Across Continents

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Pulling teeth

Careful sip of iced water. Brief pause. Still sat down, rather than finding myself attached to the ceiling. I’d joked with the waitress that might be a little disconcerting for the other diners. Cold drinks far more palatable than tepid coffee. Decided to opt for a baked potato whilst I waited for the powerful antibiotics I’d been prescribed to kick in.

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In Victorian times, explained Monte earlier in the day, dental infections of this sort were a major cause of death. Untreated quickly spreading to more critical parts of the body. Adding that today we didn’t think of these things as life threatening simply because suitable antibiotics were usually readily available to check them. So, I asked, this was definitely a dental emergency? Yes. Absolutely he replied.

But what to do about it? They’d been a few twinges over the past month or so, nothing serious, certainly not enough to actively seek treatment. Until now. We settled on removal, for several previous attempts at saving the tooth had failed to provide a permanent solution. I’d have to wait a further day for the underlying infection to clear up before extraction, and would need to remain close by for at least another twenty four hours in case of clotting complications.

I headed off to a nearby pharmacy torn between being pleased that the root cause of the pain had been uncovered and a solution worked out, and frustration at having to wait around for treatment, unavoidable though that was.

[Author’s note: Intrigued to find, in a land of outrageously expensive healthcare, prescription antibiotics cheaper than in the UK. Painkillers similar, although the ones I’ve got would appear to double as horse tranquilizers. Or maybe bears? When it says on the package "will cause drowsiness" – as opposed to "may" – they’re not joking… And a big thank you to Monte and Jenny at the dental surgery for being so accommodating, generously providing a prognosis and x-rays for free]

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