There’s no dentist on Lord Howe and when we employ new staff, I tell them very sternly to go to the dentist before they travel to the island. I’m pleased to report that the younger ones usually do as they’re told. Our executive chef, on the other hand, arrived with a temporary filling. They’re called “temporary” for a reason. Predictably, it all fell apart a few days before Christmas. It was the busiest time of the year, Warren was in a lot of pain and he couldn’t get to a dentist in Sydney because flights to and from the island were booked solid. I could cheerfully have killed him.
Luckily, dentists need holidays too. One of our regular Christmas guests is a dentist called Quickie who loves fishing. I called him to warn him about the disobedient chef and to apologise in advance for interrupting his holiday. He was philosophical – it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d been asked deal with an emergency at Lord Howe. Quickie told me that one of our staff members used to be a dental nurse (I had no idea!). We had a frantic afternoon on Christmas Eve arranging for the hospital to open the clinic and then trying to find Warren, who went into hiding as soon as the dentist arrived, but eventually the tooth was fixed.
My heart sank when Ryan, another staff member, had a broken tooth this week. We called the local hospital and emailed all of the other lodges to see if anyone had a dentist. I even put a notice on the chalkboard outside the community hall, but no luck. Ryan told me that he could go to a 24 hour dental clinic near Sydney airport, but I sent him to see Quickie instead.