Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Do Your Worst, Mr Dentist


This week has been one of breaks with the past for Fred. For a while now, maybe every couple of months, Fred will ask can he have Colm or Vincent or Thomas over. These are names from at least 3 years ago when Fred was a regular at Lispole School. Sometimes he’ll get angry and remember something Vincent would have done. They had a fight one day over a shoe and Fred brought that up a couple of times this week, something that happened maybe 5 years ago. He’s not one to harbour a grievance is our Fred.

So at times this week Fred would leave out a deep sigh and say something like:

“I miss my friends,” or “I wish I could have my friend Thomas over,” or “that Vincent he makes me mad.” Now why he happens to think of these old friends we don’t know but it must be very difficult for him to come to terms with losing their friendship. But miss them he does. Maybe it’s being in a different school that has reminded him of them, who knows. But this week we had to lay it out that those friends are in the past,  for now. Even if Fred remembers them chances are that they may not remember him.  In fact Colm has lived in the US for last few years and Thomas left Lispole School before Fred did.

It was difficult having to tell him that those friends are gone and that he should now concentrate on the new ones he’s made in Blennerville. It was like telling a refugee that his past life was over and to forget it ever happened.

There were a lot of tears and sadness. To try overcoming this Lisa and I would point out that he’s making new friends. Jayden was mentioned a lot and Fred did say that Jayden was his best friend. To top it all I think Fred is also thinking of the carefree days he had with those old friends, before epilepsy took over his life. He’s remembering the good old days. It’s hard to tell a ten year old that he has to move on, especially one who’s been through as much as our Fred. But being the stoic that he is, he understood but the sadness is still there. The problem too is that Jayden has his other friends and for the time being Fred can’t go do what they all do together.

Very tough on the little man.

The second thing had to say goodbye to this week were his milk teeth. Fred takes his time with things and has been very slow in shedding those first teeth. Now at ten his adult teeth are coming through and need help getting space in his mouth. On Thursday Lisa took Fred to the dentist to pull the ones that needed to go. Before he went Fred gave his teeth a good washing...

“Did you wash your teeth?” I asked.

“Yes Dad,” he said proudly opening his mouth to show me, “and I dried them.”

“Dried them?”

“Yes, with the towel, they were all wet.”

Only our Fred would think of that one.

At the dentist Fred had some of his lower front teeth pulled. When he came back he showed me the holes left behind. Apparently he didn’t flinch at the extractions or when the needle went into his gums. Amazing how things have changed. Then again this is the man who had me pull out a tooth once that was dangling from his top gum, and thanked me for doing it.

That night though, just as he and Lisa went up to bed, I heard a big scream. Suddenly someone came running across the landing and down the stairs at the rate of knots. Fred burst into the front room, out of breath and his heart beating ten to the dozen. At the very least I though Dracula must have appeared at the window and Lisa was fighting him off with gloves of garlic. After he got his breath back Fred blurted out that there was a spider in the bed.

The man can look a dentist in the eye and laugh but runs like the clappers at the sight of a spider.

Yesterday Ed Galvin had me on one his magical mystery tours and I left the house at about 9.15am. As I usually go to the market on Saturday mornings to stock up on fruit and veg Lisa had to do it this week. It was great. Fred went with her, they went to all the stalls filling the bags and it was something that a few months ago we wouldn’t have dreamt of doing. He was on his best behaviour, helping Mummy and doing normal things any ten year old would.

Afterwards the two had to drive out to Dingle to collect Ruby. Fred was only too happy to get out and they met Lisa’s friend Fiona into the bargain. Now, on a normal weekend Lisa may have done that trip on her own and I would have gone to the market on my own. The way things transpired Fred got out and about, which can only be good for him.

When I returned around 6.30pm I got one of Fred’s big, dramatic welcome homes. He clings to you for dear life and follows you around so as to remind himself of what you look like. Phrases like “I missed you so much” or “you were gone forever” are used as is “please don’t go away again.” It’s very flattering and makes coming home even more special.

Sometimes he’ll tell tales of fights between himself and Mummy but none such yesterday. He did tell me though that he’d had confusion during the morning while I was away. The fact he didn’t tell Lisa is upsetting as she would need to know so as to minimize the impact of a seizure, the last thing she would want is Fred hitting the floor at the market.

As I said to Lisa he probably didn’t want anything to interfere with his day. He just wanted a normal day with his Mum, just like any ten year old boy would.

Just a normal life, that’s what our Fred wants, with friends around and plenty of fun.

Someday soon he’ll get it, someday soon.


Posted by John Verling

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