Romance gone wrong

Posted February 14th, 2006 by Penny Wise

As predicted, my husband didn't know what had hit him yesterday, but things didn't go according to plan at all - unfortunately, he really does look as though someone has punched him following yesterday's escapades. Sigh, let me explain the saga of Noel's teeth...

As I mentioned recently, I had found the Simple Savings coverage of health insurance very interesting. The main reason for this sudden interest was due to dental purposes. As a youngster, my teeth received the utmost care and attention, but when I emigrated from the bountiful land of free dental care (England at the time!) I got one heck of a shock to visit my first dentist 'down under' and be charged $400 for four fillings - only one of which I had known I needed. To lessen the blow somewhat, I did get a discount of $50 per filling, (as Noel had been one of the dentist's wife's favourite pupils at high school), but at just 19 years old and setting up home together, this was not money we could come up with at a moment's notice. Consequently we were loath to repeat the experience again and neither of us visited the dentist again for a long time … like about 15 years (don't cringe!) Honestly, we did mean to visit the dentist more regularly, it's just that we couldn't bear the thought of having to part with hundreds of dollars every time we needed treatment, as we never seemed to be in the position to have any spare funds for that sort of thing. Then once the kids came along, our priorities changed again and well, we just never seemed to get there.

Consequently, although my front teeth do look perfectly respectable as in my new cartoon, to my mind if a dentist were to look in my mouth these days, he would find my back molars closely resembling Gouda cheese - you know, the one with all the holes in? I know, it's my own fault, and Noel's are no better. The evil thing about avoiding dentist visits is, if you don't go, all that neglect is going to catch up with you in the end and in Noel's case it most definitely has. His back teeth have been giving him grief for months and over the last few weeks one in particular has been giving him hell. I've been watching him for days digging at it with a toothpick, then cursing at him for keeping me up half the night gargling noisily with Disprin, not to mention taking a course of antibiotics. At last he could take it no more and I managed to get him along to the local dentist. Who informed him that three of his wisdom teeth need to come out, not to mention the one that is giving him the most problem at the moment. This would need to be done under general anaesthetic and would cost $2000. In addition, he needs a further $1000 work done on the rest of his teeth to get them all up to scratch. To top it all off, he was going to have to spend another eight weeks in pain stuck on a waiting list before the job could be done.

As you can imagine, I was not about to throw a party at this news. I mean, they're teeth! You can't just leave them; you have to sort them out. What really hurt me almost as much as Noel's tooth was paining him though, was that the sum of $3000 was the exact sum of money we have had put by in our savings since May 2005, so we could give the outside of our house a much needed coat of paint. For nine months that money had sat safely, while we patiently sat on the waiting list for the painter to get round to us, and in one fell swoop the blasted lot was in jeopardy. I could quite happily have wrung his neck to be honest! Don't get me wrong, I did feel sorry for him, but what rotten timing!

A plan of action was needed. Noel decided that the thing was, his wisdom teeth weren't actually bothering him, it was only that one back tooth which was causing the immediate problem. The dentist had put a temporary filling in it, but it fell out after two days and he was back in agony again. Seeing as a general anaesthetic would not be needed for this particular tooth, he decided to simply shop around for another dentist who was willing to take the offending tooth out as soon as possible.

We found one in the city who was willing to fit him in yesterday morning and extract the tooth then and there. Thank goodness it was finally getting sorted, I thought and welcomed Noel back from the dentist happily. I wasn't even that perturbed to see that he that he looked uncannily like a vampire, complete with ghostly grey pallor and blood trickling out the side of his mouth. 'They botched it up!' he mumbled, stuffing more cotton wool in his mouth. 'In fact, they botched it so badly that they didn't charge me anything. I have to find an oral surgeon to fix it up and go back on the waiting list'. Poor Noel. After an hour and a half trying to wrench the stubborn tooth out with pliers, the dentist exchanged worried looks with her assistant and out came the scalpel. Despite being butchered for a further half an hour, only part of the tooth came out, leaving the roots of still firmly embedded. The dentist has no choice but to stitch him up, apologise profusely and send him on his way.

So we wait for the next instalment. Poor Noel's face has swollen up like a football and he has great trouble talking, which is most inconvenient for someone whose job revolves around talking on the phone. At this stage we are trying to get him into the local hospital for emergency dental treatment and to add insult to injury two of my teeth have started bothering me, but they'll just have to wait! Consequently Noel was feeling far from amorous for Valentine's Day yesterday, so all my romantic plans had to be shelved - there didn't seem to be any point cooking a slap-up meal for someone who can only cope with milkshakes and soup!

On a brighter note, I was delighted to receive a phone call from Noel Leeming. Five years ago when I bought our flash new Kenwood stereo, I was talked by the salesman into paying an extra amount to have a five year extended warranty. With two pre-schoolers at the time getting into everything, even I had to admit it probably wasn't a bad idea. As time went on, the tape decks broke, but that didn't worry me as we never listened to tapes any more, so I didn't bother fixing it. However, when the CD player started acting temperamental I checked my warranty and found there was less than a week to go until the five years was up! So, I shot it back into Noel Leeming to get it fixed a bit quick. Imagine my surprise when the phone rang and the assistant told me to come and pick up a brand new replacement stereo! I couldn't understand what I had done to deserve that, but I was told that under the five year warranty, if the faulty item was unable to be fixed, or proved uneconomical to do so, a full new replacement was automatically given. Hooray!

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