London and an Oral Saga

London and an Oral Saga
Image: Colin Galbraith

Oral Hell
I’ve been unable to write for around a week now. Things were good up to last Sunday night when I returned from London, then I visited the dental hospital in Edinburgh to have two wisdom teeth extracted. The pain I’ve endured since then was fought down only with strong painkillers, the result of which meant I’ve been out of the game and sidelined for the best part of this week.

It was horrible. What should have been a 40 minute extraction of two teeth turned into two hours of slicing, dicing and mincing. It was like a left out scene from SAW. After my mouth being pumped full of local anaesthetic, the two oral surgeons began work on my right-lower wisdom tooth, conveniently hidden by a naughty gum that it had never been able to penetrate.

They sliced the gum and my mouth filled with warm blood. With the tooth now exposed, they began to drill and cut away the bone surrounding the impacted tooth. They pulled, it wouldn’t give. They cut more bone away and pulled again. Still nothing. This went on for two hours; drill and saw then a chink as another piece of bone dropped into a small metallic plate.

The tooth had grown in sideways and had two roots, so with every pull and twist of the grip around it, I could feel the inside of my jaw straining and the roots crunching under the pressure. It took the senior surgeon to come in and help out, and with the three of them involved they finally managed to haul it out with a bone crunching twist and lever.

Of course, I felt little other than the sensation of it all, but I knew it was bad news when the first surgeon commented: “you don’t half make life difficult, eh Colin?” I joked that she should ask my wife about that, before agreeing to go ahead with the less complicated upper-left wisdom tooth; I just wanted to get it all done and dusted.

Having been in the chair for two hours, though, most of the anaesthetic had worn off, so when the surgeon  placed the grip on the second tooth and started to pull, the pain was excruciating. More injections were administered and within minutes the tooth was out.

I was advised that due to the amount of bone removed I was in for some pain in the coming days, and so before the anaesthetic had worn off I was already onto the recommended pain killers. It wasn’t until the next 48-hour period that I realised just how bad things were going to be. The pain was awful; I slept little, couldn’t eat, and my face and inside of my mouth were badly bruised and swollen.

It is now six days on from that operation and I am still in pain and still unable to chew a decent meal. The swelling has gone and the inside of my mouth is beginning to heal, but it is still very sore and very uncomfortable.

The week prior to all this dental disruption was the complete opposite. Gail and I went to London for a few days of well-deserved R&R, although the main reason was to go and see Roger Waters perform The Wall at the O2.

We arrived around dinnertime on the Friday at our hotel in the Docklands and headed out for a walk that took us along the embankment from Tower Hill and then to a pub in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral. I’d forgotten about the licensing laws which meant we were chucked out at 11pm. I was disgusted.

Thursday 12th was all about Waters. We spent the day visiting a few sights and bars, and enjoyed a lovely long lunch with lots of wine in the Covent Garden sunshine. We had a few more drinks in All Bar One behind the London Eye before boarding a boat trip I’d organised to take us along the Thames and drop us off at the O2 Arena’s back door. It was a great way to arrive at a gig and unique way to see London through the spray-shot windows.

There’s not much I can say about Waters other than WOW! The Wall is such a powerful and moving album in its own right that it was always going to be an emotional gig. And with Pink Floyd being at the heart of me and Gail’s relationship, it meant a lot to us to see it being performed live. With all that had happened in the family recently with Gail losing her father, the subject matter dealt with by Waters in the album meant that many tears tears were shed during the set.

To top the whole event off – which was an amazing display of light, sound, digital trickery and old-fashioned stage magic – a dream came true. Dave Gilmour had promised Waters he would perform one song on one date only as pay back for a charity event Waters did for Gilmour the previous year. Nobody thought it would happen on our night, but we hoped, and it happened.

The show came to Comfortably Numb and the response lyrics and guitar solo were handed over to Dave Gilmour, who appears at the top of the 30-foot wall in a blaze of light. It brought the house down and I cried with joy. There they were, Waters and Gilmour, on stage and performing right in front of us. If you know anything about the history of Pink Floyd then you will understand the magnitude of such an occasion. I still can’t believe it.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, after the gig finale Waters and Gilmour hugged on stage like old friends and introduced the only other living member of their old band onto the stage: Nick Mason. All three living members of Pink Floyd, on stage, at the same time, and I was there to see it. Mind numbing stuff!

Here’s a video medley Gail put together of the pictures she took throughout the gig. Thee were permitted before the gig started so no copyrights were broken.


On the Friday we toured many of the hotspots we had outlined: Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Whitehall, Buckingham Palace, etc., stopping off for lunch, coffee, drinks and dinner later in the evening. Gail took many, many pictures during the course of the weekend and most were probably taken on this day than any other.

Saturday was spent in the markets of Camden, shopping for all kinds of weird and wonderful things for Gail’s studio. My reward was I got to watch the FA Cup Final in the Dublin Castle, where we spent the rest of the day as it turned out before going for dinner across the road. I’ve never left Camden sober and this day proved to be no different.

Our flight on the Sunday wasn’t until later in the evening so we took in another long walk along the river and stopped for a Sunday lunch. The bistro we chose was much posher than we realised and it ended up being a 3-course meal with all the trimmings. But hey, it was a special occasion, and I’ve never tasted a lamb shank quite as good as the one I had that day.

While Gail was taking photographs I too was involved in my own creativity: a notebook was filled with many scorching satirical and objectively reflective words – a new chapbook has been outlined and will be forthcoming!

I think that should do it for today; this has gone on long enough.

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About Colin Galbraith

Thriller author, music fan, St Mirren fan, fluff chucker, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannoli.
This entry was posted in Food, Drink and Bevvy, Music, Photography, Poetry, Travel, UK, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to London and an Oral Saga

  1. The trip sounds great.

    wisdom teeth are the worst. Getting my wisdom teeth out was worse than the operation to get a brain tumor out. I’m not kidding. And I was completely down for a week after, and it took weeks before I felt like myself again. My sympathies.

  2. Brenda says:

    OH MY GOD! That sounded much worse than your initial tweet. Love the slide show. Thanks for sharing.

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