Despite the free market spirit that pervades the Irish economy, there seem restrictions on the sale of medications. Things like anti-histamines and painkillers that are readily available in English supermarkets are absent from the shelves of their Irish counterparts. Presumably the influence of the Irish pharmaceutical lobby is such that the sort of medications authorised for general sale in England are not allowed to be trusted to ordinary people in Ireland, which is a pity.
It is a pity because a back tooth that has been steadily deteriorating is now causing pain that runs from my ear to my chin.
Of course, I should have done something about it months ago.
I should have done something about it when I was living in England and had access to the services of the NHS, instead of the practitioners in Dublin who seem to think of a number and then double it.
I should have gone to a dentist when I became aware in the spring that I had lost a substantial filling, its absence leaving a large cavity and sharp edges on the tooth that remained.
I should have gone to the dentist when the first twinges of discomfort began to be felt, suspecting that the persistent pain was a signal that something was wrong and not something that would go away by itself if I left it alone.
I realize that most people have a fear of the dentist and wonder if that is because most dentists unwittingly contribute to that fear.
“This won’t hurt,” and of course it does. If it wasn’t going to hurt, why would they have mentioned it?
“How are you keeping?” they ask, and you respond, “Eh ehhhhhh ehhh, ehhhhh.” Despite the fact that if you were keeping fine you would not be sat in this chair, and you would not be prevented from making anything other than vowel sounds, (and the odd guttural consonant), by the various pieces of metal apparatus protuding from your mouth.
Perhaps there are fears that are individual, and unique to a person.
At the age of eight or nine, I was examined by the school dentist, the arrival of whose cream-coloured caravan mobile surgery in the school field was always a cause of trepidation.
The examination prompted him to make various comments to his assistant and I received a letter that I should attend a dental surgery in Yeovil to have teeth removed. I can still clearly recall a black mask being put over my nose and mouth and a horrible drowsiness descending as the gas took effect. Afterwards, I vomited repeatedly. The experience was one I never wished to repeat.
So I must find a dentist, but, more importantly, when the pharmacy at the end of the road opens at 9 am, I must find some Nurofen.