Sounds like a comic novel, or perhaps a cautionary tale told by a dentist, but my day has been all about bad dates and toothache. Last November, my dentist extracted several teeth. One root refused to budge and was left, with the proviso that if it started to 'bother' me, I would have to go to hospital to have it removed. I had some nasty pains for a few months, but slowly, things got better. Until yesterday, when the kraken finally awoke ...
My toothache increased over the course of the morning. We had a session with a consultant for our twin sons, who are being investigated for a whole range of behavioural problems, and emerged with a diagnosis of ADHD for both, and a formal diagnosis of autism for one, whose previous unsatisfactory diagnosis had been of 'autistic tendencies'. It has taken us five long years to get him that full diagnosis, so that was the big plus of the day, and means he will now be entitled to specialist help at school.
They will now be able to start medication for ADHD. However, there's more to come for the other son, whose diagnosis will take more time, and may be more complicated, as he has a range of other symptoms.
So that was my morning. Toothache cranking up gradually. I acquired some ibuprofen and some paracetamol with caffeine, and started alternating them for maximum pain relief.
I got on a train and headed off to London for my poetry gig at the Poetry Cafe.
My first stop was the National Portrait Gallery, as I wanted to see the original Elizabethan portraits I'd only seen in books so far, in connection with the Tudor historical I'm writing.
Next I went to Foyles, flicked through Robin Robertson's new book, The Wrecking Light - and felt a little disappointed, because it read too similarly to his previous book, Swithering (which I very much admired), and if you ain't pushing ahead with every new book, you're just treading water, and we've surely got too many poets doing that at the moment - and then I spent some time over a coffee there, doing some revisions to my current ms.
Naturally, once I've forked out for RR's new book and had a chance to read through it at leisure, I may feel differently. Don't forget the nagging toothache.
After a quick meal in Chinatown, I trolled off to the Poetry Cafe for my gig, and was somewhat taken aback to find a small group of enthusiasts playing what appeared to be Israeli folk music in the basement there. 'No poetry tonight,' said the cheery lady behind the counter. 'You must have got the wrong date.'
My toothache now throbbing like the devil, I sloped back to Euston for the long train journey home, unable to believe how stupid I had been. Bemused and not a little annoyed, I paid up for the WiFi Hotspot internet service so I could check which date I had been given. But no, there in my Inbox was an email from the organiser, sent only this morning, apologising for the lateness of her warning and letting me know that she'd got the date wrong. The correct day is NEXT Wednesday.
I think this must be an abscess that's developed under the root left in by the dentist last November. The pain is now simply excruciating. I can barely think of anything else, it's so bad. I'm maxed-out on painkillers, and am dreaming of large whiskies, and maybe a mallet with which to knock myself out. Under such circumstances, not feeling in a very forgiving mood is perhaps understandable.