The Doust Files – Albany Advertiser 11/10/2011

This time last year I was in the grip of pleurisy. Breathing was difficult and, I’m pretty sure you’ll all agree, taking a breath is probably more important than what’s on the telly tonight.
To be fare, I should have spent time pondering the question: what will the God’s chuck at me this year? They have answered – a sore tooth.
My last sore tooth was at least 20 years ago and when my dentist at the time, a humorous chap called Rob, pulled it, he pulled it clean and healthy and all was good.
Rob was the kind of bloke who left jokes on his counter, not all of them funny and none funny enough to keep the smile on your dial while he stuck needles, miniature crowbars and other implements into your gum.
Dentists, by nature, are not happy people and not surprising given they spend most of their day looking down in the mouth. We are no help, because when we arrive we are in pain, vulnerable and as soon as the drill starts up we sweat from unusual places.
There are two things important to me in a dentist, okay three, because I do insist on a white coat. Then there’s competence and a sense of humour.
My Albany dentist has both and given the history of this column dictates that I make up a name, let’s call him or her, Doctor Hamersley. A column, you should all know by now, is not to be taken as an accurate account of what took place. We have a reputation for exaggeration, hyperbole and, well, making stuff up.
Dr Hamersley wanted to save the tooth: “It’s a good idea for people at your age to save as many teeth as possible.”
My age? That got me going. Then I remembered how old I was and settled into the excellent chair where, I must admit, I have fallen asleep as the drill entered a nasal passage.
I’m not sure why, perhaps because I am a clean and sober man, but the injections failed to numb my gum, my cheek or any part of me. The first session ended in failure and I had to return.
The needles worked this time, almost, and while Doc Hamer pushed, pulled and tugged, I was not bereft of pain, but by then I was so eager for the devil’s tooth to get behind me that I gritted and bore it.
You’d want the story to end there, but no, the devil wasn’t done. He arranged for an infection and I had to go back.
Next visit I’m having them all ripped out and then you can call me gummy.

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