Balloons – not so much fun after all

There is a disturbing new trend afoot: people are now using helium-filled balloon releases to celebrate or commemorate lost loved ones.

Did you watch Blue Planet 2? It was marvellous, wasn’t it? David Attenborough took us on a tour of the world’s oceans and introduced us to the multitude of life to be found there. He also introduced us to the problems that so many forms of sea life are having with pollution – pollution caused by mankind. And womankind. In other words, us.

This pollution takes many forms, from raw sewage discharged from various countries directly into the sea, factory & processing plant effluent, microbeads from cosmetics and the plastics industry, to rafts of floating plastic garbage – including many balloons.

Plastic, and other artificial materials like ribbon, are directly responsible for the torment and agonising deaths of thousands upon thousands, of sea creatures1. Whales, dolphins, and sharks have been found dead from starvation, their stomachs filled with indigestible plastic bags. Seems that a floating plastic bag looks remarkably like a jellyfish to a marine mammal or large predatory fish, and they eat them, dozens of them.  What is a balloon when it’s deflated? That’s right; a plastic – or latex – bag. These bags can’t pass along out from the stomach, and when the stomach is full of plastic, the animal can’t eat. Birds are routinely found strangled with twine or ribbon, and others are found with their legs shackled by plastic, or with their beaks stuck in it, or they drown, having got their wings entangled while diving for fish. Same goes for turtles and terrapins. Do a search on YouTube and you’ll find many examples, if you’ve the stomach for it. And what do released balloons have attached to them? Yep, a long string.

Plastic pollution is just about everywhere in our oceans. To illustrate just how far floating plastic can travel, in 1992 a container load of 28,000 plastic ducks was lost in the Pacific. They are still washing up on shores around the world today – from Alaska to Newfoundland, to the UK, Africa, South America, Australia, and they’ve even been found in the Antarctic ice. Now, not only do balloon releasers expect their balloons to travel a long way, they actually hope they will 2!

We are all becoming very conscious of the need to be more aware about our use and disposal of single-use plastics, are we not? I’m pretty sure you’d all agree with that. But now we come back to that disturbing new trend, because for some reason, these same people have a blind spot when it comes to balloons. Is it because they are pretty, or because they are fun? Probably. People really don’t like their fun curtailed, do they?

So, PLEASE do not add to the general plastic waste problem by releasing balloons into the air. Not to celebrate an important day, not as a memorial to someone, nor anything else. Please. For the love of the deity of your choice, Stop and think. Do you really want to mark your special day, or commemorate a loved one by bringing suffering and death to innocent creatures? I know I don’t. And yet that’s exactly what balloons do, especially the most common, plastic type. Especially those pretty, shiny helium-filled Mylar balloons you can buy for birthday and wedding celebrations, and so many of those end up on the world’s beaches and in the world’s oceans. Even latex balloons with cotton strings have their problems, despite being made of natural, biodegradable materials. The balloons still have strings which are capable of garotting a bird or seal pup, and they still take a long time to degrade. Meanwhile, a half-deflated balloon of any description eaten by a hungry sea creature can asphyxiate that poor creature, or starve it to death. If you want to hear it from a park ranger, go here.

And, by the way, it seems the earth’s helium is a finite resource too, and we’re running low3. This is a problem because it is essential for medical scanners like MRI machines, and for many other scientific applications.

Are you re-thinking that birthday balloon? Yep, me too.

Top image from Pixabay, the rest by kind permission of Balloons Blow.

1 – Nobody keeps track of the numbers, but considering that the largest balloon release on record was 1.4 million balloons in one go, and that 1,359 balloons were collected from British beaches in 2011 by the Marine Conservation Society, I think a guess of ‘many thousands’ is not unrealistic. The number of balloons collected had risen threefold since the previous count, by the way, so it’s also safe to assume it’s still rising.

2 – And then, no doubt, go on holiday to a far-flung, exotic location and expect to find it pristine and litter-free.

3 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/why-the-world-is-running-out-of-helium-2059357.html

Who are these people?

There are some people in the world who don’t seem to care too much about others. I’m not talking about criminals1, although sometimes their actions are not exactly within the law, but people who simply go about their day doing whatever makes life easiest for themselves with scant regard for anyone else. When their actions inconvenience you, hurt you, or cost the rest of us money, it can feel as if they are holding up a big middle finger to the world, which is why OH calls them the ‘Fuck You’ contingent. That car up there is parked in the clearly marked ‘Zig-zag’ zone of a primary school – a zone which is designed to keep young children safe. What’s more, those red and white triangles on the fence? That’s ‘Do Not Park Here!’ bunting. And yet … there they are.

Fuck Yous are the people who jostle you in a doorway as they hurry through following their own agenda, or cut you up when driving as they find their own way around a multi-laned roundabout, disregarding the lane markings. These are the people who spit on the pavement, or leave their chewing gum, broken glass, dropped food or dog’s excrement there for you to tread in. Perhaps you’ll go back to your car after shopping and find that one of them has angled their car across the parking space next to you, leaving you no room to open your car door. Maybe you’ll set out to walk to the shop and find that a Fuck You has put their bin out for collection, right in the middle of the footpath. Or come home to find that there is a Fuck You car parked across your driveway and you can’t get in.

Well, okay, most of the time their selfishness is nothing more than a minor annoyance, so we shrug it off.

But it seems to me that an awful lot of those people don’t really think. And what they don’t think is this: who pays? For example, when filth is left on the pavement, the natural consequence is the arrival of nature’s clean-up gang: rats, flies, bacteria, and in town centres, the pigeons, which then have to be controlled by the town council because they create mess and disease opportunities of their own. All this has to be cleaned up, and who foots the bill? Everyone who pays tax does. That’s you and me2. If an accident is caused by poor lane discipline, or by someone running into a bin in the dark, there’ll be an insurance claim and maybe a visit to the hospital. Everyone’s insurance premiums go up in direct proportion to the number of accident claims, and your taxes pay for the NHS, so who pays? Everyone who pays tax does. You, and me. If you don’t pay tax, trust me, you’ll be paying in other ways because the Government’s resources are finite and when the money is tight, benefits and pensions suffer, and a lot of non-essential services suffer too.

I’m sure you’re all sitting there nodding and thinking of Fuck You examples of your own, but do you know which particular type of Fuck You annoys me the most? The ones who decide halfway round the supermarket that they don’t want that bit of meat or jug of milk which they have in their basket, and they just leave it on the nearest convenient shelf, or even at the end of the checkout itself. Last week, I picked up an abandoned piece of rib roast and handed it to a member of staff. What you may or may not know is that any chilled goods found outside the chillers can’t then be sold, or even given to the soup kitchen or any other charity, but must be destroyed. Considering that I find something abandoned every second or third shopping trip, this must be happening on a daily basis in every supermarket in the country, and the amount of food waste this causes is simpy appalling.

And you know what? All that food which has to be thrown away eats into the supermarket’s profits, and that puts the price up for everyone – not just those who pay tax. But I guess to the Fuck Yous, that is just Someone Else’s Problem.

So who are they? Who are the people who feel – even in adulthood – that they are the centre of the universe and that the things they do, drop, or abandon are Someone Else’s Problem3? What kind of upbringing did they have? I have never met anyone who would admit to taking something from the chiller and leaving it on a random, unchilled, shelf, nor have I met anyone who boasts about parking in disabled bays, spitting in the High Street or knocking old ladies aside as they push their way through crowds. I know I’m far from perfect, but I could no more do those things than fly.

1 Although criminals are the ultimate Fuck You, aren’t they? They don’t care about you when they steal your identity, your car, or your confidence.

2 And indeed, the Fuck Yous themselves, who then complain about the cost of the tax.

3 Douglas Adams coined the phrase ‘Someone Else’s Problem’ (or ‘SEP’) in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the theory being that if you see something your brain can’t cope with it simply doesn’t see it, and therefore you can leave, say, an intergalactic spaceship parked in the middle of a city and people will simply walk round it and not even notice it’s there. Fuck Yous seem to feel that the results of their actions are pretty much SEPs.

Let’s not start …

You know that saying ‘Let’s start as we mean to go on’? Well, let’s not. Just .. let’s not, OK?

The New Year has rolled in with me still recovering from shoulder surgery, and suffering from a fluey virus which has given me bronchitis/asthma1, so I can’t do much at all right now and I’m feeling pretty miserable and helpless. Could be worse, I know, and to be fair, I’m not hospitalised, I’m warm and well-fed, and I have my lovely OH who is taking good care of me. But my spirits have not been improved by the snippets of news which I’ve been reading just lately.

The Orange Buffoon is determined to challenge the Volatile One to a spitting match which might well end in tears, the weather has gone crazy, and the environment is under multiple threats both large and small. Yesterday I heard that a small wooden footbridge in our village, much used by walkers (both with and without dogs or children) has once again been vandalised by some idiot with a power saw, and has had planks from the walkway removed leaving gaping holes through which a person (or a dog or a child) could fall about twelve feet to the brook below. This footbridge is on a back road in the country. It isn’t on the way to anywhere, unless you’re a dog walker, and you’d have to know it was there in order to find it, so I’m guessing it’s some deranged local (with or without some kind of bizarre grudge).

As if that weren’t bad enough, the same thing has been done at Ferry Meadows, a local country park eleven-and-a-half miles away, which has an excellent record for wildlife curation, watersports and family fun. It seems pretty certain that it’s the same person because the same two events have gone hand in hand before2, so they must have transport, as well as a power tool and a grudge. At the country park, they not only vandalised nearly two dozen memorial benches and all of the wooden footbridges, but they also hacked twenty-six newly planted trees in half3.

I’m not sure what kind of maggot gets into someone’s head for them to deliberately go out and do this kind of thing. Being somewhat of a student of human nature, I can kind of, sort of, understand what motivates someone to commit a one-off act of vandalism as an expression of frustrated anger, but this goes beyond such an act. This is a deliberate, cold-hearted, selfish desire to wound other people and make them suffer, either emotionally or physically. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, either by falling through a gap in a footbridge or over the side, or by falling backward off a bench. Such a desire must surely be rooted in mental incompetence of some kind because there are very, very few people who are truly evil.

But you know what? The true measure of man’s spirit is not to be found in how many times he gets knocked over, but in how many times he gets back up again. This vandal (or vandals) will not win. The footbridge in my village has been roped off, and will be repaired as soon as can be managed. The bridges and benches in the country park will also be mended and the trees replanted by many willing hands. Eventually, of course, the person responsible will be caught and punished, and life will go on, and he – or, it has to be admitted, she – will be quickly forgotten, because that’s what happens.

So in this new year, this 2018, I will shake off my cough and my sore ribs and my shoulder will heal themselves, and I’ll get back on the treadmill and put myself on the Clever Guts diet4, and eventually we will get our new dog. I am already looking forward to the hoverfly season and to getting back out into the garden and planting up my new plants and digging a new pond and putting OH to work getting the new bee houses installed, and no doubt I’ll have great fun photographing all this stuff. I have plans. Venice in the spring, learn to speak French, improve my Italian, begin Swedish Death Cleaning5, visit relatives and some new people I only know from the internet, and I also want to replace a row of Leylandii with a mixed deciduous hedge.

Sounds fun, huh? We may have started the year badly, but that doesn’t mean we have to continue that way. I bet the power saw-wielding chopper-up of benches won’t have half so much fun as me!

Photos of the damage at Ferry Meadows courtesy of Martin Chillcott

1 It’s a bit hard to distinguish between the two, since both give you a lot of congestion and wheezing and make you cough. All I know is that I’ve been coughing for far too long, my ribs hurt, and I need to use my inhalers to the limit. But since the treatment is pretty much the same, I guess it hardly matters what you call it.

2 The same vandalism was perpetrated in the same two places within the same time-frame and along the same path of destruction a while back. Yes, it’s circumstantial, but my money is on a repeat offence by the same person.

3 I think it’s the trees which annoy me the most. Trees take time to get established and become useful to wildlife and, indeed, us. We all need trees to deal with pollution and with the CO2 in the atmosphere. Destroying a tree is like smacking yourself in the face with a brick. Only less messy.

4 Michael Mosley’s Clever Guts Diet is a one-off protocol to rebalance your gut flore (your gut’s microbiome). Since I suffer from acid reflux, which might be affected by those little guys that live down there, I thought I might try it.

5 Swedish Death Cleaning is an approach to clearing out accumulated junk, and one which I sorely need. The name comes from the philosophy that it is unkind to leave your horribly cluttered house to your children to deal with after you’re dead.

O tempora, o mores!

As Christmas and the end of 2017 approach, I look back on the past year and wonder.

These times we live in. Are they good times, or are they bad? Will people look back and say “Wow, those guys of the Second Elizabethan Period had it cushy, did they not?” or will they be shaking their heads and muttering “Those poor things – how did they survive?”

Now, I spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, and Facebook is not, of course, a very good mirror to be holding up to society 1 because everything tends to be both exaggerated and rather black & white, especially when it concerns the headline news stories and the info-GIFS and the shared posts that go around (and around, and around), but it does throw into sharp relief some of the issues we face. I see posts about every aspect of the human condition, from the highest acts of humble selflessness and heroism, through the beauty and awesomeness of life on our planet, and the virtues and rewards of living with simplicity, right down into the sewer of our utter arrogance, evil-doing and greed.

A future reader might deduce that the things are amazingly chaotic for us – everywhere, all the time. Conflicting points of view, opinions, suggestions, and versions of the truth are posted alongside scientific proofs, government decisions, and interpretations of current facts which all clash and disagree with each other. People are sweet, polite, and helpful, and rude, angry, and profane, which can result in them either offering assistance and comfort or swearing at each other in fifty-seven different languages and a thousand assorted accents. We petition to save obscure and almost invisible spiders from extinction, and we laugh collectively about a pregnant woman and her children being pelted with hard-boiled eggs from a moving car.

What kind of people are we, the Second Elizabethans, and what has made us this way?

I think we have been changed more than we like to admit by technology. If you had told me, when I was fourteen years old, that one day I’d consider it quite normal to carry a pocket-sized device with me every day, on which I’d be able to make a phone call to the other side of the world from the middle of a field, I’d have been surprised. If you had then told me that this same device would take instant photos without the need for film, play my entire music library directly into my ears, tell me the weather at home and abroad, answer pretty much any question I cared to put to it2, allow me write and receive messages, access TV and radio, teach me a foreign language, play card games with me, and read me to sleep at night, I’d have laughed in your face. But we do have our phones, and our laptops, and an awful lot of us love them to bits. And we conduct far too many of our social interactions via texts and video messages and social media on these things.

Many of our technological advances are clearly beneficial. The advances made in medicine, technology, transport, and food production3, new ways to save mankind, new games and entertainments, new labour-saving devices, etc. Trouble is, all these things come at a price, so we have an ageing demographic who need to be supported4, and we have the rape and pillage of vast areas of the earth’s resources and habitats … and we have pollution. Pollution with a capital ‘P’. Look up ‘Jakarta is sinking’ on Google. Go on, I’ll wait for you here.

Another huge problem we have to deal with is instant news media, which brings atrocities from all over the world into our living space twenty-four hours a day in inglorious colour and sound and movement, and serves only to stress and depress us. Oh, and to give fresh ideas to psychopaths and criminals about how next to hurt or kill people and gain notoriety, so we get a lot of copycat crimes and crazy people claiming resposibility for things they didn’t do.

And so I imagine that, one day in that dim and distant future, someone might stand up and say:

“Here, hang on a minute … they did what? But how could they not know how stupid/damaging/counterproductive that was?”

Take a second or two to wonder about that, and how many things it could apply to. Now. Which of those things would stand out as the single factor which defined, and maybe condemned, our era? And while we’re on the subject, what would win the gold medal for the best of our times?

As a species, we are the most destructive on the planet, but we are also the most inquisitive, and the most creative. This is just as well, because the havoc we are wreaking on our planet is beginning to catch up with us. We will need all of that creativity just to survive to the end of this millennium. However, I do have faith that we will pull ourselves back from the brink and survive, if only we can persuade our governments to think beyond the next election. That, I think, is the new trick we must learn.

1 At least, I hope not!
2 With varying degrees of truthfulness and accuracy, it has to be said
3 But only, of course, for the rich part of the world. For the rest, while these new methods of food production enables many to earn a living, it usually pays them a pittance, relatively speaking, and by destroying their ecosystems and altering their whole economies, ensures that they will continue to provide their raw materials while they can, because there’s nothing else left to them by now.
4 This is also a problem in its own right – illustrated by the current dissent about pensions, but that’s another story

Give these guys a medal!

It occurs to me that the last few posts here on the Sparking Synapse have been, shall say, a tad on the cloudy side of the street.

Partly this due to the fact that I am a little more than three weeks into having to wear a very restrictive shoulder immobilising sling night and day for six weeks, and I am constantly uncomfortable, hot, and unable to function normally, with a side order of pain, random itchiness and boredom. This the second such period within five months, with a surgical repair thrown in for good measure, and I can’t even have a good slug of wine now and then because alcohol doesn’t mix too well with heavy-duty painkillers. So perhaps it’s forgiveable, but methinks it’s maybe time to haul on those bootlaces a little and cheer the fuck up.

So, with this in mind, and with a gentle reminder from Valerie over at A Mixed Bag, I am inspired to write this.

As we go about our daily lives we come across all sorts of people, and all-too-often, the ones that leave the biggest impression are the idiots, the rude, and the incompetent. We love to come home and say to our families and friends “You’ll never guess what a stupid woman in Boots said to me” or “the way some people park is (expletive of your choice) atrocious” or “it took me forty-five minutes to get home today, because some stupid idiot at the council thought it was a good idea to … (blah, blah, blah). And if we are angry enough, we follow it up with a complaint in writing, do we not? Or we get all hot under the collar and pick up the phone and give some poor lowly office worker hell. Yep. I know. I’ve done it myself. In fact, I am in the middle of a series of ultra polite, barely-sarcastic-at-all emails1 at the moment with a company who refuse to refund the shipping costs on some returned goods (but that’s another story).

The thing is, dear readers, that we so seldom remember to fill in those forms and write those letters – or even go home and tell our loved ones – when we are met with smiling helpfulness and efficiency, or outstanding service.

Basically, we do not thank people enough, or give credit where credit is due. I try to remember to do so but it’s so easy to forget, and if you’ve ever worked in the service industry, or in any job where you have contact with the public, you’ll know how one compliment or genuine smile of heartfelt thanks can brighten your whole day2.

So I’m going to try to concentrate on looking for the good in people again. To this end, at the end of my hospital appointment yesterday I filled in one of those feedback forms so industriously that the young lady behind the desk asked me if I was writing a book.

Despite the title of this blog post, the quietly efficient, the compassionate, the polite and the helpful don’t usually want a medal, and quite often they don’t even need to be commended3. But everyone does like to be appreciated, and we all feel better for meeting someone who knows how to smile without being patronising, or help someone in need without being pushy. A smile here, a word of thanks there, a bit of eye contact … and I’m told that the best way to show your appreciation for an employee – especially someone who works for a smallish company – is often a letter of commendation to their boss, which mentions them by name.

So go ahead. Make someone’s day! And it doesn’t have to cost you a thing.

1 I specialise in ultra-polite, barely-sarcastic-at-all letters of complaint. They are written rather passive-aggressively, I have to admit, and in the best and most polished prose I can muster, with perfect grammar and high-level language (Thank you, Mrs Learmont*). The recipient knows that I am probably being rude, although there’s nothing in what I say to hang that particular hat on, and they are left in absolutely no doubt that I know what I’m talking about. Of course this is never the first letter that I send, I only do this if I get stupid, misinformed or obstructive letters back in reply to my first letter, and the progress into veiled insult is gradual, and always well deserved.

* Mrs Learmont was my High School English teacher. She was a Scot, and she was fierce, but she gave me an enormous affection for our beautifully rich, complex, and absurd language.

2 There doesn’t even have to be money involved, though in the restaurant/cafe trade where the waiting staff are often poorly paid, it certainly helps.

3 Although some of them perhaps do, especially if they’re in the running for a “Volunteer/Employee/Etc of the Year” award. And why not, if they deserve it?

I have been a very brave girl

MeShoulder-Oct2017

Some years ago now1, I tore one of my rotator cuff ligaments, and had to have it surgically repaired. I blogged about it because it was traumatic, extremely painful, and took a whole year plus a truckload of physiotherapy to get right, and that was also extremely painful. By the end of that time, I pretty much had full use of my arm, but there were still twinges of pain from time to time, and I swore that if I ever did the same to the other arm, I would refuse the op and just fix it with physio.

Well.

Fast forward to 1st June this year. I was clearing up after tenderly tending my hoverfly lagoons, went flying up a 3 inch step in the garden2 and landed heavily and awkwardly, dislocating my (other) shoulder. Much profanity ensued, and after the obligatory six weeks with my arm immobilised in a sling, I set off on the physio trail. It worked, up to a point, and there I stuck. And so, after scans and discussions3 I was booked in for the dreaded surgery, because I’d completely torn two ligaments, and displaced a third, and while I could do an awful lot with that arm, I could not lift it away from my body sideways..

The fateful day – Saturday, 21st October, rolled around, and I admit that I arrived at the hospital in a state of terror and cowardice, and very nearly chickened out. It didn’t help that despite being on a high dose of acid-reducers for GERD, my stomach was pumping out acid like anything – all the stress, no doubt – and I was convinced that I’d wake up from the anaesthetic with a laryngeal spasm4 and die on the spot, and it would all have been for nothing. That’s what happened after the last anaesthetic I had, by the way, except the dying part. Obviously.

But I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that I went through with it, and I was fine. The surgeon was able to do the repair arthroscopically, so there is a lot less pain, and I am home and beginning the long road to recovery. When I say ‘there is a lot less pain’, all things, dear reader, are relative, and it still bloody hurts. Oh, boy, does it hurt! But I am managing, so far, without quite as many painkillers as last time, so I am not (at the moment) hallucinating. Is that good? I think it’s good 5

And one of the best things is that I am sleeping okay. Partly, perhaps, because it was a less invasive operation, and partly because I did a lot of research and bought myself a very heavy duty, large, bed wedge to prop me up, and another for under my knees to stop me sliding down the bed6.

The consultant and the anaesthetist were both lovely and very patient, by the way, as were all of the nursing and auxiliary staff throughout my stay. But I still think I was very brave not to turn tail and run from that hospital room.

And I didn’t even get a sticker!

I did, however, get no less than three bunches of flowers from OH, and they were all waiting for me at home when I was discharged. He’d put them into vases, and everything! Aren’t they lovely?

Flowers4MyShoulderFmA-Oct2017

1 2008, to be precise

2 Yes, yes, I knew it was there. It’s been there for fifteen years or more

3 The first consultant I was referred to was a knee specialist and didn’t even order a scan. Then the physio asked for an urgent referral to a shoulder guy, and the doctor’s surgery sent me a copy of my blood results from March 2016, instead

4 Laryngeal spasms are terrifying, and happen when a foreign substance touches your vocal chords – stomach acid, for instance will trigger a spasm, because stomach acid will seriously damage your lungs. Your larynx literally clamps itself shut, so it’s like trying to drag each breath into your lungs through the space between two pages of a damp book. It happened to me after a minor investigative procedure, and didn’t enjoy it

5 Although I did kind enjoy the impromptu opera performances by the invisible people, and OH found the one-sided conversations rather amusing

6 Ah, the wedges … After shoulder surgery, it’s not possible to sleep flat, so you have to find a way to prop yourself up. Last time, I used about five pillows, which kept slipping (which was painful) and if they didn’t slip apart from each other, I slid down the bed off of them (which was painful). This time I have a heavy-duty, 8 inch high firm, long, wedge which I can put my pillow on, and a ‘hill-shaped’ wedge for underneath my knees, so that I don’t slide off it. It’s actually quite comfortable, and it works!

Um … what?

DentalMouldTeeth-MFileXpistwv

A couple of days ago, OH and I spoke at some length on the subject of dental implants. You see he has some teeth which have been loose for some time – they’ve been supported for a few years now by a dental splint, but that broke1, and now they’re doing what our dentist referred to cheerfully as ‘waving in the wind’ (it didn’t help that he added a little ‘goodbye’ wave with his fingers at the time). So OH wants to see if there’s anything he can do to avoid dentures, and we were discussing what he should do next. Options, prices, and all that stuff.

I didn’t post it to social media, and I did no online search – heck, even if I had, I use Firefox and DuckDuckGo, neither of which (supposedly) track you.

So here’s what I want to know. How come I’m now getting ads on my Facebook page offering me dental implants at various ‘bargain’ prices? Both yesterday and today there have been dental implant ads, and, for goodness’ sake, one of them is even in Italian, which, yes, I do speak!

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 14.14.10

I was using Google.it to search for something yesterday, but it was certainly not ‘dental implants’. What is going on?

1 Following an unfortunate encounter with a crusty sourdough