There were three things that my Aunty Olive used to say to me as a child, her face shoved directly in to mine. (Personal space didn’t exist in those days.)
1) Enjoy your school days; they are the best years of your life.
2) Always wear nice underwear in case you are involved in an accident.
3) The dentist is terrifying, so brush your teeth.
And 4) save me all your orange Smarties. (The woman was a mentalist so this one doesn’t really count.)
Apart from the last one, because I agree, orange Smarties are the tastiest, I just put it down to her being a boring old grown up who was a little bit bonkers.
School days are the best years of my life? Are you on glue old woman? (I didn’t actually say this to her, I was six at the time.) Have you seen my uniform? Do you think Grey is an attractive colour on me? Have you forgotten how awful school is? Have you forgotten how truly terrifying reading out loud is, in front of the whole class? Have you forgotten how cruel kids can be, when you are a little bit chubby, have a bowl hair cut and wear 3 inch thick glasses? Have you never met my Spanish teacher? Mrs Chandellor was a five foot nothing, battle-axe with a short blonde pony tail and a gaze that could turn you to stone. Now she was terrifying! Get a verb wrong and you had to stand at the front of the class with one foot in the dustbin while repeating the correct one over and over again. Get caught passing notes and you would get clobbered over the head with a wooden parrot on a stick. School days aren’t the best days of my life, Aunty Olive!! They are horrific!!
And as time has gone by, my views on this have not changed as every grown up at the time suggested they would. I hated every second of my primary and secondary school career and to this day the very thought of it makes me positively shudder. The cool kids, shudder. The bullying kids, shudder. Patrick and Tony (the school ‘hot guys’ who looking back were total losers) making my life a living hell, shudder. The woman was wrong ok? WRONG!
The nice underwear comment went way over my head and was completely forgotten about until I was circa the age of 24. I was working in a call centre attempting but failing miserably to sell ATM machines to news agents and other small businesses who really didn’t need them, when the stress of dealing with Mr Smith the butcher, must have got too much and I fainted and hit the deck. I was rushed from the office in the back of an ambulance to the local A&E department.
On arriving I awoke, a little dizzy and a little mortified to find I would need a scan and would be staying in overnight for observation. As they passed me an open backed gown to wear, the somewhat now haunting words of my Aunty Olive crescendo’d around my head in surround sound, while a little bubble with her face emblazoned on it floated over my left shoulder. ‘Always wear nice underwear’ said her patronising voice. ‘In case you have an accident!’
Damn it. I should have listened. It was washing day. I was going commando.
That was an awkward conversation with the nurse, let me tell you. (And paper knickers, are Impossible to sleep in!)
The last one, used to baffle me. I mean, how can you be scared of a dentist? All he does is look in your mouth and then you get a sticker and a lollipop. You also get an afternoon off school if you are lucky enough! How can anybody be scared of the dentist? I never really understood.
Now I do.
I have had toothache for a while but having never been scared of the dentist wasn’t worried when on a preliminary visit the kind old dentist looked in my mouth, nodded and advised me with a kind shrug that I would need a root canal. ‘Don’t worry about it at all,’ he said, putting me at ease immediately. ‘It won’t hurt a bit.’
‘No Big deal,’ I happily responded looking around, ‘I will book my next appointment when I go downstairs. Can I have my Lollipop now?’
The weeks have passed and yesterday with my appointment looming, I realised that going to the dentist in the throes of the worst bout of stomach flu I have ever experienced probably wasn’t the best idea. However, a I was in so much pain, and as I am an idiot, I put these warning signals to the back of my mind and arrived at the dentist with time to spare.
As I sat down in the waiting room, I was surprised to feel a few butterflies in my stomach. Was this another bout of the runs? No it couldn’t be! I had nothing in my stomach! It must be nerves! What is up with me? I thought. Root canal is nothing! That is what everyone has said. Compared to child-birth Root canal is nothing!
I sat pondering this for a few moments, until with a short gasp the penny dropped. Compared to CHILDBIRTH?? Everything is a doddle compared to sodding CHILDBIRTH! Oh my god this is going to hurt isn’t it?! I looked around, a mild panic culminating in my bowels.
‘Ooo dentistssss are terrriiifyyyingggg, you should have brusssheeed your teeethhh’ my Aunty Olive whispered in my ear, her head floating around in front of my eyes.
Oh shut up you old bag. I’ll be fine.
‘Pardon?’ The receptionist barked, snapping her head up to meet my eyes.
Had I spoken out loud?!?!? ‘Nothing’ I laughed self-consciously ‘just talking to myself again.’
She looked back down at her computer , thankfully but I didn’t miss her rolling her eyes for good measure. Bitch.
What proceeded to happen over the next hour is honestly something I am not proud of and can only be truly understood and appreciated if you think back to those old carry on films.
No my breasts did not pop out of my top and no there was no Kenneth Williams camping it up in the waiting room, but as my name was called and I began my assent up the steep stairs towards the operating room, my heart began to pound and for every step I took, my stomach flu got the better of me, as a little wind escaped from my over troubled tummy. I was walking with a trumping soundtrack, totally against my will.
Reaching the top of the stairs, clenching like a mad woman with a red face, and dreading looking the receptionist in the eye on my return, I was met with an Italian looking model type. My mouth dropped open and I prayed I wasn’t about to greet him in a runny bum scented cloud of perfume.
‘Cam in’ He said in an Italian, cockney accent. ‘Itss Lexeeee, isn’t it? I can see from Dr Hamilton, that you need a filling and a raout canal. He isn’t here today, so I will be piforming di proceeedddurrre, which one would you like mee to doo today?’
His over pronunciation immediately reminded me of Allo Allo and my mind went in to overdrive. I cannot laugh at this man, for this man is too sexy, but how can I allow this man in my mouth, when I will undoubtedly bite his finger off from laughing if he speaks?
‘Yes, Ai need both’ I stuttered like an idiot, and for some reason in a god awful Jamaican school of comedy voices accent. What the hell is wrong with me? ‘Noice to meet yao,’ I continued, sounding like a total eejit, while following him in to the room and smiling at the dental nurse. ‘Ai fink I need you to look at my canal. I mean,’ I gasped flustered ‘AI fink I need you to take a look up my canal,’ Oh the humiliation of being nervous! ‘ Ai mean I think I need you to do my canal. It hurts.’ I managed to revert back to my normal voice just in time to catch his eyes widen and a look of total confusion pass across his features.
‘Where a youuu frommm?’ His eyebrows knotted, in confusion.
‘From ere,’ I laughed, now for some reason, speaking in the worst French comedy accent you have ever heard ‘ I just get a bit cuckoo when I’m nervuuusse’ I giggled like a school girl.
This was not going well.
He looked at me like I was suffering with a brain disorder and the dental nurse, who must have seen this behaviour a hundred times off nervous women in the face of this dental Adonis, just smirked and turned around.
‘Ok, Lexeeeee,’ he sighed, having also clearly seen this a few times and probably thinking he should move back to Italy ‘Pleaz lie back an open wide so I can ave a loooook.’
I popped my bag down on the chair opposite and climbed on to his operating chair like a dog would climb up on to a sofa. Why I didn’t just walk around the chair and plonk my arse down before swinging my legs up, like any normal person would, I don’t know. I had spoken to him in three comedy accents against my will, and now found myself on all fours, facing him on his dental chair.
All I can say in my defence is, I am a nightmare when I am nervous, I lose all control and my brain does horrible things on purpose to embarrass me. If you couple this with the fact I have been operating on autopilot for months, and then coming to, in the face of this model dentist, you must be able to understand? I had totally sizzled all the connections to rational thought and was now a rogue mother who was not on the edge, but who had fallen over the edge and was clearly losing her mind.
He watched me turn over and finally lie back with a confused expression before asking me if I was ok. Again.
‘Not really,’ I sighed trying not to look him in the eye. ‘I have a terrible stomach flu and I am very nervous.’
Up until yesterday I wouldn’t have been able to fully describe what the word recoil actually looks like. But now I could.
‘Ok’ he said a little nervously, now clearly understanding where the smell was coming from ‘let’s get started, you aren’t allergic to anything are you?’ He added as an afterthought before pulling the biggest needle I have ever seen, from behind his back.
‘No’ I almost screamed, seeing the full girth of the needle for the first time. ‘I’m not allergic, but I don’t like pain and I hate having things thrust in my mouth.’
Yes I actually used the word thrust. Against my will I had turned in to a walking, talking Mills and Boon novel. But, hey! At least I hadn’t said it in a comedy accent.
‘You will be fine,’ He smiled kindly as if to a child ‘this won’t hurt a bit.’ (That’s what they all say. I thought to myself.)
As it turns out, it didn’t hurt a bit. It hurt a bloody lot. But after it was done he sent me back down to the waiting room for five minutes while the anaesthesia kicked in.
Is this normal? Because, I have never heard of a dentist sending you out of the room before to wait, but to be honest I can’t blame him. After an introduction like that, he was probably thinking twice about ever allowing me back in.
On the way back down the crazy steep stairs I went dizzy and felt my heart speed up. I had just had a shot of god knows what, and this woman probably heard me farting. ‘I feel really dizzy’ I gasped to the same receptionist, ‘is this normal?’
‘Have you just had anaesthetic?’ she replied boredly without even looking up. (Which means she probably hadn’t heard me trumping. Winner.)
‘Yes’ I said hopping from one foot to the other, trying to stave off a panic attack.
‘There is adrenalin in anaesthetic so it is completely normal to feel like that. It will pass’ she said before returning to her click, click, clicking. (Nails on a keyboard, not in a district 9 alien, you fucking prawn! type way.)
Now having spent the evening previous watching ‘Get him to the Greek’ (which by the way if you haven’t seen, you really should. Not usually my thing, as I am not a big Russell Brand fan, but it was hilarious) I immediately thought adrenalin? I need a furry wall! Unfortunately for me it appeared I had also said this out loud!
‘You need a what?’ the woman looked back up at me with her finger undoubtedly poised on a panic button under the desk.
‘A furry wall’ I stupidly repeated. ‘I’ve had a Jeffrey!’ before cracking up laughing and forgetting myself again.
I would like to tell you things got better from here on in, and that I acted normally for the rest of the visit, but they didn’t and I didn’t.
When he called me back up, I walked back in and noticed he had put on some music. Funk soul brother was quietly playing from the corner of the room and as I lay down and prepared to open wide (oooerrr) the dental nurse passed me a pair of orange glasses which could easily have passed for full on raver specs. Do I need to tell you what I did next or can you guess?
Small box, big box, fish. That’s right.
Nobody laughed except me.
He had just reached for the drill a while later, when there was an almighty crash of thunder and the room was lit by a bright spark of lightening. I had a mouth full of cotton wool and spit sucking equipment, and both the hot dentist and the nurse were peering over me and in to my mouth. In other circumstances this may have been funny , but all that came to mind was some horrible horror film, especially as he then proceeded to start up the drill.
My heart started to pound as I imagined him butchering me on the chair, and my mind began to lose it when tubular bells came on the radio. (I really need to stop watching horror films!) My mouth started twitching, my heart was racing out of control and I ended up grabbing his wrist, which was attached to the hand holding the drill, making it’s way towards my mouth and blinking furiously.
I was on the verge of a panic attack, the hot dentist was a murderer! He was going to drill my brain open!!! (He wouldnt find much in there to be honest.) But who would look after Addison? Who would drive my car home? (The things you think of, honestly!)
It was only when I caught the dental nurse starting to snigger that I got a handle on myself and let go of the poor man’s hand.
He checked I was ok again, to which I nodded and shut my eyes just in time to feel a huge movement of air in my lower abdomen, as the drill began vibrating my head like Jelly on a dildo. (I havent done this, but I saw Heston do it, ok? And believe me, if you put a dildo in Jelly. The Jelly wobbles… Anyway. Moving on.)
Panic and stomach flu? Evidently not, a good combination.
The rest of the appointment was spent clenching my butt cheeks in an attempt not to fart.
I came home with a root canal in place and my dignity flying around somewhere in the wind, on Salford crescent.
I have to go back next week to get it checked. I seriously hope that A) my stomach is better and B) the hot dentist has decided to move back to Italy and it is the nice old man again, or god knows what I may end up doing to embarrass myself.
My Aunty Olive, it turns out, was right. The dentist can be a terrifying prospect.
Today I have an appointment at the priory.
The post natal depression isn’t lifting and thankfully my medical insurance has kicked in.
The doctor I am meeting is called Dr Letshopeidontembarrasmyselfagain. She is a consultant Psychiatrist.
I will not mention yesterday. (Or I will probably be admitted!)
Wish me luck.
Or her actually. She probably needs it more than me.
Now, where did I leave that Senakot?