No, this is not the latest title I have in mind for my next book… this is a news item I saw which seems to confirm a link between plaque on teeth and heart disease… It reminded me of an old friend of my dad’s, probably long dead, who was a well-loved and well-respected doctor. I thought of him because he had a habit of using a pin, which he kept in his lapel, as a toothpick… yes, I know it sounds disgusting… Anyway, he ended up in hospital with some serious heart-problem which was caused by him nicking his gum with the pin. My dad went to visit him several times and fortunately he recovered. This must be at least thirty years ago so the connection between teeth/gums/heart has been known for a long time.
Anyway… this made me think of another story about him; I’ll call him Dr Séan O’Keeffe… which isn’t his real name at all.
Séan was very popular with all his patients, he was a very kind, nice man, and a good doctor. He had a very old lady as a patient, and she wasn’t in good health so he would always pay her a home visit. She was a dear old thing, but lived in rather decrepit circumstances, and to be honest, her home was actually quite a mess… more than a mess… it was actually pretty filthy.
She was always so grateful for his visits, and on one occasion when he had been particularly helpful to her she asked if he would like a cup of tea. She was obviously very lonely, so Séan accepted despite the dreadful state of her kitchen. She made tea and poured it into a grimy cup, and gave it to him with a toothless grin. He looked into her smiling but very grubby face, yesterday’s dinner still round he mouth, and thanked her.
Then he turned the cup round to drink with his other hand, so he would be sipping from back, and hopefully less dirty side.
“Ah, Dr O’Keeffe!” she exclaimed. “I see you’re left-handed, just like me!” and she too took a sip from her cup, holding it the same way round as Séan.