We put our faith in dentists and car mechanics

I had toothache on and off for weeks. Well, it was more earache than toothache, and some days it was fine, others it wasn’t. The dentist said he couldn’t see anything wrong and I felt better, because I thought, y’know, there was nothing wrong.
Then it got suddenly worse. I was waking in the night and counting down the minutes until my next clutch of painkillers. I got an appointment with my GP, which was marginally easier than getting one with my dentist.
She said it wasn’t an ear infection and sent me back to the dentist. He said again he couldn’t really see anything but that it was probably an abscess in my gum and he gave me lovely cure-all penicillin.
I felt better because, y’know, he told me what was wrong and gave me medicine.

root canal work

Oh gods, I can’t even bear to look at this

It got worse.
It was agony. I had to stop drinking whisky AND vodka because that was even worse than agony.
I went back to the dentist who sort of shrugged and suggested root canal work. I have never had root canal work, but figured nothing could be worse than the pain I was in right then.
Yeah, right. That was a lesson. I would have sold my soul to the devil – or the Tories – to make him stop when he pulled out the nerve, millimetre by vicious millimetre.
And now the toothache has gone.

Meanwhile… the car started beeping and saying there was a battery fault, but it kept going so we cleverly ignored it. Then it broke down in dramatic style on the motorway at 5am while my partner was on the way to work. He had to get towed home with no lights.
The garage called later to say there was nothing wrong – they had looked, it had started when they turned the key, the battery and all the engine stuff was fine, so did we want to come and get it.

an alternator

This is an alternator thingie. It is worth its weight in GOLD

He said no, and asked them to please do something or we would never drive it again. They said they’d give changing the alternator a go, at massive cost.
They rang the next day to say once they had taken the old alternator off they found a corroded wire and a dodgy thingie. So that was the problem after all, and now it was totally fixed.
I drove it today. It beeped once, damnit, but then was fine.

The thing I am getting at is the thing in-between – the bit where the experts shrug their shoulders and tell you there is nothing wrong – when you know damn well there is.
But I never went to dental school, and I’ll never be a mechanic, so what the hell are you supposed to do here? I suddenly felt totally at sea.
If the experts can’t fix it them you are on your own, mate. You are vulnerable and abandoned and out in the cold.
We know so little about stuff, and there is so much stuff to know about, anyone who is an expert in anything becomes a surrogate parent – they are the ones who can fix the boiler and its ‘intermittent fault’, or sort out your four-way-shunt insurance claim. And when they can’t – even when you are chucking money at them – you suddenly feel very bewildered in a very big, very over-complicated world.
We need less stuff, and the stuff we have needs less to go wrong with it.
Don’t know how this would work for teeth, but it fits for everything else.

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One thought on “We put our faith in dentists and car mechanics

  1. Teeth irreplaceable, car batteries 10 a penny, but I get your point!

    Like

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