The first part of this saga appeared on 31st March 2008 and was called 'Open Wide'. It's not crucial to read the first part, in order to understand the second!
My second appointment, at the dental hospital, was scheduled for the end of last week. My husband kindly offered to accompany me, again, and, this time, we decided to travel by car. There was no doubt that this option offered several advantages over travelling by train.
- We only needed to walk a few steps to the car and we didn't have to get out again, until we had almost reached our destination.
- We didn't have to park, on rough ground, in the remotest corner of the station car park, as commuters travelling on the earlier 'peak travel' trains had bagged all of the best parking spots, and then hail a taxi to get to the ticket office.
- We didn't have to sell our most precious possessions on Ebay, in order to raise the money for the journey.
- We were absolutely guaranteed a seat for the whole of the journey, without the need to threaten any other passenger, with a Chinese burn, in order to persuade them to give up the unoccupied portion of their double seat.
- We didn't have the extra inconvenience of a 10 minute walk to the tube station, and then 2 separate journeys on the underground, before being within walking distance of the hospital.
The traffic was fairly easy on the motorway and, we'd been travelling for some time, before I realised that my tom cat had managed to pee on the sleeve of my jumper! I'd left it hanging on my wardrobe door, to remind me that I'd already worn it, for an hour or 2, on a previous occasion and, unfortunately, it would have been within easy 'spraying' distance, once he had sneaked into the bedroom. Everyone has instructions to ensure that our bedroom door is kept closed, due to tom cat's unsavoury little habit. Someone must have accidentally left it open. I had even put a notice on the door to remind everyone to keep it closed, but it didn't always have the required effect.
It wasn't the first time that tom cat had managed to slip, unnoticed, into our bedroom. One day, I was standing at the till, in Waitrose, when I realised that he had peed on the sleeve of my coat, and, on another occasion, I was shopping in my local craft shop, when I realised that he had, once again, 'done the dirty deed' on a long scarf, which was wrapped around my neck. I would like to point out, to all cat lovers, at this point, that tom cat was neutered, as a young cat, and we have tried out the Feliway plug-in facial pheromones. We've also consulted the vet', on more than one occasion, but to no avail. I simply have to be vigilant and spend more time cleaning than I would choose.
I flew into a panic, when I realised that my jumper smelled of tom cat pee. I had a mental picture of patients and staff, surveying me with suspicion, and wrinkling their noses, as I walked into the waiting room. We stopped at the next garage and bought some baby wipes. I used up half a packet, wiping my sleeve, inside and out, in an attempt to eliminate the smell. Unfortunately, the cloying fragrance of baby wipes simply mixed with the smell of tom cat pee and conjured up a totally different, but equally displeasing odour. I was very relieved when we arrived in the city, with plenty of time to spare and when we came across a small M&S, where I was able to buy a new jumper. It was wonderful to take off the smelly jumper and don the clean one. At least there would be no danger of the receptionist enquiring 'Can anyone smell babies' bottoms and tom cat pee?', as I walked into the waiting room.
My appointment, on this occasion, was half an hour later than last time and, once again, I was there until the end of the morning clinic. I didn't have to wait very long, this time, but spent most of the time in the dentist's chair. The hospital building is Victorian and it is a teaching hospital, so the 'surgery' is very large, with about 20 screened treatment areas. I was shown to a chair facing an old sash window, which was partially open. The window pane was frosted, but I could see a few shrubs growing immediately outside the window and I knew, from looking out of other windows in the hospital corridors, that there was a courtyard, beyond.
I spent the first half an hour going up and down in the dentist's chair, with various members of staff attempting to cajole it into a reclining position. The appropriate buttons were pressed repeatedly, but the chair simply moved in an upwards direction, and I felt, at one point, that if my chair had risen any higher, I could have relieved my boredom by counting the amalgam fillings in the wide-open mouth of the patient in the next cubicle. A little while later, I contemplated the partially open sash window, a short distance in front of me, and wondered whether I should suggest that it was opened wider, in case I was suddenly catapulted towards it, with little or no warning, at breakneck speed. I felt fairly certain that the shrubbery would provide a much softer cushion, than the frosted pane of glass in the Victorian sash window.
Eventually, someone begged the assistance of a passing student dental nurse and I heard a rather gruff male voice asking 'Is the patient still in the chair?'. Not for much longer, I thought to myself, as I glimpsed the male student nurse approaching. From his appearance, I gained the impression that he was probably moonlighting, as a bouncer, for the local Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club, in his spare time. I hurriedly asked whether I should vacate the chair and recklessly leapt the 3 feet to the floor, with remarkable agility for a woman of my age, before anyone had the opportunity to reply that it wouldn't be necessary. The male nurse moonlighter deftly moved the ceramic cuspidor, attached to the chair, over to one side and the temperamental dental chair graciously consented to recline. I knew that final exams were a matter of weeks away for these students. If any part of the paper covered The Mechanics of the Reclining Dental Chair, then the male nurse was obviously destined to shine.
Over the next hour, I suffered yet another dental assessment, which seemed very similar to the previous one, but rather more prolonged. I made my way through the maze of corridors, back to the reception area, taking only one wrong turn, in the process and found that my husband had become an acknowledged expert in the field of current affairs, in my absence, having read his newspaper 5 times over, from front cover to back cover.
I wasn't feeling as shaken as after my first visit to the dental hospital, so we were able to enjoy a museum visit, followed by a short tour of St Pancras station, before returning to the sanctuary of our country town. I love our occasional visits to the big city, although I prefer those without an incorporated hospital visit, but the best part, for me, is always coming home, safe in the knowledge that I don't have to live there. I'm already so excited about my next visit to the dental hospital that I can hardly contain myself - not.