Let It All Come Down

“When you wake, there’s a new day dawning
When you wake, there’s a cold wind blowing
When day breaks, there’s a light shines through”

  • Burchill/ MacNeil/ Kerr/ Giblin

There are two upside down faces staring intently at me, as I lie flat on my back. They are both wearing masks and speaking in gentle concerned tones. He looks to be intensely focused on me, she is bored.

“Let me know if this hurts at anytime , OK ?”

“It hurts.”

“I haven’t started.”

“Just checking that you’re listening.”

“Very good” he says. I don’t think he means it, and that somehow humour has no place here.

The upside down eyes focus on me again. They begin. I silently say an Act Of Contrition, it’s an involuntary reflex to any anxious situation. I find it comforting somehow.

They are talking. I can’t make out what they’re saying. I look at their eyes, the window to their souls.

He is thinking about tyres for his car.

She is thinking ‘I bet he’s thinking about those damn tyres again.’

The high pitched whine of the drill starts.

I say another Act Of Contrition…I don’t have that many sins…but you can’t be too careful in these situations.

Many years ago I had to go to a dentist in Naas to have a wisdom tooth removed. He explained in far too much detail what he was going to do. In an ideal world, he hoped that he could get a good grip under the tripod root of the tooth and wedge it out in one go. This would involve leverage, some strength, and a tool I had last seen someone use to pick dirt out of a horse shoe…which was still attached to the horse.

He began. There was some huffing and puffing and I distinctly recall either his elbow , or his knee pressing on my chest. Something gave, he fell back ,and then  said something you never want to hear a dentist say…”Ahh fuck!”

He showed me half a wisdom tooth, and then he said to his assistant the other thing you never want to hear your dentist say …“Cancel my 4 o’clock.”

“All done.”  

I snapped back to my current reality. The upside down eyes were smiling and I could feel myself becoming upright.

“There’s a rinse there and a fresh tissue.”

I took a mouthful of the pinky spearmint mouthwash and spat half of it in the little drainy thing, and drooled the other half over myself. I tried to say sorry , it came out as slurry. I nodded in reply to any further questions or pleasantries.

As I write this , three hours later, my upper lip , on the left, and a small area of the surrounding cheek are still slightly numb and rubbery. I’m at the point where I feel as if that side of my face has melted and look away when anyone comes near as if I’m the Phantom Of The Opera. But of course my face looks normal to everyone else.

My patient, kind and ever so loving Soulmate has been asking me for a week or two if I’m OK and I’ve wondered in turn if she’s OK , because I’m definitely OK…I’ve never been OK-er. It wasn’t until a great friend messaged me after ParkRun on Saturday to ask if I’m OK, as she thought I was a bit down. I replied saying that my Soulmate had been asking the same thing and that I can only put it down to finally adjusting to my new normal.

My friend said that this was to be expected after the operation and everything, you think that it’s all behind you, but you’re sort of on your own now , your routine of hospitals, blood tests, and general care is over and you’re adjusting.

This particular friend and I have argued black was white with each other, openly in company , and everywhere, even climbing Cuilcagh on one occasion we argued the whole way up , and most of the way down. So it’s hard to admit that she’s right, and also to acknowledge that she’s an incredibly generous soul who messaged me every second day or so since March to make sure I was OK. I love her to bits. I say this without fear of embarrassment…as she doesn’t follow any social media, or read this blog.

Another friend treated me to a treatment on Tuesday and I felt such a sensation of calm that I’d love to have bottled it.

My main worry this week has been trying to sort accommodation for our youngest as he starts his college life in Maynooth. And I’d also busied myself making a present for my Dad , who turns 80 tomorrow. I’d come up with the brilliant idea of drawing a little picture or icon of something that happened on September 9th for each year since he’s been born. It took me a whole day to get as far as 1958… which, before you ask, was the day Jack Kilby made the first integrated circuit, which was a bugger to draw…and also before you find it necessary to point out that that was actually on the 12th September,  I must explain that if I’d stuck strictly to events on September 9th Dad’s present would simply be a collage of earthquakes and plane crashes.

And then it hit me. My concerns today were going to see the dentist, finishing Dad’s present, and college accommodation. Normal concerns, non-life altering.

My patient, kind and very loving Soulmate asked me just now what had happened today as I seem to be back to my old self. The answer was nothing and everything. My life is returning to a slightly adjusted normal, and I loved my old life, and I know that this one will be similar, but with an extra dollop of appreciation.

Two dollops.



P.S. The song quoted at the start is Simple Minds ‘Let It All Come Down’ which I used to cry to as I listened to it on Micky McCormick’s Sony Walkman on the bus back from Galway on a Sunday evening after visiting my Soulmate when we truly were kids.

It sounded even sadder when the bus passed Longford and the batteries started to give out.

But now when I listen to it, I get a feeling of comfort and I find it uplifting. Hope you do too.

P.P.S I now have the album ‘Street Fighting Years’ playing in the background as I finish Dad’s present and the hairs are standing on the back of my neck , and I’m in heaven.

Author: paul

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