“I am rather of the opinion Father that I may need some medical attention for my wounds which have now been bleeding freely for the last half hour awaiting your return from the golfing society, in particular I believe that my chin may need stitching up by a medically qualified person being that I can actually see my jaw bone poking through”
So wrote I in yesterdays tale of woe and bicycle crashes, and there was a reason that I insisted that my father take me to the Leeds General Infirmary to receive professional medical attention and that reason was because if I hadn’t insisted absolutely that he take me and seek professional medical attention, then he would have done the job himself.
Our dad was never a one to bother professionals to do a job when in his mind he could do the job perfectly well himself and without even thinking I can easily recall two occasions when he invented new medical procedures to save himself a trip to the hospital, one on our Ned and one on himself, both involving superglue.
In the late 1970s the wonder invention of the age was superglue, a glue so strong that it was dangerous. Up until the late 1970s we had glue that would sometimes work and sometimes not, if you bought a tube of glue to stick something to another thing with you had a fair chance that it might stick that thing to that other thing but also a fair chance that those two things would come apart again several hours later and in order to make those two things stick together for a few hours you had to hold them together for ages, in fact most of the things that got stuck to other things did so because the person holding them together had held them together so hard that their molecules had interwoven rather than the glue working.
And so superglue became a revelation and stories abounded of people who had stuck themselves to the superglue tube even before they’d managed to introduce the superglue to the two other things that they wanted to affix to each other, glue so strong that it was dangerous for the unintelligent to use, tales of imbeciles who had glued their eyelids shut with superglue while they were trying to glue something else instead, tales of fools who were now permanently affixed by their palm to their own settee and had not left the house for four days, superglue was a wonderous compound that had a habit of glueing humans to inanimate objects on a permanent basis.
And so, thought my father, it would have excellent medicinal qualities too.
He didn’t have long to wait for one night in mid-winter our Ned came home from a Saturday night absolutely blathered, off his face with the drink he was and we all heard him trying to get in the bungalow for ages and when he had finally mastered the art of turning a key in a lock while drunk he walked into the living room, forgot that we had a coffee table in the middle of the room despite the fact that it had been there for at least twenty years previously, tripped over it and fell unfettered, smashing his face against a wall unit, those popular 1970s melamine covered chipboard furnishings that every home had.
In particular it was the bridge of his nose that took the full force of his forward propelling body and it was the sharp edge of the wall unit that met with the bridge of his nose and as you’d expect the bridge of his nose yielded to the unyielding wall unit, splitting his nose asunder and issuing forth lots of blood and bone.
“Ooooooo me dose” said the drunken Ned as he lay on the floor now starting to wish he’d stayed in and watched Bruce Forsyth on The Generation Game instead, “Oooooo me dose, it hurts so”
And so our dad got out of bed to see what damage had been done to his precious chipboard furniture and was mighty relieved to find not even a scratch on the wall unit, turning to regard the prone and moaning body of our Ned he told him to get up and get to bed.
“Me dose though, me dose…”
“Aye you’ve made a right bloody mess of it you bloody idiot, that’ll need stitches no doubt”
“Tek be to de h’pital dad” our Ned moaned clutching the bloody mess that had once been a nose.
Our dad considered the fact that he’d have to drive our Ned in his car to the hospital in Leeds in the middle of the night and then wait around for the rest of the night while some doctor fixed up the mess that had once been a nose and while he was thinking about this he had a better idea, “Follow me you bloody idiot” he said.
A quick tweak between two thumbs of the bones that had once been a nose straightened them back up and several facecloths of cold water finally stemmed the bleeding enough to consider the huge gash across the bridge and to wonder how on earth they could close it up again.
He superglued our Neds nose back together again and within 30 seconds it had set and was set as good as new and he went to bed leaving our Ned to gaze drunkenly into the bathroom mirror and wonder why it was that his nose was stinging like buggery and seemed to have generous dollops of what looked like glue holding it all together.
Don’t try it at home kids.
Another time, a few years later when Ned and I had homes of our own I visited our dad in the bungalow one Saturday to find him gazing into the same bathroom mirror at half a front tooth, “Bloody tooth just snapped in half” he complained, “bloody look at it, I look like a right pillock” and indeed he did for when he smiled he looked like a pirate, so I laughed.
“Its not funny” he shouted and that was even funnier for the missing bit of tooth made him whistle
I told him he’d have to find an emergency dentist if he wanted it fixing that weekend and boy was that going to cost him plenty – words that our dad never liked the sound of “that’ll cost you plenty…”
I visited again the next day and he smiled a big grin at me, his tooth fixed and no longer pirate-like.
I laughed again, “I bet that cost you plenty” I said
“It cost me nothing” he said, “I superglued it back together”
I stood in astonishment, “You can’t superglue your own teeth together” I said, “it needs a proper dentist to, erm, do dentist stuff to it”
“Bugger that” he said “its bloody good is this superglue”
And indeed it was and he never went to his dentist again, when a filling dropped out he carefully retrieved it from his mouth and superglued it back into place and when he once lost another filling he hunted around in his workshop for a bit of white plastic that was roughly the right size. spent ages filing and snipping it to a perfect fit, and then superglued that over the gap in his tooth.
Our dad, master of superglue, manufacturer of his own teeth.