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

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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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Health

The problem of Loneliness

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Loneliness is universally recognised as being part of the human condition. The emotion of sadness at being alone, can be felt, even when in the company of others.
People may spend hours brooding  about things that make them feel sad, angry or worried. Everyone feels lonely at times, but when transient loneliness becomes chronic, it is a problem  that may be damaging to health, leading to depression  and physical decline.
Since the start of the Pandemic, Society has experienced lockdowns, restricting freedom of movement and people have been unable to visit each other’s homes, unless in a “bubble”, a known contact deemed to be safe. This has led to social loneliness, which people with access to social media have sought to remedy with Zoom meetings,face time and Skype calls.
 
Dependent on the whims of electronic devices, people may comfort themselves with the knowledge, that their isolation will have an ending, while those experiencing emotional loneliness, may not have this, with which to look forward. They may be experiencing existential loneliness, confronting what philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre see, as the absurdity of our existence in a meaningless world. Not surprisingly, this will lead to a great deal of anxiety.
While not feeling cosmic isolation, immigrants may miss their own countries and feel themselves to be outsiders, living in a foreign culture, leading to their cultural loneliness.
Faced with so much misery, what can be done? Self care and sharing the emotional load is the advice given on websites dealing with physical and mental health. Paul McCartney in 1966 brought loneliness to public attention with his song “Eleanor Rigby” about a woman who hid her distress from others by wearing ” a face that she keeps in a jar by the door”.  In later songs, McCartney offers words of encouragement to John Lennon’s son Julian in “Hey Jude” and he remembers the advice his mother Mary gave to him, in times of trouble, to “Let It Be”.
 
In 1988, Neil Diamond expressed his existential loneliness in the song “I Am I Said”, protesting the worth of his existence in an empty and uncaring universe. While we may be less eloquent than Paul McCartney and Neil Diamond, surely sharing our negative emotions is the way forward, to bring us out of Loneliness?

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Health

Other People’s Fears – how hard is it to have empathy?

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Often the fears of others, may seem irrational and disproportionate. I once had a young work colleague, who was so fearful of needles, that he fainted, if he caught sight
of an injection, being shown on a television programme. He had no bad health experiences, as far as I know, that would trigger this reaction.
 
Fear of needles is a serious handicap if it keeps people away from having medical procedures, including going to the dentist! In the pandemic, people who are not afraid of the vaccine itself, may be deterred from receiving it, due to fear of the needle used for the injection.
 
One of the most common fears is that of spiders. Are you a Miss Muffet? Although the nursery rhyme identifies a female, who is put off her curds and whey, the fear is not confined to girls! It probably stems from the days we lived in caves, when we feared intruders, like spiders and snakes.
 
 My daughter, when she lived in a top floor flat in Hong Kong, encountered a large tree spider. Obviously it lived in the tree and decided to explore the nearby building. She disturbed it lurking at the bottom of her wardrobe!
 
 Removing it was not the job of a glass with which to cover it, as the creature was close to a large crab in size. Help from friends was summoned by using her mobile, and somehow or other, the spider was captured in a bag and set free.
 
I myself am wary of dogs I meet, when our walking. I tend not to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them a wide berth. If only dogs could be more like cats, with whom it is possible to have a few nice words and move on. Chances are that the cat will have run away first!
 
Luckily I am not scared of squirrels, or I would be in real trouble! It is impossible to go out from my house, without soon running into them, coming out of the woods and running along the footpaths and fences.
 
If you have trouble having empathy with the fears of others, such as leaving the house itself, imagine that whatever it is that you fear, is waiting for you outside the front door – Would you open it?

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Health

Allergy to cats: what is it exactly?

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Allergy to cats: what is it exactly? thumbnail

Many people claim to be allergic to cats, but the condition is a lot more complicated than that. Let’s look into it. 

 From a hypersensitivity of our immune system to an allergen, in the case of cats likely to be  fel d1 ), produced by the sebaceous glands of the cat and therefore present on skin, hair and dandruff,  in the saliva and the pee. As cats clean themselves by licking their coat, many will be found on the hair. The allergen has the particularity of being extremely persistent. In practical terms, it means it can remain in the environment for a long time and induce allergic symptoms even in the absence of close contact with the animal. 


In general, there is a genetic predisposition to become allergic. In practice, at a certain point in life, predisposed subjects,  the first time they come in contact with the allergen, will tolerate it or develop a reaction in the event of subsequent contact.  We know that those who live with cats from birth are usually more likely to maintain a good tolerance to their allergen.  

Who is allergic to cats is allergic to all cats (regardless of breed or length of hair) or just advertisement some?

Some habits can increase or decrease the spread of allergens in the environment and thus change the tolerance level. For example, keeping the rooms ventilated where a cat lives helps reduce the allergen presence while brushing the animal often contributes to increasing it because a brushed cat will often lick its coat.

It is not even possible to predict the duration or the intensity of the symptoms. It could even turn out to be a temporary or intermittent allergy and therefore occurs in certain periods and disappears in others. It all depends on the situation of the individual subjects and on the possible changes that could occur in life. In fact, there are factors capable of breaking the immunological tolerance towards an allergen.

 

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