As I found myself sat in a medical waiting room all I could think of (besides the pain) was “here we go again”.
This time around however there were some minor differences. For one, the cause of my being there was not a smashed in face, but a troublesome wisdom tooth (unfortunately there are no photo ‘beauties’ of my injuries. I mean who can forget this stunner?)
Also, due to the severity and urgency of my condition, I was in the waiting room of a private dentist instead of one belonging to a NHS dentist (the type I would normally choose). Having your regular dentistry tell you that ‘there are no dentists on site on a Friday’ and suggest you call 111 or go to A&E is a bit of an inconvenience when you have a tooth protruding into your cheek. In such a state I was happy to take mumma Bennett’s advice and go private. Thanks also to the quick thinking and research of mumma Bennett, I was able to go to one locally which had an emergency appointment slot. Unfortunately this slot was in 20 minutes and I had no idea where I was going. Never in my life did I expect to be running to the dentist.
With (somehow) a bit of time to spare I was able to take in the waiting room. The background music was a suitable soundtrack of Heart Radio (because who doesn’t love a bit of Ed Sheeran?) but I’ll leave you to spot the main difference between the private waiting room compared to an NHS one:
Well, other than the fact it’s the most stylish waiting room I’ve ever been in, there were zero people in there. Heck, even the receptionist left me alone for a while. I know it goes without saying but in the NHS waiting rooms are considerably busier. Also, the people on reception never put out free tubes of toothpaste and if they did they’d watch you like a hawk to put you off taking them. I may have taken a few…(look, if I’m going to go private I’ve got to try and offset the costs somehow.)
Went in to see the dentist and he confirmed what I knew to be the case, that it was the wisdom tooth causing the pain I was experiencing. What I didn’t quite realise was how bad it had become. Over the course of several weeks the tooth had started to stick into my cheek and, well, rub. It certainly explained why it was hurting to talk and eat and also why the mass consumption of gum aesthetic had done me no good but made my throat numb to hot drinks (when one is in pain, one much clutch at silver linings). The dentist also showed me a delightful photo image of the tooth in question on a screen in front of me. I know I’m British but I couldn’t help feel a bit awkward as I lay in a chair with the pair of us spending about five minutes looking at my infected cheek. To my knowledge in the NHS it’s “your tooth needs to come out”, “ok” and you go from there. It was when he asked to have the image saved that my mind started to wonder. I mean, what does he want to do with that photo? Does he have a album of all the wisdom teeth he’s ever pulled out, or does he just keep the favourites? When I leave, will I have the option to select the image and get it made into a key ring?
Wisdom tooth extraction is, in my squeamish mind, not something I find either interesting or fun to talk about. Number one reason why I couldn’t be a dentist? The noises. I’ll leave it there.
Surgery done and dusted I was presented with the tooth. I wasn’t really sure what I was meant to say, whether I was meant to go ‘yippee!’ or ‘good, I can verify you are a dentist now”. Not knowing what to go with, the first thing that sprang into my mind, the very thing I thought would be appropriate in this situation was simply “well, I’m certainly not going to get that put on a necklace!” The room was silent. I’ll admit the statement lacked impact on account of the aesthetic and the cotton wool shoved in my mouth. The delivery was a little off.
I tried to salvage the situation when the dentist asked me with genuine concern if someone was coming to pick me up. “Oh yes,” I said, “family are coming. I’m going to walk home from here, it isn’t far.” I pointed out the window to a patch of street paving, “I’ll just avoid walking on that stretch of pavement, I tripped and smashed my head on the pavement there a few months back!” I said it light heartedly, but instead of mild chuckles, the dentist looked at me in a very concerned way. The nurse looked at me like I was a puppy with a broken leg. I knew I wasn’t going to win over this crowd. I left the room like a true stand up comedian.
“Err, anyway, thank you very much for seeing me,” I said, “it’s been a blast!” And walked out the room.
A blast?! I’d just had a dentist rip out a tooth from my gums and I described the whole experience as a blast? All I can hope is that the awful humour can be explained on the drugs migrating from mouth to brain.
I tell you what certainly wasn’t a blast, the bill. Yep, that would be the main difference between NHS and private. Again, I can only assume the numbing drugs helped me get over that.
Anywho, post surgery I was unable to smile but that was about it. Here is proof of me trying so hard to use my face muscles, so hard:
You can probably see a little it of swelling, but luckily that is the extent of the physical short-term impact of the extraction.
I’ve been feeling a bit up and down but I’ll be back in work and back to my normal, fully blown awkward self in no time. Maybe I’ll even start thinking up what my next calamity in about six months’ time will be…