Sunday, 30 October 2016

Carry On Going to the Dentist

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of dentists.  My regular dentist always says my visits age him by ten years.  I’ve assured him that visiting him ages me by ten years too.
          ‘So,’ said my son, ‘now that I’ve qualified, are you going to become my patient?’
          ‘Ah…well…,’ I said evasively, ‘the thing is–’
          ‘Um, yes, er, the thing is you’re newly qualified, whereas my dentist has been drilling teeth for decades.’
          ‘What point are you making?’
          Oh dear.  There was no other way to say it.  ‘I’ll be brutally honest.  I don’t feel confident seeing you.’
          My son rolled his eyes.  ‘Before I graduated I was treating patients at the hospital for two years.  I am probably more up-to-date in techniques and knowledge than your regular dentist.  I’ve helped patients from age four to seventy-four.  I’ve done surgical extractions, fillings, bridges, root canals, crowns, braces and dentures.’
          ‘Y-yes, but my dentist has an excellent bedside manner.’
          ‘I think you mean chairside manner.’
          ‘That as well.  And he always makes sure the dental nurse holds my hand.’
          My dental nurse will hold your hand.  Now stop being silly and make an appointment.  Just think, if you see me you’ll save loads of money.’
          Well “money” is a magic word, isn’t it?  My last dental bill for a root canal set me back fifteen-hundred quid.  You could go on holiday for that, couldn’t you?  So keeping that thought firmly in mind, I made an appointment to see my son.  He was as good as his word and gave me a dental nurse to hang on to while I was X-rayed, prodded, scaled and polished and had impressions taken for a mouth guard.  Apparently I need a filling so another appointment was made upon leaving.  I have to say, he does indeed have an excellent chairside manner.  He also assured me that I’m not his most nervous patient.
          ‘Really?’ I beamed with delight.
          ‘Really,’ he assured, and promptly told me about…we’ll call her Miss Smith for reasons of confidentiality.  Miss Smith was due a wisdom tooth extraction.  She was so nervous she’d brought her mother along to support her.  Unfortunately the mother was also terrified of dentists and was likely to pass out if she saw blood.  At the last minute the mother opted to stay in the waiting room and anxiously pace the floor while a dental nurse led Miss Smith to the treatment room upstairs.
          Half way through the procedure, the patient started to have a panic attack.
          ‘You’re doing tremendously well,’ my son soothed, ‘not long to go.’
          ‘I can’t cope,’ Miss Smith managed to convey, mouth open, suction thingy under tongue.
          ‘Yes you can, almost there, doing fabulously.’
          Whereupon Miss Smith began to hyperventilate.  Seconds later she rocketed out of the chair banging her head on the overhead light and sending the suction instrument catapulting into a tray of instruments which crashed to the floor.  Screaming with terror she shot out of the treatment room and collapsed at the top of the stairs.  My son managed to grab her and, as she came round, told her to lift her legs up against the wall to get the blood flowing back to her head.  However, the commotion had not gone unnoticed in the waiting room below.  Miss Smith’s mother came charging up the stairs emitting blood-curdling screams and yelling, ‘Mummy is coming, darling.  Don’t panic!’  When she saw her daughter on the floor, legs akimbo, with my son masked and crouched over her she nearly fainted herself.  Grabbing the banister for support, she rounded on my son.
          ‘What in God’s name are you doing to my daughter?’
          ‘This isn’t what it looks like,’ my son assured, fleetingly wondering why he’d ever wanted to be a dentist.
          Five minutes later, both women were in the treatment room.  Miss Smith was back in the chair, two dental nurses were made available to hold both Miss Smith’s and Mrs Smith’s hands, the former who continued to hyperventilate and the latter who insisted on staring at the wall so she wouldn’t feel squeamish and all the while shrieking, ‘It’s okay, darling, don’t worry about a thing, Mummy is here.’  At least I can put my hand on my heart and say I’ve never behaved like that.
          Which reminds me.  A woman and her husband interrupted their holiday to go to the dentist. ‘I want a tooth pulled,’ said the woman, ‘and I don't want Novacaine because I’m in a big hurry.  Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we’ll be on our way.’ The dentist was quite impressed. ‘You’re a courageous woman,’ he said. ‘Which tooth is it?’ The woman turned to her husband and said, ‘Show him your tooth, dear.’

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Carry on Doctor!

I’m a bit of an ‘alternative’ girl.  Wherever possible, pharmacy tablets and medicines are given a wide berth.  I’m a firm believer in vitamins, herbs, exercise and fresh air.  If a cold comes along, rather than reach for Lemsip, I prefer to have Vitamin C, zinc and Manuka honey.  My son, trained in medicine, doesn’t quite understand my aversion to conventional treatment.  However, one brand of medication I do take is a drug called Tasigna.  And something I learnt last week is to never underestimate the power of ‘alternative’ medicine.
            A little over three years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.  To top it all off, I broke out in shingles due to stress.  Ever since then I’ve taken Tasigna to put CML into remission.  I hope to eventually stop taking the drug, so use complimentary medicine in an effort to assist this result and keep neuropathy at bay.  It’s not a quick fix.  It takes time.  Medicines should never be mixed, as I found out in a menopausal moment when I absent-mindedly washed down Tasigna with a mix of tap water and colloidal silver.  Within twenty seconds I knew something was terribly wrong.
            ‘All right?’ said Mr V, wandering into the kitchen.
            Empty glass in hand, I turned round to face him.  ‘I’m hot.’             ‘You’re always complaining of being hot.’
            ‘No, as in burning up.’
            ‘Actually, you do look rather red.  Are you having one of your flushes?’
            Imagine standing too close to an open furnace.  Heat was now searing painfully through my body.  Every hair follicle on my head felt like a zillion burning needles sizzling into my scalp.  My bare arms looked sunburnt. I rushed off to the hall mirror.  It reflected back a frightened woman with a face the colour of tomato ketchup.  Even worse, my tongue and throat were now heating up too.  I tore back to the kitchen, opened the cupboard where a basic first aid is kept, and swallowed down two Piriton.  Then, feeling horribly faint, I lay down on the cool kitchen floor tiles.
            ‘I think I’d better get you to A&E,’ said my husband.  ‘C’mon.  Let’s go.’
            Thank God for our wonderful NHS.  Where would we be without it?  Sitting in the car, my body began to involuntarily shake.  By the time we walked into the hospital the painful heat had dispersed but instead I was vibrating like a pneumatic drill, teeth chattering together as if we’d arrived in the North Pole without coats.
            A sweet nurse gave me the once over.
            ‘Looks like the Piriton is doing its job.  This will subside,’ she assured, ‘but you’re not leaving until it has.  Go and take a seat in the waiting area where we can keep an eye on you.’
            There then followed what seemed like the longest two hours of my life.  As I collapsed on a row of metal screwed-together seats, I apologised to everyone for making their bodies vibrate.  To be fair, most of them were locked in their own misery.  It was the least of their worries to be sitting on a juddering seat.  There was the young pregnant girl worried she was miscarrying, the middle-aged man with ankles swollen like an elephant’s, a young man who’d stood on a nail whilst doing DIY, and a pensioner gasping for breath.  And then there were those who I wondered what on earth were doing there.
            At the risk of sounding fattist (is there such a word?) I was transfixed by a mother and daughter.  Both were enormous to the point of morbid obesity.  The daughter had a bad stomach ache.  Fair enough.  But throughout the time there the pair of them worked their way through several packets of sandwiches, cakes, biscuits and a litre bottle of cola each.  You don’t need to be a doctor to work out why she had a stomach ache.  And this is where our NHS becomes burdened.  But I’ll stop there, as I don’t want to get political.
            I want to say a big thank you to all the staff at Darent Valley Hospital.  You are tremendous.  And so is Britain’s NHS which we are so fortunate to have.  Which reminds me.
            Part of the admission procedure in the hospital where consultant Mr Brown worked, was to ask new patients if they suffered any allergies.  If so the consultant had it printed on a special allergy band which was then placed around a patient’s wrist as reference for all other hospital employees.  One day Mr Brown asked an elderly lady if she had any allergies.
            ‘Why, yes,’ the old girl replied.  ‘I’m allergic to nuts.’
            Later that day, Mr Brown was visited by the old lady’s son, who was most irate.  ‘Who the heck is responsible for labelling my mother nuts?’


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Having a Cr*p Time

I love country life.  I love my dog.  But what I absolutely don’t like is my dog getting up close and personal to country life.  Molly Muddles tucks into sheep pooh like you and I would attack fish and chips.  It’s the same with horse dung – bleurgh.  And if she discovers a patch of field where Mr Fox has left his calling card, she’ll dive on it with all the enthusiasm of you or me leaping into a foaming bubble bath.  Which is invariably where Molly Muddles ends up.  I spend a fortune on probiotic powders, tick shampoo and worming tablets.  For the dog I hasten to add.
          ‘Ewww,’ says Mr V, pulling a face like Les Dawson telling a mother-in-law joke.  ‘Just remember where that dog’s mouth has been the next time she slobbers all over you.’  He has a point.  In fact I asked the vet about it.  Apparently dogs have different bacteria in their mouths and most of it can’t jump from dogs to humans – or vice versa – and make either dog or human sick. For example, most upper respiratory infections that affect humans are caused by viruses, not bacteria, and most viruses are species-specific. If you are sick, the unconditional love you get from your dog can boost your immunity and help you fight infection. Studies have shown that simply petting a dog can lower your level of stress hormones and reduce blood pressure.  Although I’m pretty sure the opposite happened earlier this week.
          My darling pooch, despite being relatively small, manages to produce some sizeable whoopsies.  I rummaged in my pocket, extracted a waste bag, and set about cleaning up...only to discover the bag had a hole in it.  Whilst the sensation of encountering something warm and squidgy was oddly pleasant, the realisation of knowing what it was certainly wasn’t.  I’d barely cleaned up when Molly Muddles pounced upon a pile of conkers.  Grabbing hold of her muzzle, I prised open her jaws and, reaching in, pulled everything from her mouth…to discover Mr Fox had left his calling card upon the conkers so once again my fingers were covered.  Even worse, when I straightened up, flustered and frustrated, I stepped back into a neatly deposited black mound full of cherry stones.  Yes, Mr Fox again.  At this point I’d like to disagree with my vet’s advice or the studies of university graduates and emphatically state both my stress hormones and blood pressure went through the roof.  So if you were driving your car through my village earlier this week and spotted a dog walker holding up her hands and one Wellington boot whilst aptly shrieking, ‘Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t,’ I can confirm that it was me.
          Which reminds me.  In a city park stood two statues, one female and the other male. These two statues faced each other for many years. One day an angel appeared before the statues and said, ‘The two of you have brought enjoyment to many people so I’m giving you the gift of life. You have thirty minutes to do your heart’s desire.’ And the statues came to life.  They smiled, ran off to nearby woods and hid behind a couple of bushes. The angel grinned as the two statues giggled naughtily.  After fifteen minutes, they emerged from the bushes looking satisfied.  The angel looked at his watch and said, ‘You still have fifteen minutes. Would you like to continue?’  The male statue looked at the female and asked, ‘Do you want to do it again?’  The female statue smiled coyly.  ‘Sure. But this time you hold the pigeon down and I’ll poop on its head…’