Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Dental Activity: Here's a strange thing. I'm petrified of going to the dentist. So petrified, in fact, that not only has my dentist retired since I last visited, but I've only been able to actually vocalise the thought - in a real-life offline way - to two people. But I have a slight toothache, and I can't ignore it any longer.

My brother told me - as I suspected - that he too was scared shitless. Which is hard to imagine because he's a strapping six-footer running a sucessful northern legal practice. There's not much that scares him. In the end, my sister-in-law made an appointment for him, and told him to stop being so pathetic. That didn't stop him from hyperventilating in the chair, though.

My friend Rick told me about a practice in the North, that lead me to this website. Do I think I have dental phobia? Naaah. Am I irrationally, riduclously frightened? Sure - of pain, a "telling off" and whatever other form of contemporary torture dentists offer in these oh-so-comfortable times.

And the strange thing is; I'm prepared to say this to the x number of visitors I get here. Somehow, this is both real and unreal at the same time. It's intensely personal yet I'm prepared to make it public. In a small way it's ordering my thoughts, cathartis, and other New-Age-shit that I don't really buy. Do I think commiting my fear to the digital drama that's the web is going to make me feel better? Might. Might not.

Back to the plot. My brother may have a wife to sort this stuff for him, but they were fresh out of wives when I was last at Tescos. I realise that what's missing in my life is a wife; someone to cook, shop, book holidays, pay bills and maintain household equilibrium in a post-Friedan way.

But I digress. So I called up the north London practice listed on The receptionist sounded nice. Normal. I was shaking slightly (I know, it's mad. The rational me can't believe it). I asked about appointments and prices. (Apparently you still have to pay, even on the NHS. Clearly, I've not been to the dentist for some time). Then I tell her I got their number of the dental phobia site. Her demeanour changes instantly. Her voice morphs to that helpful-counselling voice that badly trained therapists think is empathetic.

"We can go at your pace. The dentist'll just have a chat with you, if you want. He doesn't have to do anything." I'm thinking; but I need him to do something - that's why I'm going.

"Y'know, and if it's too much, we can do either gas-and-air or a total anaesthetic. Obviously, you'll need someone to take you home." I'm thinking; I just want a check-up, first. And I'm scared, but not that scared.

She sounds kinda annoying now, but at least they have a dentist with a psychology degree, who'll understand where I'm coming from (Kilburn). I am so fucking ambivalent about touchy-feeliness in all its myriad incarnations. Part of me wants hand-holding, hugs and other stuff that starts with H. The other part thinks I should just pull myself together.

So, I've made an appointment for a check up tomorrow - Thursday - at 2pm. I'm still shaking whilst I write this. But you have to conquer your fears blah blah blah. The first step is the blah blah.

The real reason I'm writing? If there's anyone out there, who's touchy-feely inclined and is around Chalk Farm/Belsize Park tomorrow and fancies holding my hand...

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