I am getting cosy and wiggling into my window seat, iPod attached, comfortable and ready to take on the bus journey to the Thai/Laos border. I turn to Roscoe and notice something rather odd.
“Are you ok?” I chirp. “One side of your face looks massive”
“My tooth has been hurting loads this morning but we were too busy making our way to the bus for me to worry about it”.
“Let’s have a look...”
Inside, I see what I instantly recognise as a wisdom tooth gone sour. His entire gum is inflamed, red and I can only see a feint glimmer of his tooth where the gum has swelled over it.
“Oh dear...” I helpfully add. “Well all our painkillers are in the hold in the bottom of the bus.”
And on that fine note, Roscoe began the journey of doom where with every bumpy hour that went by, his cheek carried on swelling and the pain intensified. By the seventh hour and our arrival at the border, he was in a pretty bad way.
I took charge, sorted out the visa business and once we were over and in the land of Laos, we made a beeline for the nearest hostel. I loaded him up with ibuprofen, went out to fetch some plain soup and he was off to the land of nod.
The next day, I awoke to him groaning, complaining that he had barely slept, the pain was so bad. The year previously I had dealt with the exact same problem of recurring infections with my wisdom teeth. He needed a dentist. The swelling looked massive, he might need it to be drained and he definitely needed antibiotics.
So off I went on my first mission in Laos: Where to find a dentist. Unfortunately, Huay Xai was un-accommodating to say the least. Firstly, there was only one pharmacy. The lady behind the counter spoke no English whatsoever and I had to play a frustrating game of charades to explain my boyfriend’s ailment. When that proved unfruitful, I went to the local tourist office asking whether there was a dentist anywhere. No. Point blank. I was advised that the best thing to do would be to go back to Thailand, as they are full of dentists there.
Suddenly it dawned on me, just how atrocious the timing was. We had just come from practically the dental capital of the world. There are dental clinics on virtually every corner in Chiang Mai where we had spent two weeks. Roscoe’s pesky wisdom tooth decided to throw a wobbly when we were on our non-refundable one way bus to Laos. Typical.
My last resort was to Google the name of the antibiotic that I used to take (Metronizadole) and by some miracle they had it in the pharmacy. So for the next 4 days, whilst the rain came down, we were holed up in a hotel room whilst the antibiotics did their business and my man became well again.
Word of advice: If you in any way have any dental issues, (or for that matter medical issues) and are doing a similar itinerary to ours, Thailand to Laos, please make sure you get it sorted in Thailand. Laos medical services are minimal and in some cases non-existent.