In which there is little gain but plenty of pain


Which would you rather read a column about: the mice in our flat, or my recent dental work?

ONLY KIDDING. You're having both.

So last week, I left you on tenterhooks (humour me) as I trotted off to my first dentist appointment in an embarrassing number of years. I'm happy to tell you it was fine. Pleasant, in fact. I've managed to find myself a Lovely Dentist - and not only lovely but award-winning (according to his window stickers), and says nice honest things like, "the cheap metal NHS fillings are actually stronger and better than the expensive white ones. Get those."

I left floating on a cloud of optimism and adult efficiency. I promptly went and changed my address with Natwest, only a year and a half after I moved house. I was on a life-admin roll.

Then before my two-fillings appointment, by way of useful distraction, we’ve gone and got mice in the flat again. Although “gone and got” infers unfair responsibility on our part, when everyone knows that mice simply run inside to escape the rain, and prefer clean houses to dirty ones anyway. Or is that nits, with hair? Anyway. Mice. Still, our ingenious plan to scare them away by having all of our radios on at all times means that I'm learning a lot about bluegrass from Radio 2, so there is always a silver lining.

Back in The Chair of Dental Doom, Lovely Dentist continues in his honest vein, and tells me the injections will be "pretty nasty". 

To try and distract myself, I use my mum's favourite trick: mentally running through all the contestants in a named reality TV show in series order. I start with Strictly. "Lesley Garrett," I say in my head. The drill starts. "Umm, Natasha Kaplinsky". It feels like my tooth is spraying over my mouth. That can't be right, can it? "David Dickinson." Can it? Are tiny bits of tooth going everywhere? "CLAIRE SWEENEY."

Whether there's any pride in being really hard to anaesthetise, I'm not sure - but if there is, please let me say that I took FOUR injections, baby. I'm just that tough. Although by the fourth I'll admit my ability to distinguish pain from 'cold', 'noise' and 'foot cramp' is waning. Am I in pain, or is this just how I feel generally? I start paying disproportionate attention to my lower limbs. Are my feet positioned weird? Should I try to cross them, nonchalantly?

I try to cross them nonchalantly, and in doing so accidentally flinch my top half - which Lovely Dentist interprets as pain and gives me more anaesthetic. Score! So it continues, the drilling and the flinching, until I've reached series 6 and am mentally re-running Heather Small’s cha-cha-cha.

An hour, £50 and some vague, ignorable mutterings about a future root canal later, I’m back in the Mouse House, alone. There are ominous clunkings coming from a cupboard. But I can’t employ my usual tactic of ferocious whistling because the bottom half of my face is completely numb and flopping around like vulcanized rubber. 

“Rachel Stevens, Lisa Snowdon, Tom Chambers!”

The clunking gets louder, and more mouse-in-trap-y.

Onto series 7.