Why I'm Tearing My Hair Out About The Gap In Your Teeth!

Posted at 02:04am on 20th January 2009

Talk about early signs of senile dementia! If I’m not already a victim, I’m sure I soon shall be. I Twittered (or should it be Tweeted?) only a couple of days ago about how sad it was seeing my father so upset about being left behind (with a Carer) while my mother (his usual Carer) was booked for some much-needed respite. She was flying to Spain with a female companion, to join my sister and brother-in-law on a bridge holiday. My other half and I – being the ones who live closest and, therefore, the most involved – had left all the arrangements to them. Big mistake?

Well – yes and no! We went down to help with the packing on Saturday. With a two-hour journey, storm-force winds forecast and a dinner engagement in the evening we had limited time. On our arrival, my mother looked ghastly. A tearful and whispered conversation in the dining room revealed that there had been a shouting match earlier. Understandably, my Dad didn’t want her to go.

THE GAP IN YOUR TEETH

You have to laugh about these things or you’d cry! When we’d packed, and weighed the suitcase, we returned to my father. One of those conversations ensued that you can’t believe exists outside of a Harry Worth programme on TV. It was conducted at full volume because Daddy is deaf.

Mother to me: “I had to take your father to the dentist to have his tooth seen to.”
Me: “The one that broke at Christmas?”
Mother: “That’s right. I dropped him off, told him to wait for me, and went to park the car. I had one or two things to buy, but when I got back to the dentist, he was still waiting. The receptionist told me we were an hour early.”
Me: “That’s a shame.”
Mother: “Yes. Because when I went to the surgery to have my blood pressure checked, they told me I was an hour late.”
My Beloved, stating the obvious: “You must have put the wrong time on the calendar for each appointment.”
Mother, agreeing: “Yes. But do you know I was charged £125 just for your father’s tooth to be filed down?”
Explosion from Beloved and me.
Beloved: “Filed down? Didn’t they take it out?”
Mother: “It isn’t there. So they couldn’t take it out.”
Me: “Has he got a gap then?”
Mother, rising from chair to stand in front of Father. “Have you got a gap, dear? Open your mouth.”
Father’s mouth is zipped.
Mother: “Open your mouth.”
Father: “Belt up!”
Me, knowing this aggression is one of the symptoms of dementia, and attempting conciliation at the top of my voice: “She only wants to know if you’ve got a gap in your teeth, Daddy.”
Father: “A gat?”
Me: “A gap!”
Father: “A hat?”
Mother, crossly: “He’s lost his hearing aid.”
Father, agitated: “Tell me. Tell me what you’re saying.”
Mother: “A gap.”
Father: “I don’t know what you’re saying. Spell it.”
Me: “G-A-P.”
Father: “G-A-D?”

That was Saturday.

TEARING YOUR HAIR OUT

You see, now, why I felt like tearing my hair out! But there was worse to come. My sister’s flight, on Sunday, was from the North of England. My mother was flying from a different airport a hundred and fifty miles from her home and, just an hour before her flight was due to leave, a phone call from the check-in staff informed me that her passport was out of date.

I felt like bursting into tears. Months of planning and anticipation had gone into this venture. Without the holiday, I knew my mother would go under. Besides, we’d checked her tickets, insurance, and booking details, and expressly asked her if her passport was up to date. How could she not have known?

There was nothing for it but to get her home. Umpteen phone calls later and nearly £300 poorer, she returned by taxi to my father. I’m not sure that he remembered she’d gone, but from the sound of things on the phone, he was having a whale of a time being fussed over and spoiled by his Carer.

That was Sunday gone.

All my Monday appointments cancelled, the current passport located in a locked drawer, fingers calloused from texting my sister in Spain, “hairless” from my many rants, and losing my voice due to all the phone calls, the Carer has now been recalled, the taxi rebooked, and airline tickets on another flight from another airport paid for.

“I don’t know about you,” said my mother, “but I’m worn out with all this.”

Aaaagh! And she’s the one with the holiday ahead of her! But hark! I think I hear my holiday coming up. Yep. It’s the men in white coats. And one of them, I think – yes – definitely – one of them has a G-A-T in his teeth.

Photo: Stock picture (not my Dad!)

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