I was not relishing the prospect. Age has made my mouth sensitive and I’ve always hated all that machinery they use, the drills, the suction tubes – all that hissing and sucking, ugh. But it has been drummed into me, look after your teeth, so I do. At least I try. Thought apparently I’ve been trying too hard. Brushing them too often. We advise just twice a day, said the diminutive, rather fluffy-haired hygienist, (he told me used to be in the RAF). He was very affable, pre-disposed to chat and dispense wisdom with the same enthusiasm that he dispensed toothpaste. A South-Walian he kept saying ‘tuth’ rather that ‘tooth’ and talked of plaque as being like cottage cheese. He asked me if I’d been a smoker. No, I said, between the water spraying and the sucking. We then got onto alcohol and then, Lord know ‘s why, Coca Cola. Dreadful stuff, he said. And I mumbled agreement. I use it, he said, the cheap stuff, you know, I buy the 2 litre bottle, to clean my loo. It’s great. We, well, he, then moved on to Strongbow. Terrible, he said, two pints of Strongbow and I’m ready to fight the town. A gentle man. He didn’t hurt me. A teddy bear really.

He’s home. He came home last night. They won’t operate, his artery is too narrow. I don’t know how he feels about it really. They sent him home with aspirins to dissolve to thin the blood further. Aren’t we all, to some extent, living with the prospect of our imminent death? He is philosophical, I think. It’s odd to have him home. And I fuss too much. I have got used to my undisputed sovereignty over our home. Things will get back to some kind of normality soon, at least¬†until the next hoo-hah. ¬†

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.