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My dental history can be summed up in one word – Expensive!



My dental history can be summed up in one word – Expensive! This is largely due to the cost of NHS treatment, and not to the dizzy heights of the cost of private dentistry.  My teeth have mainly sadly gone beyond the choice of fillings as an option, so it is a straight choice between crowns, bridges, or extractions. I have not yet progressed to dentures. (This can happen when the root of a tooth is too weak to support a crown, which can happen with advanced age. My neighbour aged eighty-nine years old found herself in this position, with regard to a lower front tooth. She was presented with a single denture , which had to be removed at night. She found this too tight and difficult to handle and the tooth is now left unworn in a drawer. So that was £269.30 down the dental plughole ). 
Back to me – about fifteen years ago, local dentists, within walking distance of my home, decided to leave the NHS altogether, so this necessitated my travel to a dentist, which became an added cost. The removal of my name from an NHS list for this reason, happened twice. The second dentist did say that I could stay on as a private patient, at the rate of £200 per hour.  This would include the cost of all materials used for making crowns etc. He figured that the amount of work I had done would make it a good deal for me!  I declined. After some feverish searching through Yellow Pages, I managed to get accepted as an NHS patient at a Health Centre, which I have attended ever since. 
My early painful experiences with dentists started in childhood, when the pain was not financial. On one occasion I’m sorry to say (not sorry) I bit my dentist! “If you hurt me, I’ll hurt you” I remember saying to him, which at the time seemed reasonable. He did not take it well, rushing off to wash the wound, which was bleeding, as if I had been a rabid dog. I wonder if tetanus injections were available in the nineteen fifties, because if they were, I’m sure he would have arranged to get one.  I don’t know if it was general practise at that time, but my dentist seemed set on cramming my small mouth, with the contents of his dental tray, including a rubber bung to keep my jaws open! These days I’m relieved to say, that dentists trust their patients to keep their mouths open during treatment, without the use of forcible devices. 
Happily, my relationships with dentists improved over time, with no further incidents of assault.  Just as well, as the amount of drilling on my teeth, has been on an industrial scale. I have learnt to relax for long sessions in the dental chair and have no fear of needles, required for injections. However, I would advise you to remind your dentist to use numbing spray before injecting the gums over front teeth, or your eyes will water!
My current dentist makes a point of showing me the X rays on my teeth requiring treatment, without which I would have no idea what he is forced to put up with.  On one particularly gruesome occasion I found myself saying “I’m so sorry”, but I guess he is used to the sight of dental decay. I wonder if a dentist sees patients , primarily as walking jawbones,  mentally evaluating them according to their usual treatment bands?
On one occasion I swallowed a temporary crown in place on a back tooth. It was made of a soft material, which slipped down my throat, before I could stop it.  I retrieved a small portion to show to my dentist, who said somewhat reproachfully “You swallowed it”  Despite this little hiccup, things have gone smoothly ever since.
Here is what you can expect to be charged if you visit an NHS dentist after 1 July 2019. These are guidelines only and charges are periodically adjusted.
In England
Band 1: £22.70 Covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X rays, a scale and polish and planning for further treatment
Band 2: £62.10 Covers all treatment included in Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth   (extractions)
Band 3: £269.30 Covers all treatment included in Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges
These are the charges in England.
 In Wales, charges are quite a bit less.  Band 1 charge is £14:30. Band 2 charge is £46. Band 3 charge is £199.10 

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Herbal Medicine

How the ancient Egyptians used medical plants



Of all the ancient civilizations, the Egyptian one was definitely the first of which we have a good knowledge of how they used herbs and plants for medicinal reasons. Sure, everything we know is a bit vague, but we have some ideas.

The first Egyptian physician we know was called Imhotep and worked for the pharaohs of the third dynasty, around 3000 years BC. We also know about him that he was an astrologer and had the ability to cure many diseases.

Obviously our knowledge is partly based on legends, anyone who was able to cure diseases was considered a magician and therefore seen as if an almost divine character, a magician and for his healing powers. But in general in Egyptian civilization, medicine and religion went hand in hand. So it wasn’t just the medicines that healed but the gods through medicines.

The concept of active ingredients, chemistry and pharmacology are modern concepts that were not found in Egyptian medicine. Another aspect of Egyptian culture that developed knowledge of the properties of herbs and plants was mummification. In fact, many substances that we use even now were used to mummify and perfume.

The interesting thing is the use of certain plants or natural remedies such as frankincense or myrrh (which would be the resins of plants and therefore require a little processing) which are still used today. They certainly used different essential oils such as peppermint, camphor and others that we also use.

Frescos have been found in Egyptian times showing the production and use of essential oils. Of course, even in this case everything was very much linked to religion.

Another thing we know for sure because papyri have been found, such as Ebers’s, which list the medicines that were recommended to a patient, were basically the ancestors of our medical prescriptions. Obviously not all medicines were plants, the Egyptians also used minerals as medicine but the majority were undoubtedly of vegetable origin.

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A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Ice cream



It has been cold , rainy , miserable and days since I have seen a human being in person. I think for the sake of my sanity I need to pop to the shop and buy ice cream. I will get essentials at the same time of course but right now all I can imagine is ice cream. The problem is I don’t keep much in the house anymore, gone are the days visitors would arrive and I’d frantically whip up some scones or brownies. Gone the days Andy would say I fancy a brew , do we have any cake and Id say so what do you fancy and if there was nothing in the tin I’d make him something quickly. 

I don’t do sweet stuff, but just occasionally the human body seems to crave things and science proves this is to do with the state of our emotions. 

So donning clothes suitable to be seen  in public I tug a brush through my hair and decide not to check a mirror in case I decide it’s too much work before I can leave the house. 

Smugly remembering to pick up a shopping bag – seriously I have  a retirement fund’s worth of bags under the sink but I regularly forget to take them – I grab a couple of dog treats to throw for my babies and yell ‘’ bye! See you in a while, be good! ‘’ and head for the car. 

I start my usual routine, bag, check, purse, check, keys, check mask… bloody hell. I dig in my bottomless handbag and pull out a mask that really needs a wash. Ok…that’s not good, i am sure I have some disposable ones in the glove box. No… they are now strewn on the floor in the back from when I entertained my grandchildren while my daughter shopped the other day. They are now drawn on, ripped into animal shapes and screwed up to be pretend birthday presents. 

Ok…do I go back into the house and upset the dogs or try something else first, I’m starting to go off the idea of going out but I really do need milk ,bread and just to see another human so I dig in the boot. Yay! I found one. It’s damp and smells a bit like mildew because its been under a bottle of screen-wash but it will do. ok…I can leave at last. 

Eventually masked up, trolley sanitised and a pound coin found in the depths of my purse I wander into the shop. I weave my way through the few people in the aisles, its odd to think this time last year we thought nothing of slipping past people or bending past them to grab things, now we are shuffling like wary crabs to keep distance and as I allow people past or they stand aside ,  I smile forgetting they cant see my mouth so think I’m probably just staring manically.

I grab the things I need and decide that will be enough, I’m not enjoying being in public, it feels weird and uncomfortable somehow and I am not sure if it is because of the situation we are all in or I am just becoming very antisocial and uneasy, I make my way to the ice cream and look at the array on offer, All I want is pistachio but as I have never found it for sale anywhere I will have to make do with honeycomb. 

Food bought and back in the car, home and unload. I’m so relieved to be back. I can’t imagine why I had been so desperate to get out in the first place.  I grab a spoon and sit with the tub of ice cream and cuddle up with the dogs on the sofa. I turn on some music and can feel myself actually calm down . The sweet frozen yumminess is like a burst of sunshine and a jolt of something akin to actual pleasure goes through me.

This is why I am the size of a whale, I seek comfort in food. Food has probably always been akin to happiness to a certain extent  for me but now I can accept it is what I am turning to for that quick fix, food you can replace easily, You can have without feeling guilty,( unless you are dieting but that’s a problem we won’t go into at this point) and it doesn’t die on you…

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A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Knickers



I think as I drive. Far more than I should and since I have been alone one of my main thoughts as I drive into town is that if I was to just veer into that tree for any reason I wouldn’t have to keep doing ‘this’ whatever ‘this; is. Now I am NOT suicidal or about to do anything silly so please don’t imagine I’m about to ! It just seems to be a thought that is compelling but very scary at the same time. I’d never do anything to cause my children and family pain and apart from that I have my dogs to get back to but still common sense doesn’t seem to come into my brain any more. 

I digress…  so today I was driving along the country roads and as usual I imagine the car hitting a patch of ice, a deer running out and I have to veer, the wheel suddenly flying off, a plane hurtling out of the sky towards me and I have to swerve…you get the picture Im sure and then I think, but  what if I survive! I will be taken to hospital and they will have to divest me of clothing and …OMG! I have recently not been mindful of one piece of advice I think we all need to follow, wear decent undies in case you get run over by a bus. My care when dressing has been woeful, I’m not even sure I get dressed some days unless I have to go to the shop which is itself quite rare but worse..

I need new knickers. The ones lurking in my drawers are well past their best and my ‘best ones’ are now my everyday ones. Now please do not think my best knickers are little wisps of silky lace…oh no. I’m not the size or shape for that sort of frippery! I look in admiration at the images of beautiful pert bums partially swayed in gorgeous items of lingerie and then scroll past to granny knickers. My folds of flab need some serious swathing and nothing less than something akin to a sail will do. I was brought up to believe that comfy knickers are the way to cope with life.You can’t concentrate and work well if things are not ‘sitting pretty’. Unfortunately in my case comfy knickers means apple gatherers or as Mum would have said ’harvest festival knickers’ all is safely gathered in! 

I spent the rest of the journey driving  more carefully and with caution as I contemplated the horror of arriving at A and E , horrific injuries ignored as the staff look at each other in horror and whisper about the state of my undies. 

Finally home I waste no time in logging in to my usual clothing sites, and view the offerings with a heavy  heart. I really want to see things in person  as I’ve made many mistakes buying knickers that are just not ‘right’ but with  the way the world is I will make an online purchase and hope for the best.

I look at lingerie , I scan sensible, I peruse pretty and eventually I decide, what the hell…I’ll order a few pairs of ‘nice’ but decently serviceable  and a stupidly priced ( ok there is enough silk here to have keep an entire silkworm factory in business for a year) pair of silky sexy decadent knickers that I will never wear because there won’t be a situation I need such beautiful undies for . But I will know they are there and I make sure my daughters know that should I ever be in a car crash please please make sure you go to my house find the perfect pants and wrestle me into them even if I have a broken spine before the casualty staff are allowed to examine me!

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