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Monday, October 17, 2016

Putting my money where my mouth is

 

It started quite innocently on Friday evening with a bit of a pain in the lower jaw. By Saturday afternoon I was feverishly rummaging through the bathroom cabinet looking for some aspirins with the most recent expiry date. Found some with an expiry date of April 2000 and swallowed two.

The night was, well, a nightmare which I spent mostly sitting upright in a lounge chair and alternatively drinking hot tea and applying cold compressions. Early Sunday morning a quick dash into town to wait for the only 7-days-a-week chemist to open its doors. Waiting until 10 o'clock was probably the longest hour in my life.

Bought a bottle of Oil of Cloves and 24 Codeine tablets. Could've swallowed the lot but took just one as directed - and within five minutes or so I was wondering where the pain had gone. Great! But it was back a couple of hours later and I kept taking them all day and half the night through until Monday morning when I saw Cindy Lai.

Cindy is an attractive Chinese lady who makes me turn to jelly every time I see her - but mainly because she's a dentist. But let's be kind to dentists, they have fillings too, and Cindy is very popular with her patients, almost all of whom are Cauc-asians as she doesn't judge people by the colour of their skin but only by the colour of their teeth. And she's certainly a great improvement on that Vietnamese chap in Moruya I used to see many years ago. I became suspicious of him when I saw a copy of Dentistry for Dummies in his surgery's waiting room.

Sitting in Cindy's surgery, I was waiting to hear the six most frightening words in the world, "The dentist will see you now". The prick of the injection was sharp, but its effect magical. In an instant the lower part of my face ceased to belong to me. I put up one finger and stroked my cheek curiously. It was like stroking somebody else's.

The extraction wasn't easy and for a moment I thought Cindy had dislocated her wrist but her hand came out of my mouth, tooth and all, after which she put it into my wallet. The bill seemed about three times her normal fee which may have been because my loud screaming had scared away two other patients.

Financially, mentally and physically depleted, I drove myself home. "Has your tooth stopped hurting?" the wife asked. "I don't know", I said. "The dentist kept it."