It's rare that I jump out of bed with a song in my heart and a genuine delight that morning is here. But Monday morning, and it was actually morning, saw me skipping round the house with all the gusto and delight of someone who was overjoyed to be alive. I was going to the dentist and I was fucking delighted. Soon my pain would be over. Or something like that.
So there I was, relieved but still in pain, in the dentist waiting room. There were about ten or twelve others. We all bore the look of chipmunks storing nuts for winter. Each one of us suffering with swollen cheeks and pained expressions of anguish. Each one of us regretting our less than perfect attitude towards oral hygiene. And if they were anything like me they were making solemn pledges never to find themselves in such dire straits again.
Everyone says you feel no pain whilst you are sitting in the dentists waiting room. I was assured by all and sundry that the moment I sat my ass down the pain would magically disappear. Such tosh and indeed hogwash. My need for relief became even more urgent in the same way it does the closer you get to the toilet with a full bladder.
The only thing keeping me from bursting into tears was the smug knowledge that I was second in the queue, well that and the desire not to embarrass myself in front of some young kids who seemed to be dealing with their pain much better than I was. I considered perusing the magazines, maybe that would keep my mind off the Guantanamo-esque pain. But neither golf or period homes really interest me. Period Homes? WTF? If I'm being honest a troupe of scantily clad burlesque dancers performing a routine to the works of The Smiths wouldn't have distracted me.
And then I was called...
"Waiter? Manuel Waiter?"
"THAT'S ME!" I was a smudge too enthusiastic and nearly knocked the perfectly stacked tower of Period Homes magazines to the floor.
"Upstairs, room five."
Maybe it was just the early morning sun streaming through the window but there was what seemed to me to be an almost heavenly glow around the dentist.
Salvation in a smock.
"So what seems to be the problem?"
"I have a sore tooth." I replied in a cheeky chappie sort of way.
"And do you want to tell me where it is?"
Don't say in my mouth, don't say in my mouth.
I resisted, this was no time for bad jokes and wisecracks. She probed and poked with a gentleness and deftness of touch that gave no hint of the brutality to follow.
"Yes well that's going to have to come out. You okay with that?"
"That's fine" is what I wanted to say but instead it came out as, "Thbalts Blime". It's really difficult to make yourself coherent when you have six fingers in your gob. Adopting a much graver tone she asked her assistant for various tools - pliers, angle grinder, saws that sort of thing.
I should warn you that there is much swearing from here on in and scenes of very gory nature.
Well, more than normal.
Well, more than normal.
The dentist and her assistant left the room for a brief moment whilst they took an xray of my busted gums. I must stop calling the dentists colleague her "assistant". It's not like she was dressed in a sparkly dress and wearing flash lipstick in a Las Vegas stylie. When they returned the dentist told me to sit back and relax. She looked deep into my eyes and said, "This might hurt a bit."
"Okie dokie", thought I.
In went the needle followed by various other instruments of war that surely must be banned by the UN.
A bit? A fucking bit? Are you fucking joking? Was that sarcasm? Sundays one all draw with Chelsea hurt a bit. Stubbing my toe on Saturday morning hurt a bit. The extraction of my tooth did not hurt a bit. It fucking hurt a lot.
The tooth didn't want to come out. I had to get four injections such was the vexatious nature of the proceedings. She pulled and pulled but all to no avail.
"Don't worry about the crunch noise."
"What crunch noise?" I thought as I sat there contorting in a pain I hadn't felt since I was married.
Oh that fucking crunch noise.
It was the sound of a pair of medical pliers crushing what was left of my tooth in half. Let me tell you I will be hearing that noise for weeks.
Two, three, four more crunching noises were to follow. I could feel my mouth filling with blood.
They then stood back to asses the situation. There was a touch of the Waco siege about all of this. I swear if they had played some shite rock music and the sounds of animals being slaughtered I wouldn't have been surprised. I really wanted a break. I was panting and sweat was pouring down my face. I relaxed my body for a moment whilst they gathered a couple of new tools together including and big assed crow bar and some Black and Decker drill bits.
Round two commenced with more drilling, more blood, lots of suction and me considering wether to cry or not. I wish I had kept my eyes closed the whole time but curiosity got the better of me. I just had to see what was going on. I wish I hadn't. I saw the dentist baring down on me with a very perplexed almost worried look. I think she really wanted to get her leg up on me to get a better grip of what was left of my tooth. I knew then that things weren't going to plan and that we were well off script at this point. I was shaking, the dentist was shaking, the dental nurse was changing her surgical gloves. I really do think I bit her. Eek, that's not cool.
But five minutes later the ordeal was over, well for those two anyway. The relief was enormous. I stood up with all the confidence of a new born lamb, shaky and with blood still dripping from my mouth. This garnered a very peculiar reaction in the taxi office a few minutes later.
I really did want to hug the two of them as I left the dentist room but I didn't have the energy. I was spent, worn out, for want of a better word, fucked. But we had been through an ordeal together and we will always have a special bond because of it, like hostage survivors. As I left the room I'm sure I heard the dentist call her husband, "It's okay darling you can get that new car. I've hit the mother load!"
I've to go back next week and quite probably for a few months to come.
I don't mind one bit. (That is sarcasm)