Imagine explaining all of the above, again. Imagine reminding the person you are with that your gums are so painful that an electric toothbrush is impossible to use, and some days the most you can manage to clean your teeth is toothpaste on your finger.
Imagine that the dentist – who is very sweet – looks a bit stumped and goes to get someone else to talk to you. Imagine that he explains that the criteria for general anaesthetic are either having more than one tooth removed or mental or physical disability. Imagine him telling you what the procedure will be: cutting and peeling back the gum, drilling the tooth in half, removing each half. Imagine going though all of the above, again, and explaining, again, that it’s getting the local anaesthetic in that’s the problem.
Imagine that the slightly more senior dentist goes off to get the most senior dentist available to talk to you. Imagine that she comes in and all of the above happens once more. Imagine everyone continues to miss the point you are trying to make. Imagine that promises of total numbness and swift action are made. Imagine reassurances about how good the dentists are, and people saying things like, ‘won’t you let us try?’
Imagine that, finally, you say you’ll think about it, because you need to get out of there and consider your options and not be bounced into something that you don’t want to do for very sound reasons, even though you feel you are being treated a bit like a child who won’t eat their peas.
Imagine that the most senior dentist available puts her head on one side (“it’s like eating a little green football! Yummy! How many footballs can you eat?”), smiles, and touches you on the arm.
Imagine that she says, “Be brave.”
(a) burst into tears?
(b) say, “Excuse me. That water slide was very high indeed. I know all about brave, thank you very much.”?
(c) take a deep breath, smile, and leave?
(d) shout, “Brave? BRAVE? I’ve been cut open, injected, cannulated, given drugs that I thought were going to kill me, lost my hair, had two robot arms, been so achey I couldn’t move and so tired I couldn’t stand, had radiotherapy beams fired at me every day for a month, faced up to my own mortality, put everyone I know and love through the mill, posted pictures of my breasts on the internet, and managed toothache for more than six sodding weeks until I got an appointment here. Don’t you talk to me about brave, lady,” turn on your heel and walk out?
I did (c). But I’m quite tempted to go back and do (d) tomorrow.