Across Continents

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First steps into Asia

Perfect symmetry. Just as I’d had root canal treatment before boarding the ferry to mainland Europe, so it was with Asia. Stepped off the boat into eastern Istanbul and jumped straight on to a suburban train. Off to the dentist. In a small hastanesi – hospital – about thirty minutes along the coast.

Reaching the hospital in good time, I sat outside for a few minutes, studying my phrase book’s small section on visiting the dentist. But there was no need. I’d barely stepped inside when I was greeted enthusiastically by Hulya. We’d spoken on the phone a few days earlier to arrange the visit. The usual formalities taken care of, it was off to meet Gulsemin the dentist.

Both spoke very respectable English, and so, an X-ray later, it wasn’t too difficult to convey what exactly the problem was. Or the solution. Root canal treatment. It’d take three visits, but I was at least pleased that anaesthetic was the norm here. And the problem would be sorted. I’d read the FCO website advice about where to get medical treatment when further east. Turkey. Gulsemin made a start, sending me off with a temporary filling. Bit like the one I’d done, just much, much neater.

[The author is indebted to Dr Ramin Ordi for his copious advice on dealing with the symptoms, and for facilitating the dental appointment. And thanks also to James Moore at www.travelhealthconsultancy.co.uk and Jason Gibbs at Nomad Pharmacy for their advice and guidance on what to include in the medical kit. Especially antibiotics with a dental application]

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