Tuesday, 31 March 2009

... and still continue

Went to dentist. Dentist said he was reluctant to start root canal treatment though he thought the tooth could be verging on needing it. He said he couldn't wave a magic wand and make it all right, which I suppose is what I had been hoping for, but that he wanted to give it longer, and see if either it settled down, or got worse and definitely did need root canal treatment. Which means I still have a dodgy tooth, still can't eat on the right-hand side, and am now in fear and trembling of getting dreadful toothache. With Easter fast approaching, this is not a good place to be. Plus, said dentist is going away on Friday till after Easter.

Various homeopathic remedies have been suggested - arnica, belladonna, silica - but the best thing, according to the dentist, would be Nurofen which I can't take because of my stomach ulcers. In the good old days (or bad old days as far as dentistry is concerned) they used to use oil of cloves for toothache. Maybe that's the first route to go down. Or do I mean 'root'?

Tooth woes continue

Toothache struck at around 5,30 pm last night. The dental surgery was open till 8pm so I rang and left a message, hoping someone could see me, but they didn't bother ringing my back so I took a handful of painkillers and went to bed. It's not so bad at the moment, just a gentle simmer as opposed to an agitated boil, so I hope it behaves itself till my next appointment at 9,30 tomorrow. But that's only a brief appointment so he won't be able to do much. And he's away all next week.

Tomorrow I'm off to view a house in Bounds Green, North London. In the parallel road is a 24-hour emergency dentist's. Could this be fate guiding me?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Another sleepless night

Well, half of one, anyway. It must have been about 3.30 am when I awoke having had a horrid dream about my mum. This is only the second dream I have had about her since she died 12 years ago. I don't want to give the details as they were so lurid and all to do with sexuality and dementia, but at the end of it she told me that she felt she could never do a thing right as far as I was concerned and that I didn't like anything she did, wore or said. In the dream - and this is true in real life, too - I told her emphatically that it was the opposite, that I loved her and appreciated everything she did, but felt that I was the one who could never do or say the right thing! I think there is an essential truth here, that Mum and I never really understood each other even though we were so alike in so many ways. I often wonder if it was because I'd been separated from her for the first 24 hours after my birth, as I was so badly bruised and battered.

And then... and then, I got a twinge in the tooth the dentist had worked on yesterday and that did it. Wide awake, stomach clenched in fear, adrenalin surging through my veins, or wherever adrenalin surges, and I couldn't get back to sleep but lay there in dread anticipation of terrible toothache. There have been one or two more twinges but that's all so far. I'm still wound up with anxiety, though. Wish I wasn't such a coward!

The pain and sensitivity are just as bad as they were £100-worth of treatment ago (an hour and a quarter in the chair, loads of drilling out of decay and and old amalgum, and a temporary filling). I found that out when I prodded it. Oh no! My worst fears are realised. My fate is root canal treatment or extraction. I feel sick.

Friday, 27 March 2009

The new dentist

I have never had private dentistry before. Never been in a large, airy surgery with a lovely view over a garden and computer screens everywhere running little films about teeth and showing your x-rays up close. The dentist himself is a keen amateur actor, very interesting guy, busy bettering himself by studying for a fellowship in dentistry, doing a course in advanced cosmetic work and doing acting courses at the weekend.

The main difference, though, is the time he takes explaining everything, not rushing but putting you at your ease, asking if you're OK after every poke, prod and drilling session. I've had two appointments this week and have another next Wednesday. I used to complain about having to pay £32 per month to Denplan to stay with my old dentist. Well, these three appointments will add up to a whole year of Denplan, then if at the end of a day a crown is necessary, I shall have to take out a mortgage. But I think it's worth it not to be kept waiting for up to an hour, and being made to feel like a human being rather than a collection of teeth on a production line.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Trendy specs

I'm quite proud of these. I spotted them in the optician's and thought they would never suit me, but I loved the colour - black on the outside and lime green inside so it seems as if I am in the woods looking out. I got one of those tints put in that reacts to light and they go really, really dark. My last pair have worn out and stay tinted all the time so when I first put these on, it was as if someone had dashed iced water into my eyes. "I can see clearly now..." tra-la.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Birthday week

I had such a sociable time, starting with a drunken dinner party on the Saturday before my birthday, that I haven't got round to blogging at all. Tuesday was the birthday itself, and this was followed up with visits from out of town friends on the Friday and Saturday, and a local friend coming round yesterday. In between, I was trying to write a report on a manuscript that had so much wrong with it that I didn't know where to start. Everything was wrong: title, plot, viewpoint, characters, writing style, grammar, punctuation and sheer lack of a hero. I am still struggling, trying to write a 2,500 word critique that doesn't sound completely condemning. Sometimes I wish I could just write the two words: Give up.

Here is the photo from my party night. Left to right: Bobbie, Gerry, me, Jill, Joan. Gerry's partner cooked the amazing lamb curry that we all consumed with gusto. I've known Bobbie since 1972 and the other three since '74. My friend from Liverpool, Claire, who came on Saturday, has been my buddy since we we met on our first day at school in 1950!!! I don't think anyone of us look too bad, for all our wrinkly years.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Mystery Solved!

It was my sister who sent me both anonymous presents that turned up - the carnivorous plants and a very pretty amber and silver bracelet. She is the most generous sister one could possibly have.

I'm feeling a bit despondent because the literary agent I bumped into on the tube hasn't responded to my email. She was super and I thought we really got on, but her heart must have sunk when I told her I was a writer seeking an agent and I suppose her invitation to email her was made purely out of politeness. Oh well, such is life, onward and upward and other such platitudes. No, what I really want to say is BUGGER AND SHIT!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Who sent me the Venus Flytrap?

And is there a message in it? And a honeydew plant and something else carnivorous, all of which have to sit on a tray in 3 cms of rainwater (no problem with that!). I suspect my sister... There was no note, but they came from the wonderfully named www.littleshopofhorrors.co.uk

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thanks to our postal service, several packages have yet to arrive, but I got some super cards. Jacula sent me a card featuring a meowing cat saying, "Feed me" and "I can go on like this all day." How very true! Mr Grumpy gave me two, as he couldn't choose between them. One featured someone beating up their computer after it had gone wrong yet again, and other said; 'One day into her coke and Malibi diet, Lorna had lost loads - a shoe, her short-term memory, and her knickers to Stavros the kebab shop owner!' It had originally said 'Val' but Mr G applied his felt tip.

I got a beautiful purple and salmon pink scarf from Mr G's late partner's daughter Sharon, to whom I am very close, a Native Indian wishing feather, Navajo design embroidered wallet and Clarins mascara and eye cream from my goddaughter, a lovely bracelet from my goddaughter's mum, a biography of Emma Hamilton from Merrylegs, my sister (with 2 parcels still to come), and Mr G very generously gave me a laptop bag, a shoulder bag (New Look's best), a glass pendant in all my favourite swirly turquoise and purple colours and two pairs of earrings.

He insisted I open them yesterday, for some reason best known to himself, and that's when I discovered my ear piercings were nowhere to be found, as I haven't worn earrings for so long. I now have bloody ears that are dripping in tea tree oil. Still, it saves me a trip to the tattoo parlour for a new piecing. Hmm...could it be time I got a tattoo?

Tonight I am venturing into town on St Paddy's day (London Tube is always full of drunk young people in silly green hats) to have dinner with friends in Islington. I'm staying the night in Camden Town and if I arise tomorrow in a reasonable state of health (unlikely), I have appointments to see two cottages. I do wish I knew where I wanted to live, though. Actually, I do. It's Highgate. But I can't afford it. Come on, Lottery! I won £20 last week. What's wrong with £2 million this week, eh?

More Tales from the Nether Regions

I went to Boots yesterday and bought a battery of creams, washes and anti-itch stuff. Lanacane, Vagisil, you name it. I decided to try an experiment. If I smear greasy cream on the front bottom first, it might form a barrier so that when I apply anti-itch cream to the rear, it can't migrate. Why weren't we designed with an anus underneath our foot? Mind you, walking on piles would hurt, and what would happen if you had your foot cut off? Reminds me of the old saying, 'If your nose runs and your feet smell, you must be upside down'.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The nether regions

This is not a subject for the sensitive so, if you're eating, or are prudish about pudenda, exit this blog right now!

When one thing goes wrong 'down below', it seems to have a knock-on effect. Or maybe it's the perennial migrating cream problem. You smear it on the piles and as you walk, it is squished about and reaches parts it was not intended for, the result being a new problem involving itchiness, soreness and a desire to immerse one's posterior in a bucket of cool water for a week.

Women's anatomy is badly constructed. Whereas men can slap on the pile cream knowing that there's no way it can be transferred to the sensitive flesh of the glans unless they go in for contortionist self-penetration (I once had a boyfriend who could achieve this by means of a shoulder stand), women are unfortunately built with no natural barrier between anus and vulva apart from a short length of flesh - which, in my case, is where my piles are happily sitting. Dry up the piles with cream and one also dries up the skin at the rear of the vagina, with very painful results. At the moment, I am trying diluted tea tree oil on both, with little effect as yet. Pass the water bucket, somebody, and put some ice in while you're about it.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Cat nutrition

Is it just my imagination, or are cats living longer these days? I don't know about dogs - I think it depends on the breed - but your good old moggy is living to a ripe old age.

The photos show the first cat I ever knew, a ginger and white neutered tom called Sandy. (By the way, that's me holding Sandy and my sister with the Beacon Reader.) He was highly intelligent and taught us to play games, rather than the other way round. He would crouch in the bath, we would enter the bathroom on hands and knees, then he would jump up and pat us on the nose. We would play hide and seek with him in the garden, taking turns hiding and creeping up on one another. Sadly, Sandy died at the age of only ten, when I was about fifteen, having got an abscess on his spine following a bite from another cat which resulted in paralysis and having to be put to sleep.

That broke our hearts. "We're never getting another cat," declared Mum. Three years later, when I was away at university, my sister, known on this blog as Merrylegs, brought home a little tabby scrap from the stables, nestling in her riding hat. "You can look after it, I'm having nothing to do with it," said Mum, unwilling to give her heart to another cat again, only to have it broken.

Three years later, Merrylegs too went off to uni, leaving Mum with Cloudy, as he was known by then. Well, he soon won her over and they bonded bigtime. Cloudy was Mum' constant companion. Everywhere she went, there he was also. He would even wait for her outside the loo door. She would throw silver foil balls for him to fetch like a dog. He lived till 14 when we got up one morning and found he had died in the night. Mum's heart was so badly broken this time that she never did have another pet.

Fast-forward to the 1990s. when I met Mr Grumpy. He had two cats, Bastard and Trollop. Bastard lived to 23, Trollop to 21. Flad is now 12 and runs around like a kitten, chasing moths. My theory is that cat food has improved so much from the old days, and is now brimming with so many vitamins that cats are much healthier, especially if, like Flad, they supplement their diet with mice. Is there anything in this theory, do you think? How long have your cats lived for?

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Cough, cough

I don't believe it. Will this virus never stop finding new ways to torment me? Now it's the ghastly, phlegmy cough that, after an hour or so's sleep, develops into a ghastly tickle that has me coughing for at least an hour. So far I've tried Benilyn for Chesty Coughs (great 'cos it gets you to sleep, but bad 'cos it doesn't suppress the cough and so you wake up again); Pulmo Bailey (worst taste in the world; again, gets you to sleep but doesn't suppress it enough to keep you there); and Kovonia.

The latter is the one I reached for at some dark hour last night when I discovered it lurking in the cupboard under the bathroom sink. I checked that it hadn't expired (a month to go) and downed a swig from its sticky depths - and, amazingly, got back to sleep, tickle having subsided. However, I'd propped myself semi upright on several pillows and now have a stiff neck and a headache. And... have to face the dentist this afternoon. I'm praying I haven't got a tooth infection as antibiotics would ruin my birthday celebrations next week. In the meantime, any suggestions for a cough linctus that will really work and will dry up the horrid, gluey secretions in my poor, cough-strained throat?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Redesigning humankind

Our bodies are really fantastic
With ligaments truly elastic.
But when the Divine
Dreamed up our design,
He should have made teeth out of plastic.

Oh no, another woe!

For months now I have felt pain when I bite with the teeth on the right side of my mouth. Twice, I have mentioned it to my dentist who just shrugged it off and didn't bother to investigate, just suggested Sensodyne. Three days ago, halfway to the postbox, I opened my mouth to take a breath as my stuffy nose was depriving me of oxygen and felt a sharp pain in a tooth. Yesterday, I swigged some water - room temperature, not out of the fridge - and again my tooth hurt.

This morning, I plucked up the courage to prod and with an Ouch! I found the culprit, the next to back one, top right. Golly, it hurt. I wonder if the sinus pressure from my cold has spurred it on. It feels as if an abscess is on its way, in which case I shall be amongst a trio of friends who are all suffering abscesses, swallowing antibiotics and undergoing nasty treatment at present. But why me too? Isn't the cold enough? If you find that evil health imp, shoot him for me. No, that's too quick. Pull out his talons one by one, then wring his evil little green neck.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Latest cold bulletin

Sore red nose that won't stop streaming.
Tickly throat that hurts to swallow.
Bowl of balsam gently steaming.
Hope I wake up well tomorrow.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Koff, koff!

Didn't go to Cornwall. Totally stuffed with cold, and have hideous tickly, bubbly cough that keeps me awake all night (despite Benilyn). Of course not being allowed to have the heating on in the daytime doesn't help. I feel I'd get rid of it much quicker if I could only keep warm. Hope I'm not heading for a second bout of bronchitis. I had the first one when I gave up smoking in 1984. Odd, that. The layers of tar must have lined my lungs and prevented germs from sticking!

My friend in Cornwall also has a cold, but, in her words, "I'll go down to the beach and let the sea air blow it away." Don't think the stinky, aircraft fuel-filled air blowing from Heathrow airport will do the same for me! And of course Mr Grumpy won't let me have the central heating on. Just look at the way I'm dressed for working in my study (there is a layer of thermals beneath what you can see). Note the red eyes. The red nose is only visible from below - and nothing in its right mind wants to go there, apart from a Kleenex tissue.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Me and travel plans

I should have known better. Every time I make travel plans in advance, by the time the trip comes around, something always goes wrong. This time it's this wretched flu-like cold. I booked up for Cornwall on Feb 1st, never suspecting I'd catch Andrea's toddler's wretched bug. Mr Grumpy has it too. Yesterday he had the four Irish navvies with pickaxes inside his head, and today he's given them to me. And today, I have a painful, chesty cough and a feeling that my head and limbs are stuffed with cotton wool.

The purpose of my trip was to make merry and do a lot of singing. No chance of that, with a throat full of razorblades and the kind of swollen glands and cough that would have had them painting a sign on the door in the 1600s to warn people of the presence of the plague. I can only hope that I have a lightning recovery tomorrow.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Valentine Cabbage

My last box of organic veggies arrived from Abel & Cole just in time for Valentine's Day. Just look what was inside! Delicious it was, too. Years ago, on the gynae ward of Hammersmith Hospital, I met an American artist who specialised in painting cabbages. Wish I could remember her name. Bet she'd have loved this one.