One Day, One Arm

Well this is a new one for me. Today I went to the doctors and, uninteresting story made short, my left arm was pumped full of stuff. Long term it’s great, but short term it doesn’t half make my life fun.

Said arm is currently in a state of varying nagging pain. Not insufferable, but not ignorable either. It’s a bit like walking through a field of sugar-coated stinging nettles which has been made home to a swam of wasps. Constant background pain with the occasional sharp stab with each false move of the arm. Irritating pain, irritating pain, irritating pain, STAB! Irritating pain, irritating pain, irritating pain, STAB!

Lucky, lucky me.

The result of said niggling pain is a reluctance to move said left arm and keep it as still as possible. In the short term this worked fine, but now it’s debateable what is more noticeable, the tight white bandage or the strawberry red hand which marks the collection point for bodily fluids. Despite appearances I’m still electing to go for ugly hand over hurty arm. Spending a day carrying out tasks with one arm brings no rewards but plenty of challenges. Prepping food, putting headphones on, bodily functions. Right now I am typing this, to the best of my ability, with one hand. In fact not even one hand, one index finger. And my gosh it’s so tedious, every upper case letter takes forever to implement! Going back to correct frequent typos takes forever (if you’re reading this and spotted many missed mistakes I’ve overlooked, sorry but not sorry – same for grammar). I’m currently pumping myself full of sugar to stay motivated enough to type one fingered. There could also be a number of drugs messing with my head, this I’m not too sure of because everything I write is just as equally likely to be natural, wacky, me. It reminds me of the days at school before I learnt to join up writing, when every letter was written out one. By. One. It also reminds me of when Mumma Bennett used to insist on typing each letter on the keyboard.

“Let me help you mum.”
“No, it’s ok.”
“But it’s so painful to watch!”

Today’s events have also reinforced my firmly held belief that very British person chooses to ignore the blinding obvious out of fear of causing offence. Why do we do it? Say no evil, there is no evil (that’s how it works, right?) Returning back to the office from my not so merry outing with a large white bandage it did cross my mind that the fashion statement might come into water cooler dialogue. I had it all prepped, “oh goodness Alice, are you ok?” someone would say. “It’s fine,” I’d wave off “just medication, this is temporary.” Total times I had to pull out this comment? 0. Now, I will accept that I wasn’t particularly desperate to tell my co-workers the full details, but I was surprised by the lack of comment. People looked at the bandage enough, so much that I was actually quite relieved that the medical wrapping wasn’t positioned on my head or chest. They knew it was there, some of them may have even notified my attempts to shift through paperwork one-handed (FYI not easy) but nope, we will let the strangely limp human carry on. It’s character building. I elected not to tell clients on email/phone of this development. When I am chasing for something or vice versa the last thing either of us care about is the state of my left arm. Do you still have four limbs? Yes. Am I getting my quote today? Yes. Ok, well I’d love to chat but I really would rather not. Bye. Simples.

The minor pain will be gone by tomorrow, but going through this makes me value those who have to put up with pain constantly. Fair play to those sorts because, as you can tell, I’ve barely made it through twelve hours without going cuckoo. I feel like Peter Griffin that one time he was in a wheelchair.

(Apologises for image quality, YouTube scroungers can’t be choosers)

I’d like to write more on this but my right arm is beginning to ache from the typing, my left arm has been stung my wasps again and my brain is trying to work out how the stuff to prepare dinner and tomorrow’s lunch with minimal limb usage. It’s going to be interesting and quite likely coffee stained. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a hot beverage burn in there for good measure.

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Come Sit With Me

Come sit with me. Come sit here in the caffeine filled haze we call paradise. The legal high that our fathers and their fathers before have relished, for here we are one. The mothers, the students, the disapproving men with broadsheets in hand, everyone has a home here.

Let me pass you this extra I have acquired. Do you take milk? The sugar is over there. The chair next to me is a little worn and mismatched, but that is the norm. Brush off the crumbs of the previous tenant and join me in weekend conversation.

The background music will lull you into a false pretence of your own class and status. The type of music you recognise but do not know. They are the backing beats that serve as melodic distraction from the mess surrounding us. I have heard in booksheleved corners that it improves the taste, what do you think?

See that man behind my left shoulder? I know him to be a regular. The frustrated writer who huffs and sighs over work that will never make it to print. Chomping on cheap nuts and downing brown goo in paper cups, for he cannot afford the china. He is a freeloader of the establishment, clinging desperately to an image that cannot be sustained. I remember when he used to sip on only the finest quality beans and nibble on pastries with young women, but those days are gone. We have all changed since those days.

My friend, you look a little troubled. Don’t be. In this world we are all addicts of our own making. I only seek to show you the truth that lurks in the steam. Save your pity for Africa, it is a wasted emotion in this Latino supplied space. I see you have finished your drink. Would you like another? It would be my honour. They serve only the finest cheap substances here, it is why we never leave.

I am so happy you came to sit with me my partner. Now stress no more and relax, the fresh coffee will be here soon.

 

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An Unwise Wisdom Tooth

As I found myself sat in a medical waiting room all I could think of (besides the pain) was “here we go again”.

This time around however there were some minor differences. For one, the cause of my being there was not a smashed in face, but a troublesome wisdom tooth (unfortunately there are no photo ‘beauties’ of my injuries. I mean who can forget this stunner?)

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Also, due to the severity and urgency of my condition, I was in the waiting room of a private dentist instead of one belonging to a NHS dentist (the type I would normally choose). Having your regular dentistry tell you that ‘there are no dentists on site on a Friday’ and suggest you call 111 or go to A&E is a bit of an inconvenience when you have a tooth protruding into your cheek. In such a state I was happy to take mumma Bennett’s advice and go private. Thanks also to the quick thinking and research of mumma Bennett, I was able to go to one locally which had an emergency appointment slot. Unfortunately this slot was in 20 minutes and I had no idea where I was going. Never in my life did I expect to be running to the dentist.

With (somehow) a bit of time to spare I was able to take in the waiting room. The background music was a suitable soundtrack of Heart Radio (because who doesn’t love a bit of Ed Sheeran?) but I’ll leave you to spot the main difference between the private waiting room compared to an NHS one:

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Well, other than the fact it’s the most stylish waiting room I’ve ever been in, there were zero people in there. Heck, even the receptionist left me alone for a while. I know it goes without saying but in the NHS waiting rooms are considerably busier. Also, the people on reception never put out free tubes of toothpaste and if they did they’d watch you like a hawk to put you off taking them. I may have taken a few…(look, if I’m going to go private I’ve got to try and offset the costs somehow.)

Went in to see the dentist and he confirmed what I knew to be the case, that it was the wisdom tooth causing the pain I was experiencing. What I didn’t quite realise was how bad it had become. Over the course of several weeks the tooth had started to stick into my cheek and, well, rub. It certainly explained why it was hurting to talk and eat and also why the mass consumption of gum aesthetic had done me no good but made my throat numb to hot drinks (when one is in pain, one much clutch at silver linings). The dentist also showed me a delightful photo image of the tooth in question on a screen in front of me. I know I’m British but I couldn’t help feel a bit awkward as I lay in a chair with the pair of us spending about five minutes looking at my infected cheek. To my knowledge in the NHS it’s “your tooth needs to come out”, “ok” and you go from there. It was when he asked to have the image saved that my mind started to wonder. I mean, what does he want to do with that photo? Does he have a album of all the wisdom teeth he’s ever pulled out, or does he just keep the favourites? When I leave, will I have the option to select the image and get it made into a key ring?

Wisdom tooth extraction is, in my squeamish mind, not something I find either interesting or fun to talk about. Number one reason why I couldn’t be a dentist? The noises. I’ll leave it there.

Surgery done and dusted I was presented with the tooth. I wasn’t really sure what I was meant to say, whether I was meant to go ‘yippee!’ or ‘good, I can verify you are a dentist now”. Not knowing what to go with, the first thing that sprang into my mind, the very thing I thought would be appropriate in this situation was simply “well, I’m certainly not going to get that put on a necklace!” The room  was silent. I’ll admit the statement lacked impact on account of the aesthetic and the cotton wool shoved in my mouth. The delivery was a little off.

I tried to salvage the situation when the dentist asked me with genuine concern if someone was coming to pick me up. “Oh yes,” I said, “family are coming. I’m going to walk home from here, it isn’t far.” I pointed out the window to a patch of street paving, “I’ll just avoid walking on that stretch of pavement, I tripped and smashed my head on the pavement there a few months back!” I said it light heartedly, but instead of mild chuckles, the dentist looked at me in a very concerned way. The nurse looked at me like I was a puppy with a broken leg. I knew I wasn’t going to win over this crowd. I left the room like a true stand up comedian.

“Err, anyway, thank you very much for seeing me,” I said, “it’s been a blast!” And walked out the room.

A blast?! I’d just had a dentist rip out a tooth from my gums and I described the whole experience as a blast? All I can hope is that the awful humour can be explained on the drugs migrating from mouth to brain.

I tell you what certainly wasn’t a blast, the bill. Yep, that would be the main difference between NHS and private. Again, I can only assume the numbing drugs helped me get over that.

Anywho, post surgery I was unable to smile but that was about it. Here is proof of me trying so hard to use my face muscles, so hard:

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You can probably see a little it of swelling, but luckily that is the extent of the physical short-term impact of the extraction.

I’ve been feeling a bit up and down but I’ll be back in work and back to my normal, fully blown awkward self in no time. Maybe I’ll even start thinking up what my next calamity in about six months’ time will be…