Finally I am called back to see the Consultant who is busy peering at the screen now covered with x-rays of my teeth. He points out the decay, the nerves that have died and concludes that yes the Fentanyl is the culprit. He observes that given I smoke the staining and general state of my mouth is pretty good. I give him my standard response that the VAT on the fags pays for my healthcare at which point me closes his eyes and shaking his head says ‘don’t that’s what my mother in law says!’
‘So if you’re happy I will submit the images to a dental publication, other dentists should be warned about this! They’ll be very interested’ he adds with a satisfied smile. Evidently he can feel the points that come with publication and oh yes points mean prizes! I have made this young chap’s day! He rounds off with a list of things I should do: brush twice a day (no longer than 2 minutes at a time), eat fruit less frequently (the quantity is fine), use high fluoride toothpaste which he will prescribe (I wince at the prospect of hospital pharmacy), use fluoride mouthwash which can be purchased in any supermarket and ‘we have to get you off those’ he concludes gleefully pointing at the ‘lolly’ in my mouth!
‘Before you go could I take a photo of the Fentanyl?’ he asks curiously bashful all of a sudden. I reach into my handbag for an empty package which I tell him he can keep. What he’s angling for is a snapshot of the actual lolly so I helpfully take one out of the package for him as he has donned yet another pair of blue latex gloves. In those puppies he hasn’t got a cat in hell’s chance of opening the hermetically sealed packaging – I cut them open with a knife before leaving the house. Given that they are for break through pain (short term immediate attacks) the manufacturers might want some feedback on this one; perhaps he’d like to send the article to them too!
Back in the waiting room we are on the home straight now; the exit is in sight only we have to go via the pharmacy for the toothpaste. The shutters are down and a sign saying ‘Back in 5 minutes’ is under the window. As luck would have it the shutter is raised as we arrive; the prescription is handed to a man who has the air of weariness more often associated with an archivist. It could be the hand knitted sweater in a shade that compliments his pallor or that could just be the fact he hasn’t switched on the lights! In a mere couple of minutes he hands me 2 tubes of the strong stuff and we are finally good to go! By now its 11 am and there’s no time for a coffee as I’m on schedule to be late for my 1115 on the other side of Cardiff!
Another example of my health care where the odds are in favour of the health professionals leaving the patient in second (at best) position. So I’ll wait for the referral letter from the Dental Hospital to my Dentist before I go and make another man smile (when he sees quite how much higher the bill is now)! I may have to take the Receptionist offer of doing one a month – that means tooth related interference for the best part of 2 years! If that doesn’t drive me into the arms of Fentanyl fuelled Cruella activity I don’t know what will! And so the saga continues and FYI me walking continues to do the opposite of improve; is my future to be toothless on wheels? Implants here I come me thinks- perhaps I’ll finally have Hollywood style pearly white straight choppers! And now I’m pondering diamante adornments!