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'Address to the Toothache'

I have toothache!!

I have had it for over a week now and despite x-rays, antibiotics and painkillers it's still there although it is easing slightly every day. They don't know what's causing it. It has been suggested that I could have banged my head on something and I vaguely remember clashing heads with one of my dogs as I bent down and she jumped up although that could just be my mind playing tricks and giving me a reason for my terrible suffering.

I truly believe that toothache is the worst pain you can have and I don't care what anyone else says. It's constant and when it does subside momentarily and you think it may have gone, it returns seconds later with a vengeance. It doesn't just affect your teeth, it makes you miserable and bad-tempered (yes - even more so in my case), you can't eat, it's impossible to sleep and normal daily activities become so difficult that you have to wonder whether it's actually worth carrying on.

So, I would like to share with you all a poem from the great Robert Burns. He describes exactly how I've been feeling recently far more 'eloquently' than I ever could. I have included an English translation at the end for those of you not familiar with the Scots Language.

ADDRESS TO THE TOOTHACHE (original)
My curse upon your venom'd stang, 
That shoots my tortur'd gooms alang, 
An' thro' my lug gies monie a twang 
Wh' gnawing vengeance, 
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang, 
Like racking engines! 

A' down my beard the slavers trickle, 
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle, 
While round the fire the giglets keckle 
To see me loup, 
An' raving mad, I wish a heckle 
Were i' their doup! 

When fevers burn, or ague freezes, 
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes, 
Our neebors sympathize to ease us 
Wi' pitying moan; 
But thee! - thou hell o' a' diseases, 
They mock our groan! 

Of a' the num'rous human dools -- 
Ill-hairsts, daft bargains, cutty-stools, 
Or worthy frien's laid i' the mools, 
Sad sight to see! 
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools -- 
Thou bear'st the gree! 

Whare'er that place be priests ca' Hell, 
Whare a' the tones o' misery yell, 
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell 
In dreadfu' raw, 
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell 
Amang them a'! 

O thou grim, mischief-making chiel, 
That gars the notes o' discord squeal, 
Till humankind aft dance a reel 
In gore a shoe-thick, 
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal 
A towmond's toothache.


ADDRESS TO THE TOOTHACHE (translation)
My curse upon your venomed sting,
That shoots my tortured gums along,
And through my ear gives many a twinge
With gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves with bitter pang,
Like racking engines!

All down my beard the drools trickle,
I throw the little stools over the mickle,
While round the fire the children cackle
To see me leap,
And raving mad, I wish a Heckling comb
Were in their backside!

When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes,
Our neighbours sympathize to ease us
With pitying moan;
But you! - you hell of all diseases,
They mocks our groan!

Of all the numerous human woes -
Bad harvests, stupid bargains, cutty-stools,
Or worthy friends laid in the crumbling earth,
Sad sight to see!
The tricks of knaves, or annoyance of fools -
You bears the prize!

Where ever that place be priests call Hell,
Where all the tones of misery yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell
In dreadful row,
You, Toothache, surely bears the bell 
Among them all!

O you grim, mischief-making chap,
That makes the notes of discord squeal,
Till humankind often dance a reel
In gore a shoe-thick,
Give all the foes of Scotland's well
A twelve months toothache.  - translation found at The World Burns Club


Until the next time - assuming I survive this,

Denise x

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