Take off your boots, Sir

Health care on demand has not been available for very long, and while there was help in times past, it was not necessarily of the best, or conveniently to hand. One took one’s chances, and often suffered a great deal until one recovered or died.
There but for the Grace of God go I, really did mean what it said.
Toothache must have made life miserable, and Grandpa, when he was just eighteen, in 1906, had reason to thank a dentist, travelling about in the countryside, like a circuit judge, for the relief of his agony. Mind you that reflection was probably an after-thought, the situation at the time being a bit fraught with confusion.
Grandpa arrived at the make-do clinic and looked about with apprehension at the equipment and then at the dentist, who turned out to be a tiny woman who barely reached up to his waist – Grandpa was well over six foot six in his stocking feet, and weighed in around two hundred pounds of tough muscle.
He was frightened, not of the tooth-pulling, he explained carefully, but what might happen if he flailed out in sudden pain; what damage he might inflict on the wee dentist without meaning it.
It was a good point; there was no anesthetising gas in those days, a local injection, perhaps, but Grandpa couldn’t see any signs of needles or their like.
“Don’t worry, my man,” said the tiny lady dentist, with a sweet smile, “we have that problem in hand. Just sit yourself down and get comfortable, in fact why don’t you take off your big boots?”
Grandpa did what he was told, but as he pulled off the last boot, he went out cold.
Secret needles in the chair, you think, a new-dangled gas blowing out from under the seat, you surmise. No, nothing so technical, but a thick stick, wielded with exact precision on the back of Grandpa’s head by the same lady dentist.
Definitely cheap and efficient: when he came round the dental work was done, so what was one extra bump on the head to worry about?


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