Not bad for mid-November is it?
Glorious sunshine, sparkly sea, bright blue sky, warm enough for tee shirt, no not England, but here in Spain. Just taken a photo from our balcony and from the pool so don't get too jealous if your weather isn't like this.
Interesting day, yesterday. We're taking a break from gadding about, just for a few more days and then we're thinking of popping over to Morocco. Not exactly over the road, but easy enough and well worth the effort. Time to do some of the stuff we've not got round to before we leave. We left England first week of September so too early for a flu jab. We could make a doctor's appointment, but that's a bit of a pain with much filling in of forms so G said why not just go to a chemist, so we did. Nice girl understood what we wanted and said it would be 8 euros, done on the spot. Easy.
I'd rather have the flu than have a needle poked in my arm, or perhaps my bum as it's Spain, so I fetched G from outside where he still was talking to a local nutter who talks to us sometimes. Think he talks to everyone, but we've become his special friends. G was leaning on the Durex machine, looking desperate, so I dragged him away. Didn't like to mention the Durex machine.
G paid his money, the girl handed him the flu jab needle pack and said 'go through to the back.' When he got there a fat bloke was busy mopping the floor. He put down his mop, took the package and said sit down here and roll your sleeve up. G said the bloke didn't actually say anything, just grunted, but that's what he meant. I said perhaps he was just a cleaner, but G said he was wearing white so that was okay. Mind you, G said they looked like painters overalls. He's sorted out now, for flu anyway.
Just me to sort out now. I need a filling as broke a tooth ages ago, did nothing about it, and yesterday it started to hurt. In Spain, you just ring up and they say come in an hour and we'll see you. Place was upstairs, in a block of flats, but inside was all chrome and glass. About a hundred framed qualifications on the walls so he must be good. He was too, didn't hurt and didn't misunderstand me and take all my teeth out. Have to go back again in a month but no more pain. Brilliant. His receptionist looked as if she was going to a nightclub, slinky dress, stilettos and backcombed hair and nails so long she couldn't type properly on the computer to book my appointment. Interesting choice. Naughty dentist.
Last time either of us needed a dentist it was just before a Bank Holiday and G got a massive abscess, looked awful. I've had enough now so will ask him to tell you what happened to him. It's a very sad story and I wish I had gone with him, but was far too busy eating the breakfast he couldn't eat.
‘I can get you an appointment with the emergency dentist for tomorrow,’ offered the Helpline person, helpfully. ‘Best I can do, unless you go to A and E but all they’ll do is remove the tooth.’
Hmm! So much for ‘emergency’ treatment. Okay, it’s my fault for waking up with toothache on a Bank Holiday, but even allowing for my inconsiderate behaviour… Obviously, I said ‘thank you very much, that’ll be great,’ replaced the receiver and went off to watch the left side of my face get bigger and bigger.
‘You’ll have to sleep propped up tonight,’ was one of many Elephant Man references offered by kind people who imagine the pain of a tooth abscess can be eased by puerile attempts at humour.
Next day, bright and early – not difficult having not slept all night – I took myself off to the ‘emergency’ dentist. It wasn’t the most salubrious of areas and having parked my car in the place I deemed least likely to have it stolen I walked stoically towards the main entrance. There were half a dozen people waiting outside, sucking furiously on cigarettes to deaden the pain.
‘Better leave that outside, mate,’ a spotty youth with jeans perilously on the point of falling off his skinny flanks advised.
I looked down and saw a condom firmly attached to the sole of my shoe.
‘Looks like you had a good night,’ rasped a red-faced woman through clouds of smoke, laughing wheezily.
Now, I’m not up to date with the etiquette of removing a (brimming but firmly knotted) condom from the sole of one’s shoe.
a) shuffle away and attempt its removal out of sight of my audience?
b) Attempt instant removal and then seek advice as to what’s to become of it?
c) Hold my head high, ignore it, walk inside and hope nobody else notices?
0r d) Say ‘Lose track of ‘em. Got through a dozen of ‘em last night’ and go down the ‘Jack the lad’ route?
In the end, I chose a). Having found a good lurking spot around the corner, I tried removal. Flicking a soggy piece of latex from a shoe by scraping it off with the other shoe doesn’t work. Transference from one shoe to another, that seems to work okay, but otherwise…
In desperation, I raised my leg behind me like a Shire horse at the forge and poked and prodded with a stick broken off a nearby hedge. After breaking three sticks and my spirit, finally the wretched thing detached, its contents miraculously still intact. Unwilling to place my shoes within close proximity, I selected a sturdy branch from the hedge and was busily engaged in flicking the condom along the pavement towards the relative safety of the gutter when I realised I had an audience. Two nuns – middle-aged and stern of visage – were watching from the other side of the road.
I waved, for reasons that escape me now, and was rewarded with a withering glare. I wanted to offer an explanation for a scruffily dressed man with a swollen face poking a used condom with a stick in broad daylight and would have done so if a believable one had come to mind.
The waiting room contained people with toothache. That was to be their only common factor. Grotesques all. My Elephant Man impression passed un-noticed.
The man sat next to me had a weight problem, but I suspected he didn’t see it as a problem. In fairness, his weight would have been perfect, if he’d been five feet taller! The narrow bench was probably intended for three people, but I was left with enough space to park a single buttock. We were all ‘emergency’ cases and as such unknown quantities for the professionals who were about to put us out of our collective misery. Ignorance means forms to fill in. It always does.
I ticked my fifty or so boxes and was perched, minding my own business, when my chubby neighbour thrust his own form in front of me.
‘Fill that in for me, mate,’ he said. ‘I’m not much good at that reading and writing stuff.’
The form required personal knowledge of his medical history so I couldn’t just tick the boxes; collusion was required.
‘Have you ever suffered from *insert common or obscure medical condition here* within the past five years?’
He looked blankly at every single question while I resorted to finding common ground by explaining the disease or affliction in layman’s terms. Oh, did I mention he was not only hogging the bench but was partially deaf? Asking ‘have you ever been treated for a sexually related condition’ in a stentorian bellow gained the attention of everyone in the room.
I was hoarse by the time our collaboration ended, but it had at least taken my attention away from the pain in my jaw. A new arrival in the already crowded room announced we were all ‘sad bastards’ and the receptionist was a ‘miserable twat.’
I’d have applauded his chutzpah under different circumstances, (and even agreed with him about the receptionist), but we were all suffering in here and a fair number took the bait and offered to sort him out. I’d met a fair few sufferers from Tourettes Syndrome before and when our latest companion began to repeatedly punch himself in the face his inability to help his previous outburst became evident.
Three people stood to allow him to sit down and he nodded his thanks, accompanied by characteristic tics: twitching and mouthing off. Coprolalia is the medical term for swearing or other socially disruptive noises, but echolalia, constantly repeating the words or phrases of others, can prove even more difficult in a crowded room and the next half hour, waiting my turn, was as stressful as being in a Bank Holiday traffic queue while suffering from diarrhoea.
When I eventually got in to see the dentist - Irish, talkative, with a facial tic that made him appear to be winking, constantly - he produced yet another form, mostly duplicating the information I’d already given and plodded through it. I’ll give him this: he was enthusiastic.
Dentist: ‘Do you smoke?’
Dentist: ‘Good for you!’
‘Do you drink more than ten units of alcohol a week?’
‘Good for you!’
The ‘ good for you’ routine continued, every answer brought the same response, even ‘Have you ever been treated for a mental illness?’ and ‘are you diabetic?’they all evoked the same ‘good for you’ response.
Eventually, he decided he’d make a start, poked around a bit, told me I had an abscess, which I already knew, and that it was likely to be causing me quite a lot of pain, which again I had already noticed. I wondered if I had come to the right place. He poked a long metal spike into my mouth, tapped it quite firmly with what looked like a coal hammer and the top of my head lifted off, or that's what it felt like.
‘Ah,’ he said, ‘that's your problem, right there. I’ll have a bit of a poke around, see if I can pop the abscess for you Take some pills for a few days, should sort it out for you’
‘Grrr,’ I mumbled or something very similar.
Half an hour of pain and discomfort later, I was back outside, clutching a couple of pills, ‘to be going on with,’ and in considerably more pain than when I arrived. Five days later, the swelling finally went down and the pain eased. I was half a stone lighter by then, but I’ll not be recommending it as a miracle diet. Marigold was very sympathetic. Told me I should grow a beard as I looked hideous with a swollen face. I’ve still got the beard. Obviously, still looking hideous then.