Looking like Quazimodo!

Strange title for my blog? Not really, it describes perfectly how I looked after my latest drama ! Last Monday, I awoke early to clear blue skies , beautiful sunshine and a dreaded toothache ! It wasn’t raging, just throbbing and as we were off to Vidin to pay our bills, get our shopping etc, i popped a couple of paracetamols, in the hope that by the time we got to Vidin, the ache would have eased. It did but returned slightly worse by midday, two more pills and it would be fine, or so I thought. By the time we returned home, my toothache was throbbing again, still not raging but niggling constantly. I could feel a slight lump developing just above my lip and realised that it was an abscess. I remembered the last time I had an abscess, swelling, severe pain and no sleep! I wasn’t looking forward to the night ahead. I got Andy to phone the dentist to make an appointment first thing in the morning which wasn’t a problem, unlike in the UK, even in an emergency you still have to wait a week these days!
During the evening the swelling got gradually worse and the tooth continued to throb but not as bad as I was expecting and I was surprised that I managed to sleep through the night but when I woke in the morning I got the shock of my life. I knew my face would swell but not to the extent that it did. What started as a lump the size of a pea developed into a watermelon!! My whole cheek, side of my nose and eye was excessively swollen, I looked like Quazimodo ! I was now in panic mode.
I hate going to the dentist and I really hate needles but at the same time, when I saw the state of my face, I was desperate to get my tooth out. When we arrived in Vidin, we had to park about 10 minutes walk away from the dentist as they were digging up the road and the dentist was down an alley, off a small side street, not really suitable for a LWB high top van. I tried to keep my head down as I felt a bit of a freak and yes people did stare but then I did look like I’d been hit by a bus. When we arrived at the dentist, she took one look at my face and her reaction was the same as when I looked in the mirror first thing in the morning, complete shock. She informed me that as I had a severe infection she needed to send me to a dental surgeon to have my tooth extracted as the usual anaesthetic would not be strong enough and cause me severe pain. After she made a phone call to the surgeon, she gave us directions, explained that he didn’t speak a word of English but for me to not worry as he knew the situation and I was in good hands.
When we arrived the surgeon greeted me with a stern look, directed me in to the dental chair, squirted some numbing spray on my gum area with the offending tooth then proceeded to deal with his other patient who was in the chair next to me. By this time my nerves had kicked in, so every minute felt like a lifetime. The surgeon returned to assess the problem, disappeared for a minute, then returned again with a few tools and the inevitable needle. I braced myself as best I could, the first injection entered the front of my gum under my lip, ( it hurt but not too tragic ), the second needle went into the roof of my mouth and it felt like it was trying to pierce a thick layer of rubber. Well all I can say is it’s a good job the assistant was holding me down and had quick reflexes because my reaction was to grab the surgeons hand and whip it away but his assistant grabbed my hand just in time. The pain was so bad I nearly went through the roof! I think the needle burst my abscess as my mouth filled with blood. When the area of my mouth was numb he pulled out my tooth, it was quick and painless, which surprised me as the tooth had broken at the edge of my gum so there wasn’t a lot left to grab hold off, ( it was a capped tooth that had broken ). They showed me the offending tooth and the root was very long considering it was only a front tooth. I was relieved that my ordeal was over and all I wanted now was the swelling to go down. The surgeon made me sit for quite a while, took my blood pressure, as by this time I think my body had gone into shock as I was shaking like a leaf and when he was satisfied that my tooth had clogged and my blood pressure was ok, he let me go. I was given a prescription for antibiotics and vitamin B complex and a bill for 60 Levs. Despite the needle episode I must admit the surgeon and his staff were excellent, I couldn’t fault them at all and the cost of my treatment was exceptionally cheap. Even the antibiotics, which are one of the strongest on the market, were very reasonable ( 12 Levs ).
On our way home my whole body was shaking and although it was a hot day I was freezing. I was also struggling to stay awake, it felt like I was on sedatives or something and I felt nauseous. It didn’t help that there were potholes along the E79, some of which just couldn’t be avoided. The journey seemed to take forever and by the time we approached our turn off towards our village, I had to get Andy to quickly pull over as I needed to be sick. Not the most pleasant sight for Andy or anyone who was driving by, but needs must and all that.
We had only been home about half an hour, when I decided to go to bed for a while. I couldn’t keep my eyes open or stop shivering any longer. Before I knew it I had conked out. The following day the swelling had got worse and my face and lips were still numb and my eye was itchy and sore. The swelling worried me so I got Andy to phone the dentist to ask if it was normal and apparently it was but he was informed that the swelling will start reducing in about a week. It’s now been 11 days, my face is almost back to normal, I still have a big, hard lump above my lip and part of my cheek and lips are still numb ( weird sensation ), but it’s getting better, I can finally put on my mascara now and at least I don’t look like Quazimodo anymore !!

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Fast Forward….part 2

As we had been working so hard,it was time to take a break from it all, so we decided to head to Lom for the day to see Sue and Paul. They had arrived in Bulgaria a day before us and we hadn’t seen them since the day we met them in Vidin , a couple of weeks after we arrived, so we thought it would be nice to catch up.They live 10km outside of Lom and according to the sat nav it was going to take us 1 hour 20 mins to get there, wrong it took us just over 2 hours! We’ve worked out that where ever you travel in Bulgaria always add extra time on your journey because of the roads. The scenery, as always is beautiful, and we travelled through a lot of really lovely villages but oh my god the road was horrendous ! At least half the road there was quite narrow, full of potholes and to make matters worse, some of it was cobbled. Considering its a main road, full of lorries may I add, it’s pretty shocking. Having a high top, LWB van is great when your renovating a house, for picking up building material, but not for long journeys on roads like these, a 4×4 would be more suitable. It doesn’t help, I suppose, that I’m a terrible passenger, always putting my foot on the break that isn’t there or shouting at Andy to ‘slow down’, even though he’s only doing 40 Kmh, or ‘ watch out for the car,old lady wandering on the road or the stray dog’ . In my defence, it’s not much fun watching artic lorries trying to avoid the potholes and they are on our side of the road, heading towards us. It’s not as if the road was wide enough to move out the way. To top it off,as we were driving out of Lom, there is an extremely long, steep hill to climb which was cobbled all the way up! The view at the top was amazing, to be fair, but all I kept thinking about was the journey back!
It was great to finally get to our destination and see Paul and Sue again. They had settled into life in Bulgaria and loved it as much as we did. Their houses( they have 3 on their plot) were lovely and since they have been there, they had done quite a lot of work. The village was lovely too and so peaceful. After catching up for a few hours, we headed into Lom for a bite to eat. They took us to a kebab place they had found that did the most delicious food and it was so cheap. It’s so nice just to be able to sit outside, eat lovely food, relax with friends, sun beaming down and watch the world go by. Life is good.
Eventually it was time to head home but this time we went a slightly different way. We still had to go on the stretch of cobbled,narrow,potholed, heart attack road, but then we turned off towards Vidin and the road was a lot better. Even though it was supposed to be the long route home it actually only took us 1hour 25 minutes. It was a lovely day and so nice to have a break from renovating and I can honestly say that although I moan about the roads, every where we go here, it’s alway an adventure one way or another and always a memory to look back on with a smile 🙂 ……

Romania….part 2

The Romanian border….what can I say, dark, not very well sign posted, oh and rude! When we finally worked out where to go , we pulled up at a booth with a man sitting there, beside the booth was another man in uniform, who was sat on a bench. We handed our passports to the man in the booth, he checked them, passed them back and said ok, so we proceeded to make our way, only to have the other man shout out waving to come back. As Andy reversed, I was looking in the wing mirror and saw the man wasn’t happy! Might be the fact that he had to get off his arse and walk a few yards! Turns out he was customs control. He proceeded to check our passports, then Andys driving licence, V5 and paperwork for the caravan. Ok not a problem, or so i thought, except he want a V5 for our caravan, so I told him we don’t have V5’s for caravans in the UK. He then hand signal for us to park at the side, then disappeared with our paperwork! By the look of his face, he was not a happy bunny! He kept us waiting for 15 minutes and I’m sitting there having visions that he’s going to make us unload the van so he can search our stuff. I was tired and my patience was wearing thin, so I was thinking he’s going to arrest me first before I was going to let that happen!!!
Luckily it was getting busy, there was a cue of traffic forming, that’s why I think he came back, handed us back our documents and signalled us to go but I do think if we had been the only ones there, my vision would have come a reality.
Off we trundled in the darkness down an extremely bumpy road, into the back of beyond. Although we had our sat nav, it was quite scary as we wasn’t sure we were going in the right direction. We had expected to be driving on a motorway or something like it but we weren’t. They were single roads full of bumps, which I’m guessing were the famous pot holes, but filled in! It was dark and bumpy so we were driving carefully because of the caravan, the las thing we needed was to damage the axle or a wheel fall off ! There was a lot of blind bends and, what I guess we’re speed bumps, that you only saw last minute when you hit them! Every time we did, we flinched, our poor caravan and van was getting a beating. To top all the stress off, the dogs needed to go to the toilet, they were wining and we were struggling to find any where safe to park, not that there really was such thing as a service statin or a decent lay by that we could pull into. The lay bys were small and not really big enough to fit a van and caravan. Eventually we did find one safe enough for us to let the dogs out and it was a relief for both the dogs and us!
We had been driving for a few hours and our stress levels were high. The roads were fairly busy considering it was the early hours of the morning and the drivers were nutters! It wasn’t a case of them speeding because you really couldn’t do that on these roads but they did like to overtake on blind corners. Every minute we spent on these roads was another strand of grey hair added to my already greying mop. I couldn’t wait till daylight, at least we would be able to see where we were going………

Last Goodbyes

We went to see Marie’s family today to have our last family gathering before we set off on our Big Adventure in Bulgaria. It was great to see everyone again and was lovely talking about everything family orientated.
It was a good feeling as well to see and hear the positivity from everyone about Bulgaria and what we are doing. It is really good to know that we have got the support of our family for what we are doing and that we will be leaving the UK on good terms with everyone.
The final moments were full of emotion, coupled with hugs and some tears which did make it a little bit hard to drive away, but it just goes to reinforce the fact that we are cared about.
It is going to be a bit surreal once we have gone knowing that our family is no longer down the road but nearly 2000 miles away, and I know deep in my heart that it will pull me and Marie closer together as we can only depend on each other until we begin to make new friends.
It is this feeling that has made me realise that we are not just embarking on a new chapter in our lives but also a new chapter in our relationship. It is really exciting to know that everything we shall encounter we shall do so and experience together, it is a wonderful feeling having someone to share this potentially once in a lifetime experience with, after all how often do you get to live out your dreams with someone you love, care and cherish.
Next week it is my turn to say my last goodbyes before the big journey, which will probably be just as emotional.

On another note my brother in law Mark, has stepped up and provided us with new tyres and a spare wheel for our 1960’s retro caravan. These are definitely going to be essential for our journey as some of the stories we have heard about potholes are quite scary, I don’t relish the thought of having to change a wheel on the side of a motorway in a foreign country, but at least if it did happen I now we are now prepared.
You can find him on Facebook at Treads 2 Go