A humorous look at bodily ills and daily woes, and tips from someone who has suffered everything from arthritis to athlete's foot.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Dentist's again today. I hadn't slept well - got up before 6 - and as I sat on the tube, I thought, at least she's only going to take impressions for a crown; all I'll have to do is open wide while she pops in those nasty, jaw-shaped trays full of green putty.
Wrong. I got the green putty, but then she announced that she had to drill out the temporary filling, sculpt the tooth into the right shape, then take another impression. The first injection didn't hurt at all. 10 out of 10. The second one, on the other side of the tooth, which was that one that feels like it's coming out of the side of your head, 4 out of 10. Then we waited... and waited. My lip just hadn't gone numb enough, so then I got injection number 3, which was around 5 out of 10 on the discomfort scale.
Prior to this, sheer nerves had made me babble on about all kinds of things no normal person would tell strangers (dentist and her nurse, who has a diamond set in her incisor). After my dentist had chatted about her children, I started telling her (or rather, them, even though my words were directed at the dentist) all about how I had found my daughter after getting her adopted. I noticed two pairs of eyes widening like saucers above the blue face masks. Then I couldn't stop my motor-mouth babbling on about how much I hated Hillingdon and how I couldn't write there and how I'd come to be there in the first place (Mr Grumpy). Then I made myself look even more of an idiot by apologising for talking too much and explaining that it was just nerves. They must think I'm a loony old lady. (True, though I still don't think of myself as old, exactly, just erring on the north side of middle age.)
Finally, the drilling started. I was tensed up, digging my nails into the back of my hand, heart pounding, legs shaking, even though I had crossed one of the other to hold it down lest it suddenly kick the dentist in the instrument tray! It didn't hurt. I began to relax. Then came the worst part of all. 'Open wide.' I stretched my creaking jaws as wide as they would go, but they were forced even wider by the sheer bulk of the metal tray filled with vilest tasting putty ever, which was purplish black this time. Don't they make them in small, medium and large? I'm sure she'd used the giant-size one when a small would have done. I felt like a virgin at the gynaecologist's!
She pressed it down and it stretched so far back that it was pressing on the base of my tongue. The gag reflex kicked in and I couldn't swallow or breathe. I felt as if I were choking. 'Breathe through your nose and keep your eyes open, that's the best way of getting through this,' she said. I did it with great difficulty, saliva rattling at the back of my throat and making me feel like I was drowning. It seemed like ten minutes but was probably only three or four before she removed the gadget. Then she had to put another temporary filling on.
My shoulders and neck were aching from tension. She has booked me in for next Wednesday to have the crown fitted. I am going up to my sister's in Cumbria on Thursday. And guess what? I clean forgot to ask how much the crown was going to cost. At least five times as much as my previous dentist would charge, I'm sure. But do I fancy going back to The Beast? No, no. I prefer the gentle touch any day. And I'd rather have her neatly manicured hand and smooth wrist in my mouth than that big, hairy Greek one!