Friday, July 21, 2017
Biting Back The Tears - Thursday
‘Wish me luck.’ I say to my wife as she leans in for the traditional peck on the cheek, pre work departure.
‘Expecting problems today?’ She asks. She’s clearly not been paying attention for a couple of decades. I’m an estate agent, problems come with the job.
‘The dentist.’ I tell her, pointing to the lost filling.
‘Oh don’t be such a softy.’ She chides. ‘Maybe they’ll give you a lollipop, if you’re a good boy.’
That’s kind of how the problems started, as it happens.
Obviously my parents’ generation all had false teeth by the time they were in their forties, my generation had endless fillings before we reached senior school and the current bunch squeal if they need treatment before they get their driving licence. I still think that ghastly old dentist I had as a child was some sort of pervert who got off on children’s screams, drilling teeth without anaesthetic.
‘You on any drugs of any kind?’ Asks the bored-looking receptionist, when I arrive. Only alcohol, which I self medicate after bad days - most days. I answer in the negative, don’t think they cross-check with the local Majestic wholesaler.
‘There’s a form to fill out.’ Says the girl yawning and displaying a mouth devoid of amalgam. Of course there is.
‘And they’ll buzz you when there are ready.’ It turns out, much to my surprise, the Polish lady is still practicing dentistry in the UK - she still doesn’t have any vowels in her name though. I’m hoping she doesn’t feel too alienated by the political climate, as the ability to inflict pain is very much in her hands.
‘Are you still the estate agent?’ She asks, when I’m prone in the chair, light in my eyes. I’m an estate agent, I want to correct, but appropriately, I bite my tongue. Pedantry and dentistry are probably not a good mix. It should be fairly obvious I’m selling something anyway, as nobody else is daft enough to wear a suit and tie in this weather.
‘Hmm.’ Mutters the woman as her assistant peers into my open mouth and mimics her boss. I know it’s not a pretty sight, but I do a lot of grinding.
‘This might hurt.’ Says the dentist, prodding with a steel implement. My yelp of distress comes out at least an octave higher than I’d have liked.
‘Two options.’ Concludes the black widow of Gdansk.
‘The nerve is exposed, so I can’t fill it in case you get a serious infection. So I recommend extraction.’
Surely that’s one option. I press.
‘Well I could do a temporary filling but it will come out again.’
Still one option.
‘Can you do it now?’ I say, not sure which answer I want.
‘Yes, but it’s a wisdom tooth, they can be difficult. If it doesn’t come cleanly, I’ll have to refer you to hospital.’
F**k. The only thing I hate more than the dentist, is A & E.
‘Crack on.’ I instruct, with as it turns out, unfortunate prescience.
Two injections later and wielding the sort of medieval instruments the Spanish Inquisition would have been familiar with, I’m in squirming agony. I can hear the tooth moving and ripping at the base, inside my head. And with a gut-wrenching crunch, it breaks off at the gum. Not much wisdom left, I think, grimly. But as it turns out the root is still keen to hang in there.
‘Not good.’ Says the dentist, and her assistant agrees as she enthusiastically vacuums out blood like a vampire at an abattoir.
‘One more try and it’s the hospital.’ She says, leaning in. Now I’m sure there’s a website out there for those who favour eastern European women in uniform, squatting on their chest. But I just want my credit card details back.
With one final wrench, I can still hear and feel now, the shattered tooth comes free.
‘Are you a vegetarian or vegan?’ Enquires the dentist. And my head spins. What the f**k?
‘I have gelatine to stop the bleeding, but it has animal product.’
Stick a whole leg of lamb in there, wool and all. Just stop me from drowning in my own plasma, lady.
‘Good day?’ Asks my wife.
I’ve had better.