I’ve got a vague recollection of once doing a school exam in which you had to write an essay about a visit to either the dentist or the doctor. I’ve got no idea why the teachers came up with that! Anyway, this morning, I found myself sallying forth, mask on face, along the short corridor from the reception area to the actual treatment room, with a dental nurse preceding me, carrying a plastic box in which was my handbag. It felt a bit like a Tudor processional … although, as Elizabeth I was notorious for having rotten teeth and being terrified of dentists, maybe not.
I can’t believe I’m actually writing about a visit to the dentist. I just thought it might be interesting to look back on when all this is finally over. I arrived 3/4 hour early, because I had to collect a parcel from the sorting office en route, and, despite the fact that full lockdown ended weeks ago, the sorting office is still only open from 7am to 9am, not 7am like 5pm like it’s supposed to be. Usually, if I’m early, I’d have a cup of tea at Morrisons, which is opposite the surgery … but that would have meant giving my details for track and trace, so that was a no-go. However, the Italian café next door had outdoor seating. Hooray! This is how things are at the moment. I know that a lot of cafes with no outdoor seating are struggling, but I can’t risk being caught by a track and trace thing when I’m due to go away for a week in August.
I then arrived at the surgery, and rang on the bell. I wasn’t allowed in. I was told that I’d have to wait until a dental nurse, wearing a visor, came to escort me in. Ten minutes later, I was still stood there like piffy on a rock bun, getting rather annoyed. But then a nurse came to let me in. Hooray.
You normally complete your medical forms when you get there. However, this time, they’d been sent to me via a text message link. I’d managed to complete them OK, but filling in medical forms on a mobile phone screen isn’t particularly easy, and the next person to arrive had accidentally pressed the wrong thing and put that she’d got symptoms of the virus! A whole to-do ensued as they worked out how to let her get access to the forms again so that she could change them.
And the handbag thing. It was a warm day today, so I wasn’t wearing a coat, but my dad went last week, on a wet day, and his coat had to follow the same procedure that my handbag did! Incidentally, they had to let me get my handbag out of the box at the end, so that I could a) get my purse out to pay and b) get my diary out to make my next appointment.
I’m not being sarcastic. I do understand that the virus spreads very easily, and that dental treatment’s particularly risky because it’s face to face. But, six months ago, if you’d told me that, at my next dental check-up (I was due to go at the beginning of April, but that obviously had to be cancelled) would involve my handbag being ceremoniously carried along the corridor in a plastic box, whilst I followed on behind it in a face mask, I’d have asked how much you’d had to drink. This is life in 2020. Did we ever think we’d come to this?!