That’s it, really.
I have a toothache. It’s really really bad.
Honestly I’m not exaggerating.
It started, predictably enough, the day before I came away on holiday. Christmas Eve, Good Friday, the day before a week long vacation in the backside-of-nowhere – classic days to develop a painful affliction requiring immediate medical attention.
Unfortunately I was too distracted by the fact that I had lost my sandals (again!) to give the toothache the proper attention it deserved. (This it the third pair of sandals I have lost this year, for the record. How can one woman lose three pairs of sandals in one year? I have absolutely no idea.) I was so distracted, in fact, that I just took a couple of pills and thought, oh well it’s bound to pass. And got in the car and carried on driving west until I ran out of Wales.
So here I am, a ridiculously long way from a dentist, in the company of lots of lively children and cuddling a very big pile of painkillers. My long-suffering family are being as patient as they can be, given that I spend the majority of the day lying on the sofa with a face like a smacked bottom and interspersing a low, persistent moaning with occasional outbursts of ‘I am in PAIN! Don’t you all realise I am in PAIN!!!!!’
Then the pain stops for a bit, and the relief is so great, that I run skipping around the holiday home, laughing hysterically while tweeting birds land on my outstretched fingers. And then I kiss the little birdies on the beak and POW! It’s off again, and I am back on the sofa with the moaning and the writhing in pain.*
I like to think that I had a high tolerance for pain. I pride myself on never taking any painkillers. I used to consider this to be a matter of moral strength on my part. I spurn your Lemsip! I will FIGHT this pain with sheer force of will and steely determination! I am IRON WOMAN!
I realise now, as I’m sure everyone else knew all along, that I have been deluding myself. The reason why I don’t take painkillers is that, well, I don’t really experience pain. I am extremely healthy. This is sheer luck on my part, and good genetics. (It’s definitely not a healthy lifestyle, I’ll tell you that. The only fruit I eat in the average week comes soaked in Pimms, and the last time I had to run for the last train home I had to lie down on the seat until we got to Slough and I still couldn’t get my breath back.) I come from a long line, several lines really, of subsistence peasants. Any feeble genes, any possible weaknesses have long since been bred out.
Apart from the teeth. You don’t die of bad teeth. Although this week, death would be a blessed relief. For the rest of my family, if not for me. As I lie on the sofa, thrashing wildly in pain, and counting the minutes to my next Nurofen hit, I give up thanks that I wasn’t born in previous centuries, when I would have had to deal with toothache with only my inner sense of calm and mental resilience to help me. Yeah, good luck with that, Medieval Me. Of course, Medieval Me would have been long dead by now. Starvation, unmedicated childbirth and/or some sort of pus-ridden plague would have finished her off before she had to worry about bad teeth. The lucky cow.
And the other thing I have learned about myself this week is this: I like drugs. Drugs don’t usually play much of a part in my life. Not too many opportunities for drug-fuelled orgies in The Village. Unless you count camomile tea. The average PTA social doesn’t involve too much in the way of pill-popping. Not that I am complaining about this, in the normal course of things. I am high on life. Fresh air and the smell of manure is enough for me. Ha. If anyone had ever tried to push drugs on me, as per those dire warnings from my childhood (some hope) – I would have known exactly what to say. I saw it all on Grange Hill. No! Just. Say. No.
In the last few days though, since the start of the Terrible Pain, I have started to feel quite differently. If some dealer had turned up in the middle of the Welsh countryside, where even the sheep are bored and I have to drive to the other side of the valley to get one measly bar on my mobile phone – well.
Sorry Zammo. Just. Say. Yes, please.**
But no such luck. I do however have a little tip for you. If you are ever stuck in the middle of nowhere and in need of some mind-altering substances, I would like to recommend a couple of hours of ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother in the company of the phenomenon that is ‘Jedward’.
That really IS trippy, man.
*This part may be a little bit painkiller related. Sorry.
**Don’t worry. This bit is definitely a joke. Really. Don’t worry Zammo, I really WAS paying attention.