Part 1: Dental Business

Did you know tongue rolling, the ability to roll your tongue inwards into a kind of loose tube, this ability is hereditary. I learnt this in biology (I think), it’s one of those useless pieces of information one never forgets for some reason. I mention this for two reasons: it’s how I have adapted to having extraordinarily sensitive (for this read VERY PAINFUL) teeth and because I checked it out when my parents were down. Over breakfast I asked each of them if they had the tongue rolling gene, Mum did and Dad didn’t and both my brother and I have this special skill as well as the ability to touch our noses with our tongues too! Not a terribly sophisticated thing to admit perhaps but a great icebreaker at awkward dinner parties! Need I say both my brother and I are inexplicably single!

Last Friday I went for my long awaited appointment at the Dental Hospital for the consultation following my teeth decaying into what can best be described freefall.  Last year’s check-up no fillings, this year 18 and an anticipated bill of £800. The thing is we grew up in Malawi where there is a lot of fluoride in the water hence we have strong choppers plus my 84 year old Dad has a full set of largely tamper free teeth.  So the unexpected prospect of months of dental work is frankly hideous; putting on one side the flat freelance market currently even if I had shed loads of cash I confess extensive dental work wouldn’t be something I’d prioritise!  Hey ladies how many of you would relish a regular appointment to look lovingly up the nasal passages of an average guy as he politely says ‘open wide’ whilst wielding a rather large injection which he ‘gently’ inserts into your gums?

I’ve discovered that another consequence of being a large term heavy drug user, (ok its prescription medication albeit of the controlled variety), is I always need a second shot! Something me and Shire horse have in common – the quantity of tranquilliser needed to dull the pain; unless of course I’m just a big pussy (sadly not of the Riot breed (those gals are made of enviably steely stuff))? By the time the Dentist is done invariably the Spinster can’t feel ¾’s of her mouth and most of her nose which is darn inconvenient when the first thing one needs is a ‘lolly’ and a cigarette! I just can’t quite judge where the various items are and have interchangeable lit a lolly and sucked fruitlessly on an unlit fag!

These days step one in my Fentanyl withdrawal regime I am downsizing from 1200mg to 1000mg (micro grams denoted with a Greek symbol not available on the average key board), the only problem is there isn’t a 1000mg lolly so I have to have an 800 and a 200 in my mouth at the same time! Ooh how attractive is that I hear you cry – of course I can hold a conversation with the two in my mouth but it is a little distracting for the person I’m talking to!

Back to the Dental Hospital and how a Spinster can make a Dentist a happy bunny. Arrival is straightforward as my friend has driven me and comes along for the curious ride. Ironically the car park has space this morning both the disabled and ordinary punter variety so I wouldn’t have had a problem but it’s good to have company. When first diagnosed a friend used to come to my appointments with me; poor thing was there for the diagnosis. The memorable occasion when the Consultant whipped out the MRI scans, clipped them onto the light box and without drawing breath pointed to the white flecks on my spine saying ‘this, this and this are all signs of previous actively typical of MS’. ‘Oh’ I responded a little stunned. ‘Hadn’t you looked it up on the internet?’ the Consultant asked. ‘No’ I answered.

Later I re-ran the conversation in my head during which I responded my coherently thus ‘No I didn’t because there is a raft of information on the net, both accurate and inaccurate, besides you’ve trained for years to become a Neurologist so I thought it best to wait to see you (you insensitive f**kwit – does one assume you missed the lecture on appropriate bedside manner)! I did rather shoot myself in the foot as I subsequently wrote a column for the Western Mail called ‘The Patient Perspective’ and I described the Consultant as ‘handsome’! The copy of the article was given to him just before I saw him and after that I did notice I never saw him on my own – apart from the last time in 2012.

The medical professions who saw me couldn’t work out my relationship with the friend accompanying me; we played on this of course leading them nicely up the garden path! No-one ever had the balls to ask us if we were ‘attached’ or ‘just good friends’! Said friend has since left the country to live in England with her new partner; she stopped coming along when I felt I could deal with the tedium on my own.

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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

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