.