The prospect of a visit to the dentist fills me with dread. Down the years, I’ve probably had more dental treatment than most and I’ve been going for check-ups every six months since I was a tot, so I should be comfortable with it by now, but I’m not.
I’ve seen the same dentist for more than 20 years and he’s a fine chap – witty, chatty, knowledgable and no doubt a skilled operator, but still I become more and more nervous as the day approaches.
Earlier this month I was relieved when I had the excuse of a chest infection and was able to call the surgery and cancel an appointment, but it was only a matter of postponing the inevitable, so Tuesday saw me leave work early and head off for a date with fate.
I didn’t get off to a good start – the traffic was bad so I knew time was going to be tight. I parked the car then half ran, half walked (in that out-of-condition way middle aged men with desk-bound jobs do), arriving at the surgery a couple of minutes late, hot and a little out of breath.
Luckily, the dentist was running late, so I had chance to compose myself a bit.
Into the surgery and I tell myself to be calm, but as soon as the chair starts to tilt back I feel myself tensing up – I’m rigid, my hands (palms sweaty) are clamped across my stomach and no amount of small talk is going to relax me.
The dentist seemed to take an age having a look around and my jaw ached, locked open, it felt, for an eternity.
Then the ordeal was over, the chair tilted forward and I made a quick escape – see you in six months . . .
I’m not ashamed of my dentist phobia, I think it’s relatively common, however I am more than a little embarrassed that just a couple of hours before my trauma, in a dental surgery not too many miles down the road, my teenage son sauntered in, had two teeth extracted as part of programme of orthodontic work, then wandered out and spent the evening as though nothing had happened.
What a wimp, Dad.
-- According to an Oxfam report published this week, the richest 85 people in the world own the same wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population. Ironically, on the same day that I read this, I heard a successful, philanthropic businessman quote a proverb about wealth along the lines of: ‘If your well is full, stop trying to fill it’.
How much money does one individual need?