In the second half of the 1990s, I worked in a dental practice in West London, not far from Ladbroke Grove. It was also not far from a home or shelter for mentally-compromised people. In those days, patients with psychiatric problems mixed with the other people in the local community. Many of these people attended our practice as dental patients.
‘P’, one young man, a schizophrenic so he told me, was a regular patient of mine. Usually, treating him presented no problems other than those relating to the technical details of sorting out his dental problems.
One morning, P attended my surgery. He sat in the chair, which I then set to the reclining position. Lying down, he said to me, out of the blue and without any prompting:
“Mr Yamey, I have decided to become a homosexual.”
At a loss as to how to respond adequately, I said:
Then in a strong voice, P exclaimed:
“Mr Yamey, I love you.”
“Thank you,” I responded lamely, adding: “Let’s get on with your treatment now”.
At that moment, my dental assistant, ‘Gemma’, walked into the surgery, ready to assist me with the treatment I was about to provide P. Within seconds, P began unzipping the fly on his trousers.
“Put that away immediately,” I ordered, “otherwise we will have to summon the Police.”
P followed my instruction and behaved perfectly normally throughout the rest of the treatment session.
When the appointment was over, P sat up from the reclining position, and placed a pile of low denomination coins on the armrest closest to me.
“That’s a tip for you, Mr Yamey.”
I thanked him, and then returned the coins, knowing that he could ill afford to waste money on me.