'F**k,' I said holding the hot water bottle to my cheek. 'F**k. F**k. F**k. Then the outcry. Then the tears. Everything felt like agony. Hot. Cold. The bumps along the road on our way to the emergency appointment. The dentist prodded and poked, his instruments, precise and clinical, laid out like a silver army on the trolley. 'You have a deep pocket,' he said, 'full of bacteria.' 'Uh-uh,' I said with his finger stuffed inside my cheek. It might have to come out was his prognosis, gave me a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers, sent me on my way, 'see your dentist as soon as you get home.'