This morning, in the middle of showering, I thought about my washing routine. Don’t know why. I just thought about the steps I go through to wash myself.

It was a mistake. I sub consciously wash the same way every day. Now giving it conscious thought I was befuddled. I re-washed parts that were clean. I double handled areas that – to be honest – I didn’t mind double handling. But it was all out of sync. It was wrong.

I’ve been washing the same way for over 40 years and today I took it for granted.

A bit like my teeth.

It’s my 45th birthday today. I made it. My bottom right molar didn’t. It cracked 11 days ago.

That molar was in active service for around 41 years. I should have shown it more respect. It was capped 4 years ago and I never had it crowned. I know I know. No one else to blame.

A complete mid splitting of the molar, directly under the gum line was words the dentist never used. But that’s what it was.

I found a dentist that uses nitrous oxide and two days later I was staring up at the masked face of my practitioner.

“ooh it’s a bad one” I hear. “she’ll have to come out”.

“Turn up the gas to 100” I said as I gripped the dental chair

I sucked that nitrous down so hard they thought the machine was broken. They brought in a technician to double check

“what a pair of lungs this guy has”

“I used to be a swimmer” I say,  “I suck hard”

I started giggling at how that sounded. Then giggled again at how much I was giggling. This was good shit.

“he’s ready” these masked butchers (as they now looked to me), peered down

What should have been a 30 minute procedure took over 2 hours. My dentist had to call for backup.

“I’m just going to call someone else in here to take a look” she says sweat pouring off her brow. 20mins of yanking and twisting and snapping had taken its toll.

I giggle. And suck back furiously on that nitrous.

The next dentist comes in. A male. He’s a big guy. He’s not interested in messing around. It’s home time and he wants to get out of here.

He puts one foot on my chest for leverage and with two hands uses these massive pliers to grip the stub of my already disintegrating tooth. He yanks and twists.

If you’re still reading, then yes, it was as horrific as it sounded.

My back is arched. I’m so tense I look like I’ve been tasered. I’m hallucinating and dropping in and out of a weird dream like state. I’m gasping and groaning.

“Are you in pain? Are you in pain?” he pauses looking concerned.


“then relax”. He says.

Easy for you to say. Dick.

We are 90mins into this procedure. And they still don’t have the roots out.

“I’m going to go in deep” I hear him saying to the other dentist.

To which I replied;

“you’ll have to buy me dinner first” and giggled at how funny I am being.

He couldn’t understand me so he stopped drilling through my jaw bone and asked me to repeat. I did. And giggled some more.

They turned the gas down.

These 2 hours passed quickly. It was so uncomfortable but the nitrous helped a treat.

I finished the procedure in a pool of sweat, shaking from the effects of the nitrous and I stumbled home.

The next 8 days were filled with tramadol and various other heavy duty pain killers. I came down off these drugs like Renton from the bed scene in Trainspotting. I was spasming and twitching and restless and sweating and wanting to take more pain killers to stop me twitching and sweating. It was full on.

My kids just wanted to keep touching my face and see the hole.

And then on the 11th day. It was – is – my birthday

What a lead up. Happy birthday to me.

I’m grieving for the loss of my tooth. I suck on a tictac whenever I feel down, place it in my now gaping hole, and look in the mirror at what once was.

It’s reminded me that I’m not invincible. And while, in the scheme of things, it’s minor, I need to look after my 45 year old body.

I’m now closer to 50 than 40. That sucks. But that’s life. And if I want to see 50 I need to show my body more respect that I did my tooth.

But first I’m off out on a 3 day birthday bender.

I’ll make some changes after that!