Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The dangers of self diagnosis

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the blogosphere.

This column has returned from the dead, bug-eyed and gurning, more often than Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, each time with a new improved excuse for its unremarked absence. Well, I’ve got a good one this time. You’ll like this. I’ve been laid low by a tooth infection.

Now the phrase ‘go and see a health professional’ probably appears in malehealth more often than the Vic has been torched in Eastenders. It’s ever-present. Not sure about something, don’t try to guess, ask a doc. Let me tell you, it’s bloody good advice.

A few years ago I had a problem with bleeding gums and sensitive teeth. A visit to the dentist and a special toothpaste sorted it out easily enough. So this time when I had similar symptoms and sipping tea was like someone drilling through my molars with a blunt Black and Decker, I assumed the same problem. The special tooth-paste seemed to help a little and I made no connection between this and the procession of colds and coughs I'd been enduring so stoically throughout the winter.

Then suddenly I had the sort of toothache that had me wailing like a five year old on the karaoke machine, cutting deals with God, the devil and several tumblers of whisky. I had no choice but to go to the dentist. He poked around, unleashed a river of pus and removed – or to use the technical term, whacked with a small hammer until it fell off – an old crown that fell into my lap looking like the barnacle burnished underside of a long-sunk dredger.

The result: a temporary crown, an extracted milk tooth, pain-killers and an antibiotics. The latter were about two inches wide and presumably designed for use on horses. After a week or so in which I've been higher than a helium-filled Pete Doherty, they seem to have both cleared up the infection and improved my dressage. Next step: more root canal surgery. Hmmm.

A routine visit to the dentist would have saved me a lot of pain. Health columnist, heed thyself.

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