Friday, September 22, 2006

Teeth, Tennis and Tears...

There is a standing joke in our house that the plumber's wife always has leaky taps, whilst the dentist's wife never gets her teeth done.

When I was at work, the fact that I was married to a dentist always prevented me from asking for time off for dental appointments (crazy, but true) as I thought people might think I was pulling a fast one. So I used to fit in my dental appointments at the end of Spouse's Saturday morning sessions. Not very efficient, but at least I got to see him.

When no 1 arrived I was still working and appointments tended to be fitted in on Monday evenings when Spouse worked late. I used to drive to his surgery about 6.30 and his nurse would pull faces at the baby while Spouse ministered to my mouth.

As time passed and more offspring arrived this arrangement became somewhat less then practical. And so, er, I found myself forgetting to make appointments. After several years of not being able to have any treatment because of pregnancies etc I found myself sitting in Spouse's chair and having the humiliating experience of having FOUR fillings. Which is slightly embarrassing for the dentist's wife.

However, worse is yet to come. On and off since my last visit one of my upper teeth has been bothering me. It still responds to hot and cold (A Good Sign - the tooth isn't dead yet), but I have a sneaky suspicion that this tooth is on its way out and I am going to end up having a root treatment. The tooth in question has so much amalgam in it now there is probably more filling then tooth, so longterm the future is not looking rosy.

At Spouse's suggestion I have been swilling mouth wash and flossing like mad (the terrible terrible thing about sharing your abode with a dentist is he will insist on checking if you floss at night...) and the tooth periodically settles down, before flaring up again a few weeks later.

This hole in the head approach (carried out mainly because of the school holidays - I couldn't face the thought of having a root filling with all the offspring standing round fascinated) has just about worked up until now. But the other day I woke up to find there was pain in my whole face. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear.... Though I'm not dentally minded, I have been living with a dentist long enough to know that I was exhibiting all the signs of an abscess. And the really great thing about living with a dentist is he can fit me in at short notice.

So it was that yesterday morning we took the sprogs to school together and then I went to his surgery and he had a quick rummage round my tooth. As he was fitting me in before his proper patients I only got five minutes natch (but then I am only a wife and Know My Place) - but it was enough to establish that Spouse doesn't think the tooth is dead yet (phew). He took an x-ray and when he has a moment I expect I will get told what is going on - probably in about six months or so when he and I can fit it in again....

In the meantime the offspring have been exercising my mind by being ill (nos3&4 came over all feeble and had Wednesday off - most inconveniently as I am halfway through a thorough clean of my bedroom and needed two sick children like a hole in the head) and no 1 came home from school having fallen over and hurt her hand. Oh no, not again...

Luckily it seemed to be a bad sprain and wasn't any more serious.

Or so we thought.

This being MY family nothing is ever straightforward.

Yesterday while nursing my sore tooth, I picked the sprogs up from school and took them to tennis.

First off I failed dismally in the good mummy stakes by forgetting to pick up my friend's daughter until reminded by a more efficient mummy in the playground. Whoops.

When no 1 walked out she was clutching her arm wrapped up in a sweatshirt. Someone had run into her in the playground and her arm was hurting more then ever. So tennis was out for her then...

We got to the tennis club and I had another look at her hand, which was looking pretty swollen. She also didn't have much lateral movement and was in a lot of pain. Sod, sod and double sod. It was going to need an x-ray.

Luckily the tennis club is right by the hospital. Unluckily I had to wait till the little ones had finished their lesson and I could hand over my charge to her mother.

We then move to crap mummy moment no 2.

As I gathered my offspring together I couldn't find no 3. One minute she had been playing with no 2 and then she was gone...

A frantic search revealed nothing, and I anxiously went back to the car thinking maybe she'd struck off on her own (no 3 is an independent soul and is actually six going on eighteen), but nope she wasn't there. Luckily my friends are all more efficient then I am and managed to find her hidden behind a bush.

Then it was off to casualty, which was hideously busy. I rang Spouse on the way in and he came to get the sprogs while I waited with no 1. And waited. And waited. And waited...

By 7pm we'd been there an hour and a half, no 1 hadn't eaten or drunk anything and was in huge amounts of pain. She is a stoical creature, but even she couldn't prevent the tears at that point (which were enough to prompt the very nice and overworked receptionist to remind the very nice and overworked triage nurse that were still there, but it was another twenty minutes before we were seen.) Said triage nurse got us into the system as quickly as she could and we eventually got an x-ray. By this time I was convinced that we had another greenstick. But thank the lord we escaped without one. No1 meanwhile had got used to the idea that her arm might be broken again (she's already done it once) and was somewhat disappointed that she wasn't going to get a coloured plaster.

So then it was back home for some tea and calpol (and a bandage, as no one thought to put one on her). En route I had my third bad mummy moment - we were crossing the car park and I stopped to let a car through the barrier. As it went through I started walking, completely forgetting the barrier was coming down... which it nearly did on our heads - ouch! To prevent my child from being decapitated I not unnaturally grabbed her and pulled her through, accidentally banging her arm as I did so. Double ouch!At which point all her stoicism deserted her, poor lamb, and she howled all the way to the car.

This morning she had recovered her sang froid, althought she is still in some pain.

However, her sisters decided it was payback time for not having had me around at bedtime last night.

So as I was trying to clear the breakfast things away/make packed lunches/write off games notes for no1 I heard an almighty screaming match going on upstairs. No 3 stormed down the stairs and flung herself sobbing on the sofa. No 2 had apparently caused this dramatic display by committing the heinous crime of using no 3's toothbrush (it's all down to teeth in our house). No 2 was meanwhile sobbing at the top of the stairs yelling, Well you took my t-shirt (so that's ok then) - the which crime took place last week and was entirely my fault as I picked the wrong one up and gave it to her.

No 4 meanwhile had a spat with no 1 who had appropriated her new toothbrush (Spouse had clearly been dispensing toothbrushes at bedtime last night) and no 1 was rolling her eyes and wondering why she has been condemned to live in this madhouse till she is eighteen.

Having calmed that spat down I ran back to finish the clearing away/lunchboxes/letters to teacher etc. before being interrupted by nos 2 & 4 having a spat because no 2 wanted to make faces in the mirror and no 2 who was brushing her hair not unnaturally was in the way. Both of them were in floods of tears, but neither would apologise. When I gave no 2 a cuddle to try and cheer her up, she sobbed loudly that a) she was feeling ill (oh no you don't - no 2 has big form for pulling sickies when she's ok, and I wasn't having it today) and b) none of her friends play with her at school - ever. The fact that she won't play the games they want to play is obviously irrelevant. It's a jungle out there.

By now we were seriously running late, no 4 didn't have her shoes on, no 3 had lost her cardigan and I still hadn't written the letter to the teacher, and everyone was shouting. Including me. In fact I was shouting loudest.

I shoved everyone in the car and no 4 then had a paddy because she wanted to sit next to no 2 who funnily enough didn't want to sit next to her. Everyone was screaming apart from no 1 who looked like she would rather be anywhere but here... Me too, me too.

At this point I totally lost the plot, screamed and swore like a demented banshee, and was met with a withering look from no 1 as if to say, Mother, how could you?

Ok, ok, it takes a ten year old to teach me self control. But really. I've had better starts to the day.

Thankfully, two seconds of listening to Terry Wogan's cheerful warbles was enough to restore my good humour, and all the sprogs had stopped crying before they went into school. Always a worry that - you never know what they will tell their teachers about cruel parents.

And at least now, I can relax until 3pm.

If only my tooth would stop hurting, my cup of happiness would be complete....

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