So there I am, happily putting all those childhood illnesses and accidents behind me and looking forward to a healthy adult life.
I was going to fast forward 20+ years – but suddenly remembered – chicken pox!!
While I may have had measles two or three times, tonsilitis similarly, the two things I managed to avoid in my early years were chicken pox and mumps.
I don’t know how I avoided them. Whenever one of those school notes came around telling parents they may wish to keep their little girl at home because little someone else had got a nasty infectious disease, my mother tossed it aside and kicked me out of the door and off to school. I had to take my chances.
And I never did get mumps or chicken pox. Until the day I was working on a newspaper and noticed a nasty rash on my chest. I sat opposite the chief reporter. She was lovely. One of the few people in my life who I really can’t find a bad word to say about. We discussed my spotty chest. I went to the doc. I was off work for three weeks.
I scratched of course. As you are told not to do. And there were a couple of scars on my face but I can’t see them now. Poor eyesight or just faded away?
So the moral behind that one is – don’t go to the pantomime with your pals in your early 20s if you haven’t had chicken pox. The pantomime, incidentally was very good. Russ Abbott, with some very adult jokes. Almost worth the chicken pox and three weeks off work.
Now, and I have been putting this one off – there is the teeth thing. I hate the teeth stories.
When I was little I went to see Uncle John (who naturally wasn’t an uncle at all but a masonic friend of my dads who happened to be a dentist) and he never did anything to my teeth just gave me those tiny tubes of toothpaste. I loved those. A bit like mini Hovis loaves.
Sadly he died young, as dentists often do. My father found us another one in the local town and I was the guinea pig. I came out moaning and crying and was told not to be such a baby. My father went some time later, came out black and blue and badly bruised and we didn’t go back.
After that we found an ok one. One Friday evening I had a pain in my mouth. Went to the dentist and he suggested we buy some very strong alcohol and swill it around my mouth. I think it was an infection of some type. It may well be totally unethical and unsound and incorrect advice these days – but I continue to pass it on. Smirnoff Blue is my vodka of choice. Apart from anything else if you use it as a mouthwash in the morning it doesn’t smell.
Moving swiftly on, to Nepal, 1985. Pokhara to be precise and we were in a cheap and nice hostel-type place. Someone offered us toffees. Big mistake. Out came a huge filling.
Naturally I was petrified as you are when a filling comes out and you are in the middle of Asia. We hot-footed it back to New Delhi which I thought may have a better calibre of dentist (yes, I know ….).
In New Delhi, the sad tooth was refilled. Once in safe white English-speaking land again aka Sydney, I found me another dentist to get it checked out. I told the dentist the story. He nodded sympathetically. I lay back. He put on some music. Indian music!!! The last thing I wanted to hear.
It seemed I needed to have the new filling out. A temporary bandage or some such crap applied. Another new filling in later. A lot of Aussie bucks later.
Have I mentioned wisdom teeth? No. When I was in sixth form, one of my good friends had hers out, and was off school for weeks and in pain and agony.
I survived the ordeal of Nepal, New Delhi and Sydney and returned home, and – went to the dentist. The old dentist, who used to stink of tobacco and do hypnotism, had a bright new assistant. BNA told me my wisdom teeth needed to come out and he was surprised I wasn’t already in pain.
At which point, I became suspicious of dentists. And refused point blank for anyone to touch my wisdom teeth. There may have been more work on the toffee filling carried out. Why not? It would have been money. I don’t remember what happened about that now when it was so many years ago.
Cervical screening can rear its head at this point. Naturally I believed that it was A Good Thing to go for smears. I didn’t understand a thing about it, but I knew it was A Good Thing.
I went to my local doctor for a smear, and when there was a mobile women’s health group came around our offices I visited that. I said I had recently been screened, but no matter, we’ll just do it all over again.
With hindsight – what a total waste of time and space. And money. Because more frequent screening of women in a low-risk group achieves nothing.
Eyesight? Gosh I forgot that one. It can wait for a later post too ….
Total in the decade of my twenties:
One large filling falls out, gets refilled, gets taken out and temporarily refilled, gets filled, and gets taken out and refilled again. What’s the betting I still have a filling in that tooth???? Well, you’ll have to wait a few posts.