That’s not an aubergine, Jerry

I find it very difficult to try and sum up the last week. On Tuesday I bravely go to the dentist. Why bravely? I hear you cry. I haven’t been to a dentist since BC (before cancer) as it is strictly forbidden when undergoing treatment. Just before diagnosis, a tooth broke but did not cause any pain. My last dentist was a also a pushy sales person, always asking me if I wanted to have my teeth whitened or new braces. They also do botox treatments in the surgery and I do not feel comfortable there. It is difficult finding a new dentist, though. I plough through details online and eventually find one which is not too far away and which has a consistent history of good reviews. This sounds good! I arrive bang on time and the receptionist is very friendly, giving me the forms I have to fill in to register. The dentist herself is lovely. She treats me as an intelligent human being and sits me down in the chair while her assistant (I’m sure there is a technical term – maybe dental nurse?) puts an oversize pair of glasses over my glasses. I am glad there are no mirrors as I am sure I look demented. The dentist asks me about my health and spots the telltale sleeve and glove and knows exactly what it is about which reassures me. She understands something of what has happened to me and is not going to try and pump me full of botox. She checks my teeth doing what my first dentist used to do – shouting out and numbering each tooth for the record, noting any that are missing and the condition of each. It is very soothing. She then takes a couple of x-rays which I don’t even have to move from the chair for. She puts her hand on my shoulder and tells me to just relax. The x-rays come back and she asks me to come and look for myself while she explains what she would like to do. She does not suggest I have my teeth whitened nor carry out treatment without telling me what she is doing. She also tells me I have very good oral hygiene which I am pleased about. She is going to cover the broken tooth as it is not causing me any pain so I have to go back to have an impression taken. This is probably the worst part of dentistry for me. I always think the tray will get stuck in my mouth and it also makes me feel quite panicky to have this massive thing stuck to my teeth. I am not looking forward to it.

We also had, of course, the hospitalisation of Mr Mason Snr and the venturing out of Mrs Mason Snr. I am happy to report that they are both doing well. We are not sure what the cause of the collapse was but everyone seems to have recovered from their individual ordeals and this has also allowed us to re-open the discussions on moving. We want the Masons Snr to live close to us or in an annexe and will be looking for a suitable house in the spring. We will be moving out of London to a much more rural area and anticipate finding a house with a cottage in the garden or finding the Snrs a bungalow nearby. Mrs Mason Snr has been very much opposed to this in the past but the events of last week have gone some way to convincing her that this would be a good idea as we would be on hand to help if anything happens. The fear generated by this kind of incident is immense. Mrs Mason Snr clearly thought her husband was dying and I can only imagine the terror that induced. No wonder she felt confused and upset. I plan to continue the gentle pressure to encourage them to live near us.

Over the weekend I feel very tired and headachey. It’s the consequence of the couple of days before. Just as we are starting to get some equilibrium back, we hear the most terrible news. One of our very good friends has died. This is totally unexpected and after 40 or so years of friendship, the most dreadful blow. It has a very sobering effect on our Sunday evening as we sit and reflect on times we were together and when we last met. I think the last time we were all together was at the local Thai restaurant. Jerry asks me what I think a particular vegetable on his plate is. I say I think it is a very small aubergine and that he can eat it. He eats it. It is not a very small aubergine. It is a very hot chilli. This I did not know. He goes very red in the face and starts sweating. For about 15 minutes he staggers around the bar, drinking copious amounts of water brought by the Thai staff who laugh uproariously amongst themselves (“He eat chilli!”) and mops his face with lots of napkins. It is actually a good memory and makes us laugh. We still have great difficulty in processing what has happened. My sleep is very poor and I constantly wake, tossing and turning. It is the suddenness which is so shocking. And his young age. And the bitter unfairness of it. And his lovely widow who was an absolute rock throughout my treatment last year. Death is so indiscriminate. And we mourn the loss of our fabulous friend. If there is a Heaven, maybe he will meet Lou Reed there who dies on the same day. RIP Jerry. You will be very much missed.

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