In the last two days I’ve had one appoinment with the doctor, and two with the dentist.
The doctor won the competition to see who could run the latest by seeing me an hour late, almost doubling the dentist’s wait time. On the plus side, I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to read through some out of date magazines (did you know Prince Charles and Princess Diana are getting divorced?). Actually I do enjoy reading through copies of Reader’s Digest at the doctor’s, in fact I enjoy it a bit too much – I’m the only person who sits in the waiting room hooting with laughter.
I returned from the dentist yesterday afternoon with shakey knees and a cleaner, albeit bloody, smile, and feeling very relieved. I’d guessed I had a broken filling a while ago. Several months ago, to be honest. My previous dentist (who was recommended to me – I’m wondering if that wasn’t some cruel practical joke) was so sadistic and expensive that I knew I had to find another one, and, frankly, I was a bit too traumatised to rush to do that. I finally turned to the NHS (National Health Service) website last week and through that found a dentist to take me on as a fee-paying NHS patient.* She turned out to be very nice, she has repaired my broken filling, de-scaled me (!), and given me a clean bill of oral health. I go back in six months. In the meantime I need to persuade Simon to make an appointment. . .
*For those living outside the UK: care on the NHS is “free for all, and free at the point of delivery” (we pay a set charge for prescribed medications currently £6-85). However, optical care was removed from this system for all except the poorest and children, and although dental care is still, theoretically, within the system, in practice it is very difficult to find a dentist within the scheme. Children and and those on certain benefits get free treatment, the rest of us, if we can find a dentist to take us on, pay a limited amount (currently: £15-50 for a check-up, £43-60 for a check-up and one or more fillings, and about £194 for more extensive work. My last private check-up was £50 so this makes a huge difference to those of us on tight budget). Most dentists have gone private – it is easier and more lucrative. Moving around frequently with the church has meant I’ve had to go private in the past.