The Dentist's final patient of the day
How do you like it? A little apprehensive, unworried or just downright petrified perhaps!
With me the juries out but has anyone considered the dentist? Let's face it there has to be a vocation there to want to spend your days staring into someone else's mouth. Taking in the cavities, gaps, fissures, pits, gingivitis, halitosis, last night's garlic or curry. On top of that are the customers clothes clean? Has it been a hot day and the guy in the chair has been working at a manual job in the baking sun? Is the elderly patient ever so slightly incontinent?
The dentist was tired and it was rather humid in the consulting room. Mrs Prendegast is his final patient of the day and, as usual, she is a little afraid and as a result defensive and that manifests itself in temper.
"I hope you're not going to be too long!" she snapped querulously.
"Just relax Mrs Prendegast," replies our frazzled professional. "Open wide please."
The dentist uses his probe to flick the remains of food from in between her teeth that he spots with his hand held mirror. He makes a comment to his nurse about preparing an injection and,
"Just one small filling down at the back Mrs Prendegast"
"Are you sure? I've had no trouble and if its going to cost. I brush, floss and use mouthwash," she falls silent as she realises the dentist isn't really listening.
The dentist holds the needle down by his side as he doesn't want the lady to faint when she sees the size of the thing. He is practised in moving it swiftly from concealment and getting it into the patient's mouth with the precision of an assassin delivering a fatal blow. The room seems to have become hotter and the heady perfume worn by the middle aged woman is making the health care expert feel decidedly queasy. He can feel beads of perspiration on his forehead and,
"Nurse can you open the window please?" he requests wearily. "And will you nip next door and mix some amalgam?"
The pretty young thing that his wife worries about, and had no need to, did as she was requested and the doctor returns to the cavernous maw that is Mrs Prendergast's mouth.
"Nice and still now and a wide yawn for me please?" he asks.
As he raises the needle to her mouth he feels a sharp debilitating pain in his chest. He freezes a moment thinking to himself that he is not old, he visits the gym periodically - is this his heart? He moves his hands away from the area of his patients face and drops the metal syringe and tries to stand up but can't straighten. The pain is spreading like a fire from a spot just below his breast bone and he grips the edge of the chair holding this lady that he should be treating. Everything stands still, there is no sound, the lights are dimming, the perspiration is soaking his body and he can't move. Then gravity begins to take over and he finds he can no longer resist its power sliding down to his knees. He is dimly aware that Mrs Prendegast has risen from the treatment chair at the side opposite to him and is vaguely relieved that she must be going to help.
"Just lie back now doctor it won't be long now," she whispers close to his ear as she cradles his head down to the floor and then she wipes the blade of the stiletto style knife on the front of the turquoise tunic that is a trademark of the profession, and pops it back into her handbag, rises and leaves the treatment room.
"Bye now," Mrs Prendegast calls to the receptionist as she passes across the reception area.
"Excuse me Mrs Prendegast," calls the girl. "Do you need a follow-up appointment?"
"Oh I don't think so dear," she smiles as she exits.