Fed Up to the Front Teeth

BBC News:

New ‘superbug’ found in UK hospitals
By Michelle Roberts Health reporter

A new superbug that is resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics has entered UK hospitals, experts warn.
They say bacteria that make an enzyme called NDM-1 have travelled back with NHS patients who went abroad to countries like India and Pakistan for treatments such as cosmetic surgery.
Although there have only been about 50 cases identified in the UK so far, scientists fear it will go global.

Scary innit ? Well maybe. It’s August, there’s nothing to write about, so let’s scare the bejeesus out of the population and announce a new killer virus (see “Gnu Flu” in It Is Written – earlier post).

I got an infection when on holiday last week, apparently. Fortunately for me it wasn’t fatal, unless the BBC or the Daily Express tell me different. My aforementioned wobbly crown started to get even wobblier, and worse, started to ache. Infected. Now as we all know, there’s nothing worse than a toothache (if you discount nuclear war or a coalition government) and this one really did put me off my stride no matter how much Medico San Miguel I administered to the troublesome spot and surrounding areas.

For three days the pain came and went, pulsed and throbbed in the back of my mouth, often forcing me to prescribe more numbing fluid than was decent. I didn’t want to fly with toothache (I didn’t really wanna fly at all), so imagine my relief when the day before we were due to return home the pain subsided a little. Happy days. To celebrate I chose to cook a slap up meal (pizzas) for the kids, went to the fridge for the ingredients, picked up some cheese, went to tear the packet open with my teeth and promptly sheared off half of a front tooth. Bugger.

So that’s how I landed back in Blighty on Friday: swollen molar and deficient in the front tooth department to the tune of half. I was carrying a healthy tan, some undesigner stubble and a dashing, windswept look to the barnet, but had a mouth like Nanny McPhee. If I could have bitten the bullet I would have done, instead I was left to grab the bull by the balls and call my very least favourite phone number: The Dentist.

I’ve always hated the dentist. It used to be the pain I feared, now it’s the bills. My present situation isn’t conducive to me wanting to chuck wads of cash at a dental surgeon, but needs must so off I popped to my appointment yesterday lunchtime.

“Hello there” said the doc “haven’t seen you for a while. How have you been ?”
“Well I’m in a bit of a state, to be honest” I whined.
He looked at his notes (or rather mine).
“Three years. We haven’t seen you for three years !” he sounded surprised. I don’t know why. If he’d missed me that much he could have always phoned.
“Probably why I’m in the state I’m in” I said, embarrassed, as I climbed into the chair.
“But three years ! that really is far too long”. I could see he didn’t want to let this one go.
“Yes, sorry” I was kinda hoping he’d have looked into my mouth by now. “I’ll make sure I don’t leave it so long next time. Can I tell you what’s wrong?” I proceeded to tell him the tale of the teeth, and eventually he deigned to take a peek.

A clatter of steel on enamel and the odd poke with a spike into my gums later he re-emerged into the daylight.
“Is the front one hurting you at the moment ?”
“No” (I’d already told him that)
“And how about the crown?”
“Yes” (ditto)
“Well let’s have a look at that one first then”. So saying, he re-entered the pain scene and began poking, scraping and levering.
“Does that hurt ?” he redundantly asked.
“Ot earry” I raised my eyebrows. he had both hands in my gob, what else could I do?

Emboldened by my lack of pain he set about me again. Lever, lever, scrape, tug, lever, lever. He stepped back. “You want me to numb you up ? We’re almost there”
I wiped a slight tear from the corner of my eye. I decided to be brave. “No, no, I’ll be fine”

After what seemed like an age of us tangoing around the swivel chair, him orally fisting me and me with a tight grip on his forearms, he pulled the crown from my mouth. “Hmmm…… how long ago did you have this fitted?”
“Oh about three years ago I would think” I replied, wiping the saliva from my chin.
“Something wrong?” I wondered.
“No..no.. just it seems to have moved”
“Oh”. I didn’t know what else to say.
“Well. you have a slight infection in there and the posts seem to have separated”
“I’ll try to clean it up and get the posts back in, otherwise we’ll have to loose the tooth”
“Oh” (my ‘ohs’ were becoming higher and higher)

After a few more scrapes, and squirt or two of air and a smidge of suction, he returned to my mouth to reverse the process. He was now pushing in as opposed to pulling out, which in turn caused our dance routine to rotate the chair in the opposite direction. His assistant showed some pretty nifty footwork when dodging the doctor’s ankles as I swung him around the room. This clearly wasn’t going well.

After a few more verses he removed his mits, admitting defeat.
“No. No I can’t get it in” He sighed. The posts have splayed.
“Oh” (well what would you have said?).
After some further thought on the matter, he filed off one of the posts, covered the crown with cement, held me in a half nelson and AT LAST inserted the crown back into it’s rightful place.
“Now bite down” his beads of sweat was threatening to drip on my forehead. “How does that feel ?”
“A little proud” I panted through clenched teeth.
“Really? Bite again”
“Still feels proud.
“None of my other teeth touch. It’s not right. You sure it’s the right way round?”
“Yes, yes. Now look, ” (moving swiftly on) “bear with it and if the pain persists pop back and I’ll write you out a script for some antibiotics to get rid of the infection.”
“But I can’t bite”
“That’ll settle down” he said, almost as if he meant it. “if not I can have another bash at it next time”
Have another bash at it ?????? Which page of the Dentist’s Handbook was that phrase from ?
Whatever was going on in the back of my mouth, I still had a gaping hole in the front.
“What about my front tooth? Will it need a crown?” I inquired.
“We can discuss that next time” he smiled, de-rubbergloving himself. He’d clearly had enough.

My time was up. Between now and the next time I’d be wandering around south London with a wonky jaw and a gap in my smile, in the unlikely event I choose to employ it in the near future.



Pleasantries Aside

It fooled me every time.

As a nipper, from about the age of four or five, every so often I was allowed to stay up and watch telly a little while longer than was usual. My usual bedtime was, say, 8 o’clock but there I’d be, still sitting on the couch as the music to The Sweeney started playing. It would have dawned on me long before that that I was up way after my allotted time and assumed my folks were so engrossed in the Onedin Line or World in Action that they’d completely forgotten I was there.

So I’d sit there, making like a cushion, motionless and noiseless for fear that one little cough, giggle or fart may awaken them from this Peter Gilmore-induced trance and dispatch me off up the wooden hill to beddybyes. In my heart, I knew that the chances of snatching a few early frames of The Sweeny, or even better I CLAVDIVS were slim indeed, but you never know your luck in a big city.

The following morning I would be left to doze in bed, in place of the usual reveille from mum to my brother and me, and the ensuing scramble for the bathroom. No, on those mornings I was left under the duvet. On one occasion, I heard my bro out on the landing asking mum “Is Mike not going to school today?”
“No”, she replied, “Mike has a dentist’s appointment today”


Like most boys of my age (45), I hate(d) the dentist with a real passion and mum knew that if she’d told me I had an appointment the following day a hissy fit would ensue. To guard against that, she would leave it until the last possible moment to break the news to me. She’d then have about half an hour to placate me before the bus journey to the house of pain that was Mr Nash’s surgery. She’d sugar the pill by letting me off school for the rest of the day and I would be bought a Matchbox or Dinky toy car from the corner shop for being ‘such a brave boy’ when Mr Nash announced I need three fillings and an extraction (which is what he invariably said).

This series of events occurred every six months for four or five years (or til I was about 38, depending on who you believe). Special treats for tea, Hotwheels races all over the lounge (front room) floor, staying up late, tucked up in bed, long lie in, and then BOOM!!! Mother dropped the big one.
I’m not suggesting that on other occasions I had a miserable time at home, far from it. We all got on well and I had a happy childhood on the whole, but every six months the niceness levels were cranked up to an eleven, and I never worked out what was occurring until it was too late.

What a young, gullible little fool I was as a boy, but at least I got a car out of it.


It’s been a hectic time at work of late and things have boiled over once or twice. There have been a few heated discussions, not to say snipes and arguments. I’ve put it all down to teething troubles and pressure of the new job. To be honest I haven’t yet felt fully part of this new team, been feeling a bit of a fringe-player. But we’re getting there gradually and yesterday I was in such a good place and state of progress at work that I upped stumps and scarpered a little bit earlier than usual, thus enabling me to go to the ‘tranquil’ Blackheath and quaff some vitamin G with The Incumbent and some like-minded pals. Sod’s Law dictated that, having made my early bid for freedom from the office, the DLR was giving its usual piss-poor impression of a commuter system and it took me a little while longer than was hoped to get home. You always have plenty of time to think on a DLR journey, even if you‘re only going one stop, so I spent the time ticking mental boxes from today’s work: Photo shoot done and in? Check; Research under way ? Check; Telephone calls made? Check, Check; Invoices paid ? Checkeroodle-doo. Happy days.

A pleasant evening was had by all and after my usual 4 hours of restless, broken and uncomfortable sleep, (see past posts) I made my way into the office. I was second in. Already in his seat was a guy who I’ve worked with for a few months. He’s ok. A wee bit offish, but ok. Hasn’t been very chatty, at least not to me, we’ve just co-existed really. This morning, however, things took a decided turn for the better: We actually had a pleasant conversation. Out of nowhere he asked me how I was! We discussed our plans for the weekend, football, cricket and cake. All rather pleasant indeed. Perhaps the initial tension between us was wearing off, or like so many before him he had realised what a spiffing chap I actually was, and not just a fat mockney prat in a suit. As people drifted in to start their days work, the mood was happy, chipper and friendly. And more to the point, they were happy, chipper and friendly towards ME! Now this was more like it! I’d turned the corner. Someone bought in muffins and we, WE, scoffed them. I must say everyone was being jolly nice.

When will I ever learn?


The boss walked in and ripped me a new sphincter. The shoot was shit the research not what he wanted and hurryupandsortitoutcosIhaveameetingwiththebossatnoonandthisisnotgonnabegoodenoughandyouveputusallbehindanditsnotveryprofessionalandandandandand…

To be honest, I dunno what he’d really said. He’d lost me at ‘shit’. I’d already drifted off, thinking of the lovely hour I’d spent with my colleagues earlier in the day. They’d known what was coming my way. Presumably something was said last night while I was making my early escape. The chat and the muffins was a condemned man’s last treat. They’d taken pity on me, like you take pity on a poor dog the morning before you take him to the V-E-T to have his K-N-A-C-K-E-R-S whipped off.

It’s blown over again now, as these things tend to do. Business carries on as usual, workplace calm again, we are talking pleasantly again, it’ll all work itself out. But one thing I’ve leaned from all of this: Never trust anyone who’s nice to you, and don’t spit muffin all over the boss when you’re defending yourself.

So that’s two things.