A flinchin’ and a wincin’ and one-eyed scraggly auldwans…

A flinchin’ and a wincin’ and one-eyed scraggly auldwans…

I was with my physiotherapist yesterday morning, being interfered with for a frozen shoulder and there was a point where his tortuous hands went too far and I winced. Now I do try not to wince, because as every woman who has ever met me, and every man who is jealous of me knows, I am some fine specimen of manliness.  Wincing is not manly.  I’ve seen the movies,oh yes I have and real men don’t wince.

There are fellas taking bullets to the shoulder, telling other fellas to dig out the bullet with a knife the size of hatchet with no more than a swig of whiskey for pain relief. Them fellas barely break a sweat. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, lads with broken legs in the snow, fighting off wolves and not complaining one bit when the wolves rip open a tendon or two. So anyway, there I was wincing like a three year old as he tells me, “Just ten more seconds.”


Now I don’t want to impugn his reputation or anything, but either he can’t count or he’s a fuppin’ liar.  He goes; “One, two, are you going to watch the footy at the weekend mate, three,” long pause, “you guys are looking good for Saturday. I’m hoping to get tickets for the November series, but they’re bloody expensive, especially when you have three kids as well, five…”

Did I forget to mention he’s a Kiwi and that Ireland are expecting to kick their backsides in Rugby when they come to Dublin in November, a fact he wouldn’t later acknowledge in his typical “you Irish won’t beat the All Blacks a second time” delusional Kiwi sort of way. Of course he knows that I like Rugby and as Ireland are currently ranked number 2 in the world after New Zealand we generally have a bit of banter when I pay him to torture me, but seriously FIVE! He was using his insider knowledge of me to try and distract from the ten second gap between each of ‘his’ seconds.  By the time he’d counted to ten about three hours had passed; at least it felt that way. Pain is such a distorter of time I find.

It’s like he thinks he is dealing with a small child and I won’t notice his distraction technique, while he digs his whelk-sized knuckles into the most tender part of my shoulder. “Roll over on your side” he says “this might be a little sore.” I have found that at such times I do a lot of teeth grinding and buttock clenching. “Brace yourself Euphegenia!”

Which reminds me, I was at the dentist the previous day. (It’s not been a good week.) Oh sweet mother of the Devine.  If there is a curse word I haven’t used under my breath in the dentist’s chair, then I don’t know it. I had the misfortune of chipping a front tooth so I needed a cosmetic fix and quick. Quick was the issue.  I didn’t want to spend the week looking like Cletus the slack jawed yokel, so I rang my dentist and  asked for an emergency appointment that morning.


Apparently cosmetic work doesn’t really fall under ‘emergency’ treatment and for some reason they keep their ‘emergency’ bookings only for people in extreme pain. What sort of system is that – I was in pain – emotional pain – My fabulousness was  lessened and I could barely look in the mirror! (Barely) Luckily I have a gift for plámásing and never was it used more deftly.

I told the very efficient receptionist that this was indeed an emergency, for what I didn’t originally mention was that I was to be a key note speaker at a conference on Friday. There would be a camera three feet from my face, which would plaster my image up on a monster screen for all the world to gasp at when they saw my Cletusesque appearance. I might as well stick a straw in my mouth and chew tobacco I told her. Oh the pain! That was at 09.05 and I was lying back in the Dental chair at 10.00.

Now they say if you are a liar (not that I am one,  I merely embellished the potential for what could, under other circumstances have been a true story, if the facts were different on another day) you need a good memory. As I lay there, the dentist peering into my mouth and holding what looked like some implement formally used by the Spanish Inquisition, she asked me how come I was going to be on the Telly.

It took a few moments for the penny to drop.  I had mentioned cameras to the receptionist and somewhere in translation, I was now going to be on the TV. I hadn’t expected my distortion of the truth to come back to haunt me. Oh dear, that implement had me worried. I won’t tell you what I told her but it must have been convincing because she was gentle with me. I must have spun her a good yarn.  Most of what happened is a blank if the truth be told for I have a terrible fear of the dentist. I’m sure I left nail marks on the arms of that chair. I think it is fear more of my generation that the current one.


When I was a boy I was treated for free at the local dental clinic by some fella who vaguely resembled Josef Mengele.  I know memory can play tricks on you and it was a long time ago, but somewhere in the back of my mind he wore jack boots under his white coat. Ah yes the glory days of dentistry.

He actually gave me a clip on the ear for flinching when he injected me with a needle the size of an elephant gun. He had to have a go five times as it wasn’t taking, and it turns out he had been injecting the upper jaw instead of the lower jaw, so off he went a needlin’ again.  The next day my face was black and blue and the teacher asked what had happened to me.

Not sure how I got here, I just felt the need to ramble a little today to distract me from the pain.  I’m usually good with pain but I don’t know, this frozen shoulder is a real fecker.  My Antipodean physio certainly left his mark on me yesterday morning.  In fairness, he is making progress but by Jaybus it hurts the next day.  On my first visit he asked me if I had plans for the weekend, and I was almost flattered until he explained that I should expect to be very sore, so I shouldn’t expect to be up for much.


There was a time when women threw themselves at my feet.  I used to have to carry a big stick to beat them back and avoid wearing aftershave – sure that only encouraged them. I was afraid to put on my good shirt on a Saturday and I’d have to sit in a corner of the pub away from the light. Sure wasn’t I that fabulous!  Nowadays, I’m hoping that innocent remarks from agricultural-looking, male, kiwi physiotherapists are compliments. I don’t care if you are a ninety-seven year old, not too good looking man in a skirt, or a one-eyed, scraggly looking auldwan with bad breath.  If you make a pass at me, or if I can perceive it to be a pass even if it’s not, to boost my faltering ego, hey I’ll take it. I’m just lucky I have found my darling Jo.  She sees through the cracks as it were. I still don’t know what she sees in me.


Compliments get harder to find as you get older.  I’ll take them where I can get them these days.  My old man used to add five years to his age so when people said “How old are you now” he’d add a few years, and they would have inevitably said  something like “Jesus you look great for your age.”  His reply – “Thanks.”  That man knew how to fish for a compliment. Guess I didn’t lick it off a stone. Now you might understand, why I went to such great lengths to get an emergency dental appointment.  It’s bad enough that I’m losing my shine, but I can sure as hell do without looking like a toothless Jed Clampett. I gotta go now, but y’all come back now hear…

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20 thoughts on “A flinchin’ and a wincin’ and one-eyed scraggly auldwans…

  1. A breath of fresh air to be sure, Patrick. I always feel as if I’ve been listening to you when I read your posts. I empathise with both of your appointments. A few years ago I had the misfortune to visit a physio regarding a pulled muscle in my back.
    ‘When I raise this leg, I’ll apply pressure and I want you to tell me if the pain intensifies …’
    My response was bordering on, ‘Lift that leg one inch higher sunshine …’ but then, I remembered I was face down and in pain–he was upright, physically fit and holding all the cards, and my f…g leg.
    Yes, physios are one of my pet hates, right after swimming pools and dentists.
    Why tell you this? Well, Patrick my friend, I wanted you to be assured that these fears continue for many a year. 🙂
    Great reading you–as always.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Your trouble is watching too many movies, Patrick, and Tom, acupuncture doesn’t hurt except on the rare occasions it actually works. It didn’t cure my migraine, but there was the wrist I damaged falling off a bike…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m with you there, Patrick. I’m petrified of the dentist. I was fine until I was about eight. I used to trot off to the dentist on my own, until the dreaded Mr Joyce got his steely hands on me. The fact that I remember his name shows you the impact he’s had on my life. On this particular occasion, he drilled a tooth right to the nerve, and when I screamed in agony, he slapped me back into the chair and told me to shut up. It was five years before I went to a dentist again. I’ve passed out in dentist’s waiting rooms from sheer terror. When my eleven year-old son had a severe tooth problem, it was me who passed out during the surgery. It’s the lack of control – something I suffer from in other areas of my life, possibly because of my experience as an eight year old. I’m not a good passenger and won’t ride pillion. I need to have my foot hovering over the brake pedal! On the physio side, I do Pilates and it seems to help. I haven’t found acupuncture particularly painful though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dentists used to be different then – everything was., I got a slap from an optician because he thought I was faking my very poor sight in one eye.. thank God Things have changed 🧐☘️🎈


  4. First of all, MAJOR sympathy for the awful week of excruciating things. I am going through one right now, and it ends with a …colonoscopy! (The joys of getting older.)

    Anyway, this sentence really resonated: “There are fellas taking bullets to the shoulder, telling other fellas to dig out the bullet with a knife the size of hatchet with no more than a swig of whiskey for pain relief.”

    Many American Civil War movies love to include a scene where they SAW off a guy’s leg while he’s sucking on a rag soaked in whiskey. Man, as far as I’m concerned there ain’t enough whiskey in this world or the next to make having my leg sawed off bearable. I’d be far too tempted to grab that saw and relieve the surgeon of both his hands. With maybe a ginger ale chaser.

    Great post. Very funny. Very true. Funny because it is true.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve only one good arm at the minute but it’s capable of being twisted 😂🎈34 degrees in our back garden.. it’s not that hot generally but our garden has a lot of stone is sheltered completely so it’s a stone sun trap.. defo need a drink now 🤔☘️🎈

        Liked by 1 person

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