It is like an opening scene from the TV series Criminal Minds. The alleyway is dark shadowy and narrow and I am expecting a serial killer to emerge from the dusk and bludgeon us to death. We are about to leave the gloom of the passageway when—I trip on the pavement falling straight splat flat on my face. I am stunned by the impact but I ease up, prising myself away from the deepening pool of blood on the concrete slab. Andrew fusses and finds a good quality paper napkin he has left over in his pocket from lunch. I hold it against my mouth and it reddens. He helps me up and over to a low wall where a cat with a pretty face looks up at me as if in sympathy.
I am in Guys Emergency Department and I see this man with a wrench. ‘Oh dear’ is my first thought when he turns and smiles and says in jest “You’re next”
I am in the doctor’s surgery where my GP urges me to attend an Emergency dentist within the next two hours “It will be quicker to call 111! You must be seen TODAY!”
The voice at the end of the 111 helpline informs me of two local Emergency dentists. I drop by in person to the closest one as it is only downstairs below where I live! Great! (I am now thinking I only have two hours to live) It couldn’t be closer!
There is no one behind reception. I sit down and call the number. A ringing tone sounds from behind the desk. I wait in the empty reception. I call the number again. The phone rings behind the desk. A cleaner comes out of a surgery door and tells me “No dentist is in today”
I phone the second number on my list. It is a surgery in Old Street. The receptionist there at least answers the phone. I mumble and splutter my plight through swollen lips. She replies “The first Emergency appointment available is in six months”
‘Six months! For an emergency dentist? Can this be right?!’
The NHS appears to be struggling.
I glance at the man with the wrench and he smiles at me again. This time though… he is starting to look sinister…
I received excellent treatment from Guys emergency and prescribed antibiotics. The next day I also received treatment from Kings Dental Hospital. My thanks to the wonderful dentists. My gratitude for the NHS knows no bounds for its care.
The swelling and infection that caused my GP such concern (my upper lip resembling Madge Simpson’s—all I needed was yellow paint to make me a perfect lookalike!) has gone down and I am almost back to normal.
Do I hear an eyebrow raise?