Last week I was eating some parsnip and beetroot crisps (lovely!) when all of a sudden there was something hard and unbiteable in my mouth. I spat it into my hand and it looked horribly like a piece of tooth - though it could have been a bit of hard parsnip of course! But, just to be on the safe side, I made an appointment with the dentist for 2.30 today. (2.30? Tooth-hurty? Groan!)
I left the house at 12.30 and Mr G gave me a lift to the Oxford Tube coach which goes straight to Victoria where my dentist's is. We waited, and waited... Almost half an hour passed with no coach, though they are supposed to be every ten minutes. By then, I was in a state of nervous agitation as it was too late to get the tube and I faced having to pay a £25 fine for missing an appointment.
But at last a coach loomed up and I scrambled on. In London, we hit traffic and I discovered that each time the driver braked, the engine cut out and he had to restart it, resulting in nasty sounds and much juddering from underneath the chassis. But we got there in the end, with 20 mins to spare.
I was thirsty and drank two paper cups of water from the machine in the waiting room. I was praying that the dentist would discover that there was nothing wrong and the object I'd almost broken a tooth on really was parsnip and not... a broken tooth! But my prayers weren't answered. It was.
50 minutes later, I was still in the chair. I'd had two injections and there had been so much drilling, with so many different drill heads of various sizes, that he seemed to be creating a masterpiece for Tate Gallery rather than excavating my old filling that had been there for - oh, at least thirty years! My heart pounded, I sweated and shook and he kept telling me to relax, just as if could. "If you don't relax, you will become exhausted," he said in his thick Greek accent as I nearly bit his finger off and kicked him in the Acropolis!
He took two impressions for a crown and was about to embark on the next state when I realised I couldn't cross my legs for much longer and had to ask for a loo break. Embarrassment! "It's just nerves," I told the dentist and his assistant, not mentioning the two cups of water.
An hour later, the temporary filling was in and I staggered out in a daze and was halfway to the coach stop when the heavens opened. I was drenched to the bone and could hardly walk as my leather sandals were so slippery inside that my feet were skidding all over the place. The coach came and would you believe it was the same one, with the same driver and the same dodgy engine... and the seat I chose was right above the braking mechanism. There I was, wet through, my face numb, my jaw aching, having had nothing to eat since breakfast and it was now 4pm, being jolted to bits every few seconds as the driver rammed on the brakes as he inched forward in heavy traffic. By now, the sun had come out. Talk about timing!
Somewhere up Park Lane the traffic lights weren't working, so it took an hour to cover a distance that should have taken ten minutes. I got off the coach two hours later and stood waiting for the local bus to the end of the street. And waited... and waited. 25 minutes later, it came. By then, I was drooping with exhaustion, and bitterly remembering the dentist's words.
I rang Mr G who said he'd come down the road to meet me. Hooray! I can cover the last 3/4 mile in the car instead of walking, I thought delightedly. But guess what? He appeared five minutes later - on foot. Yes, he'd fancied a walk.
Now I can hardly open my jaw as it is so stiff and sore. No, not a good day. And I have a cost of at least £200 for my tooth crown to look forward to. Why weren't we born with stainless steel teeth?