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Saturday, July 23, 2011

In my efforts to find a silver lining yesterday, I overlooked the obvious cloud. When Lisa was pregnant, she was entitled to free NHS dental care. Now that she isn't, she's not. A week ago, Lisa's dentist asked us to pin our hopes on a free NHS denture. This time she just asked for my PIN.

But despite handing over £550 of my hard-earned cash, it was Lisa who walked out of the practice in tears. The denture was supposed to be a short-term measure while we looked into the possibility of more permanent implants, but having examined her yesterday, the dentist said it would be at least a year before she could even tell us if implants would be possible. Apparently Lisa's facial bone and remaining front tooth need time to heal after the accident, and doing major work now would not only be unsuccessful, but could cause more damage. Her other front tooth, although visibly fine, was knocked in the fall, and it could be a year before we know if it's recovered.

So the 'short-term denture' will actually have to last for "a year or two". The dentist broke the news, and the news broke Lisa's heart. On the plus side, however, the dentist was pleased with how well Lisa's gums have healed in the past week, and was far more confident that a denture would fit comfortably. An NHS appliance for a non-pregnant Lisa would have cost us £204. The smaller, softer and more comfortable private version was £550. For something she might end up wearing for two years, it seemed like a no-brainer. We go back in two weeks for a fitting.

Having deposited a tearful Lisa back to her Mum's, I then returned to work for an hour at the end of the afternoon. It seemed like a slightly pointless exercise, as by the time I'd logged on to a computer, settled myself down, and started work, it was almost time to go home. But with ten minutes of the working week left, I clicked onto a random patient from Wednesday, examined their photos, and found a person who'd gone from background changes last year to sight-threatening proliferative retinopathy this year. Ten minutes later, I'd set up an urgent referral to the eye hospital. I might not be able to fix Lisa's teeth in a fortnight, but I can save a stranger's sight in ten minutes.


Z said...

I don't know what to say, Phil.  Love to you all.

Phil's Mum said...

Congratulations on your miracle-working for strangers anyway.

Dave said...

I wish I could say something positive.

Daisy said...

Love and Hugs to you all.