Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bearing Her Teeth

Recently curiosity got the better of me and I had a look at one of those sites that is supposed to reveal who is linking to you. On the whole, nothing came up that I don’t already know about. I didn’t realise, though, that I might also come across blogs that just happen to mention you. Too much information? Oscar Wilde said that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about, and I can see how that might be true for some people, but I am not yet sure where I stand with this. Anyway, so I came across someone who quite liked what she had read, and some of my photos of the Scottish holiday, and urged people to give it a look, even though she reckoned they might be put off by the wording of my profile. Ok, fair enough. But then she said that the blog was too full of medical matters for her tastes. This did baffle me, because I really don’t think I do much on those, unless you count the fact that I talk about M.E. I really have very little to say about trips to the GP to talk about blood test results and the fact that there is nothing they can offer me except for repeat prescriptions of co-proxamol when required – more of which at the end of the year when it is to be withdrawn. But I should warn this, or any other person who doesn’t like such things, that the next section of this post is about Going To The Dentist.

Tomorrow I am going to the dentist. This is in my top three things of what I most hate doing in life. At this very moment it may even be number one. I was born with dreadful teeth. Well not literally, but they were a disaster waiting to happen. I had my first fillings aged 5 from a dentist in the German village where I then lived who thought nervous children should be dealt with sternly. I was so scared I piddled on his floor once, which served him right. Aged 7 I had already experienced abscesses, extractions and laughing gas (I didn’t), root canal by age 10 and the conviction that if I no longer had to go to the dentist my life would be bliss. From age 16 to 26 I just didn’t go. Of course I paid, and have done, one way or another, ever since. People with M.E. do not, as a rule react well to local anaesthetic and I am no exception. Given the nature of my problems, (and look how restrained I am – I have no intention of describing them), it is not realistic to have treatment without anaesthetic, and I usually need about three -even then I jump in the seat. Truly, I do not know which I fear most – the treatment itself or its aftermath.

Having suffered the consequences of previous cowboy dental treatment, I go private and pay huge amounts of money. For this, I have to acknowledge, I get Mozart and Vivaldi in the background, a beautiful black leather reclining chair, coffee and tea facilities, Vogue and Horse and Hound in the waiting room which has paintings by local artists on the walls and free miniature tubes of toothpaste in the loo. I also get a quantity of time that wouldn’t be available on the NHS. Some of this time is taken up with the dentist telling me that all my life’s problems, including M.E. would have been sorted if I’d come to him earlier and allowed him to do unspeakable things to my jaw so as to correct my Bite.” He has a thing about Bites. It is his speciality. I listen and do not argue. I need every shred of his good will. My palms sweat. The necessary work begins.

Pray for me now and at the hour of the dentist.


NMJ said...

Signs, there are M.E blogs that would bore the arse of you, but yours is CLEARLY not one of them. You be as medical as you like, your way of writing makes everything magical.

Your dentist sounds fabulous, mine (NHS) is in a not very lovely part of town and they give us all the same visor (like big ugly blue sunglasses) to wear.

(but i am grateful, it goes without saying, to have an NHS dentist.)

wishing you well, honey.

i am lucky, i have good teeth, but any dental probs have been caused by bad dentists, i have to say.

& my dad used to give the anaesthetics at the dentist's, i kicked him on the nose once. small wonder it has not left me with a major phobia, but it is one of the few things i am not anxious about.

Reading the Signs said...

Thanks, dear NMJ, I will take what you say into the Lion's Den tomorrow. Magical is a lovely word.

I am glad this isn't a source of anxiety for you - you're so better of without it.

Anna MR said...

Sweet Signs, it is an achievement in itself to get a fellow dentistophobe to laugh at a post about dental matters, rather than run screaming. I did, though (laugh) - and in the way one does in nerve-wracking moments of horrified recognition, where nothing else helps except dying, possibly, or laughing in a nervous burst of a guffaw. Pray for us all now and at the hour of the dentist, indeed. When next I have to go, I hope I can be as valiant about it as you. (You were also very valiant to have a look at what was being said about you. I cannot bear to do such a thing, it would make me feel so horrid I would have to erase the poor bloggy altogether, no matter what had been said.)

ihvhg - the sole utterance dental patients can come up with as a reply to the dentist's "relaxing banter", as their mouths are filled with the curled and the straight saliva-draining hose thing, several handfuls of cotton-wool wadding, both of the good doctor's hands, a drill, a syringe, that mirror thing on a handle, that tube thing which holds the filling stuff, and some other unspeakable items one cannot speak about

Reading the Signs said...

- and you should have seen me, Anna, strutting in so valiantly ready to face the enemy - except there was no-one there to witness, and receptionist and dentist were having a private party in the treatment room. And then I had nothing at all done. All is not quite as dire as it seemed, or the direness is beginning to work itself out (but there will be plenty of opportunities still to say ihvhg. I still need thousands of quids worth of work, though and will have to sell my body to get it. Still, I have that just-out-of-jail feeling and want to toast merciful providence in pink mouthwash.

Anonymous said...

Too much information is too much. I don't want to know too much about what is going on out there -- it is always bound to disappoint.

As someone who, thankfully, does not have ME, I just want you to know that I don't find your posts "too full of medical matters" at all. We all have things that compell us to write and if it is children, family life, work, other crazy interest, it does not matter. What matters is the heart and head of the person behind those things. I would not be reading you if this were an ME medical blog.

Hope all went well today, all teeth entact, all shiney and bright white.

Reading the Signs said...

I know, goodthomas, but it's the nosey parker in me that can't resist taking a peek. It's interesting, in any case, to have a sense of how other people you may never hear from may have reacted or responded. I was only slightly baffled, not put out or put off. Yes, it's the writing that's the thing.

cusp said...

Oh I do sympathise about the dentist. I hate it and I'm terrified. I too have had all sorts of horrors and snide remarks. I too have now gone private and appreciate the rarified ambience of private treatment but in the end it still means I have to sit in a chair whilst some wretched stranger does despicable things inside my mouth.

I'm glad it wasn't as bad as you anticipated but also sympathise with the fears about future treatment. I should have another tooth extracted but the last time, though I honestly felt nothing, the anaesthetic floored me for weeks.

I cannot think what your anonymous reader is thinking when she talks about all the medical matters on your blog or the comment about your profile. I don't really understand how to look deeper into any readership I might have --- and now I'm not sure I want to.

If I were you I'd sit back now the dentist horror is over, eat a nice big bag of pick 'n mix and have a big glass of pop.....as long as you scrub away at those old pegs afterwards ! ;-)

Reading the Signs said...

Oh lots of people have a look at some point, Cusp - look how many link to Technorati. The place I went through was called wholinkstome.com. It's just another step on from the sitemeter thing, isn't it?

If I had pick 'n mix here now I'd be wolfing them. Had to make do with globe artichokes, tortelloni and salad. Still - no anaesthetic in the system. Yet.

wordstar said...

I cannot agree with you more. Having had early dental experience in the USA where it is not acceptable to have any pain during dental work, I came unprepared to the UK aged 11 to realise (HORROR of HORRORS) that painfree dental work was an unheard of concept. After a few samples of English dentist's handiwork I finally found an American trained dentist. Relief and just as you describe. And yes, I am more than willing to pay handsomely for this service.
My thoughts go with you. Be brave....enjoy the Vivaldi....

Reading the Signs said...

Hi Wordstar (Moonoverwater), treatment is still to come and not quite as dire as I thought, though the aftermath, because of M.E. is always difficult. I'll look out for an American-trained dentist when my one retires.

That's so pants said...

Hi Signs

You've probably been to the dentist by now. I hope it went well. I am weird, I know, but I LOVE my dentist. He is one of two people who have kept me in London for so long. Frankly, I don't know how I will survive without him. I pay him a lot of money NOT to do anything to my mouth. It works.



Reading the Signs said...

Pants, I can't put my hand on my heart and say I love my dentist. Respect, yes, which is the most I've felt for any dentist. And even this is guarded. I can't help wondering what yours does if there's nil by mouth activity. He sounds magic.

Kahless said...

I'm glad I popped by Signs. I laughed about what you said about the comments on the site that linked you. What site did you use to find out the links?

Arrh Dentists!
Hope it went well for you today; at least its all over now.

Its the lack of control I hate the most. Private is good, worth every penny that lack of time pressure.

I take my own music; I had The Jam - That's Entertainment on repeat on my ipod last week!

Kahless said...

Oh, forget my question, I saw that you have already answered it on a previous comment!

Reading the Signs said...

hey Kahless, good to see another dentist-phobe - from what I read on your blog, I know you know how it is. I hadn't thought of taking my own music. But then again, I pay for every note so I want my money's worth.

Re. wholinkstome etc. - I'm kind of chuffed that anyone mentioned me at all!

Kahless said...

Yes I relate Signs, with your chuffed-ness. I was chuffed that you popped by my blog today.

Oh and I have checked out the wholinkstome thing myself already!

Nicola said...

I woke up last night in a cold sweat realising that it is far too many months since I made an appointment with my NHS dentist who is delightful and keeps me ungibbering even through a tooth extraction by sheer force of inane talk and if I don't get back to her soon I will be struck off and have to drive miles. I tried private once - a young cocorrico (sp?) setting up a new practice was offering free treatment. The waiting time was so short I barely had time to enjoy the deep sofas and open fire before he told me that everyone, but everyone, was having their wisdom teeth out to create high cheekbones. I shot bolt upright - as much as I could given the incline - and said I would rather not, being quite happy with my lopsided grin, and slunk sheepishly back to the NHS.

TPE - brave of you to think you have me sorted where all others have failed. But you have lured me back now that I am disentangled from ropes and rain though not from life's own.

Dear Signs, no hauling needed - our campsite an island in flooded isles. But I am hobbling to catch up with all here having tripped over homecoming hearth, breaking a toe, forgetting that I am no longer barefoot on the beach. (Quite apart from the handicap of my computer illiteracy).

Nicola said...

TPE - did that sound harsh? In cold print, it looks it. It wasn't meant to. Thank you for your encouragement.

I'd give you more info, but I am new to this virtual world and still finding my way about.

Reading the Signs said...

I hope you had a fruitful snoop around there, Kahless. It's a bit like listening by a door, I think. One is just drawn to it sometimes.

Nicola, you are well out of a relationship with a dentist who suggests such things and, when all's said and done, gawd bless the NHS while she still has breath in her. My dentist is all about conserving what's there. When he's had to yank some of mine out there is always this sense that it hurts him more than me (not true, of course).

Don't you be worrying about Mr. TPE misreading your tone, he is a gentleman of most exquisite and refined understanding and will have found nothing at all harsh in your words. But he can be awkward just for the relish of it, so he may choose to contradict me on this.

You have broken a toe? Actually and literally, this not just being an expression I'm unfamiliar with? Healing thoughts in your direction.


Hmm. You have spoiled a significant part of my repertoire, Signs, by alerting Nicola to my enjoyment of being awkward (with you). I was going to act all hurt and weepy and snivelly, crushed by the ferocious tone of her words, hopefully making her feel just awful in the process. You would take this away from me?

Anyway, be that as it may, your blog has never struck me as being overly burdened with medical matters. And even if it was - which it isn't - so what? Did it bother you to read this about yourself (all joking aside)? I think Oscar Wilde was being a bit of a git when he said that thing, you know. How we must laugh at his wit, I'm sure, but that has always felt like the most freakishly self-regarding and ugly thing to say (to me) - even if it does make me smile weakly.

You sat glum faced through the laughing gas? That's funny. Forgive me, but it is - at least the idea of it is, at any rate.

Look, I like Vivaldi, Signs, but sometimes find myself grinding my teeth when I listen to him. I'm not sure you should risk exposing yourself to a similar reaction, given your woes. Maybe just concentrate on the Mozart, k?

I didn't pray for you, I'm afraid, or at least I don't think it was praying. I certainly hoped and wished for a whole manner of good things for you, though, especially concerning the aftermath of your visit which may, or may not, have set you back considerably. And I'm not talking about the financial side of things, either - although that's got to hurt a little bit, too.

Nicola, thank you, but don't worry. It's very nice that you felt the need to make it clear that you weren't being harsh, but I never for a moment thought that you were being so. Rest easy.

I've tagged you, I'm afraid to say, with the "Eight Random Facts About Yourself" thing. You can find details right here in this blog, or you can come to my blog and see (just as soon as I have actually put the post up - I'm running late, but hope to get it done before bed.)

Obviously, you don't have a blog, so this may present problems for you (this is my intention, of course). Maybe you can set one up, though, do this taggy thing, see how it feels? Plus, you can take it down again straight after. Failing that, you are welcome to do it on my blog. Failing even that, you can ignore it entirely and we can all just try to move on, limping and wounded, together.

Either way, hello. Very nice to see you again. Well done for untangling yourself from the ropes and the rain - you had me worried for a bit there.

Signs - sorry for blethering on. Technorati is the work of the devil, by the way - as are stats. They may not bring you the singular misery of a trip to the dentist, but they will eventually cause you grief. Get out whilst you still can, Signs, it's not too late. Resist the lure and feel cleansed and free. Or don't.

Kind and kinder regards with an anti-dentist chant thrown in for good measure (I'm wearing white robes to perform this),


Reading the Signs said...

Now TPE, I have told you before that I require a Lifestyle Guru and sort of hinted that you might be the one for the position. After your advice about Technorati and stats etc. I know my instincts were right. Even if you don't want to be a guru, you'll just have to keep telling me like it is so my soul doesn't fall into eternal perdition. Though it has to be said that I will probably still be taking the odd peek. Perhaps I need to be one of the damned, I dunno.

(Nicola, I just knew he wouldn't be able to resist being awkward - I have insight, don't I?)