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Blanche Mitchell's Diary

Blanche Mitchell - Diary, 27 Jan. 1858 - Feb. 1861, mainly describing her social life 
Mitchell Library, Sydney

23 May 1959

Today is a grand day with me. I have suffered fearfully from toothache for the last fortnight so I have made up my mind to have my teeth taken out today under the influence of chloroform. Strength of mind is all that is required and I am not afraid of the consequences. I only hope all will be right, though it is very dangerous to take it and I am afraid it might not agree with me. Started with Mamma at ten.
Monday 30th May
Oh, how shall I describe by writing the dreadful pain that I have suffered during this last week! For the first time today have I risen from a sick bed and am still unable to leave my room, for my gums and cheeks ache still with pain and feel now wearied and worn out, for I can eat nothing and I am so dreadfully weak.

But let me as far as I can, recall that eventful Monday. After leaving Craigend we appointed an hour two o'clock at Belisario's and meanwhile to pass time (which fled too fast for me) Mamma took me into Mr ... , the phrenologist and there I had my head felt. He felt it up and he felt it down and said I had a very good head indeed. That I had very strong affections but that they required to be very much drawn out before they could be shown. That I required much sympathy and was very sensitive. Much more he said, but to give a full account would keep too much time. Leaving him we proceeded on our way to the dentist and there I suffered. I was made to sit down in the big chair and Mamma not having courage to remain in the room I was left alone to the tender cares of Dr Belisario and Dr Cox. The handkerchief was presented to my nose. I felt no fear whatever. It appeared to me as only fun, my eyes were closed and soon a wonderful sensation worked itself up in my brain. My senses left me, it seemed but for a minute, but curiously enough I still retained sense of what was going on without the feeling. I was not surprised when a gleam of consciousness shot over me to find that my teeth were out although I had not felt them. I stood up but found I could not stand. I tried to open my eyes, but found they were glued together, to move my tongue, but it was immoveable. My lips were closed and could not be opened. The only sense I retained was hearing and that was but slight — all I heard was the Dr say 'Do not let the mother see her' and 'Do you think she will ever recover' sounded in my ears like a knell. I soon fell into violent hysterics and then I believe I was carried to a cab and from there carried upstairs and laid in my bed and it was not till six or seven at night that I recovered fully all my powers.
Awoke to violent pain, started at first at seeing my pillow saturated with crimson blood, which poured from my mouth in large quantities. Oh, dreadful was the agony I suffered! My gums were torn to pieces from having five teeth rudely torn from their sockets. My lips and cheeks were all cut and my loose hair was glued to my face and streams of blood pouring all around. Dreadful indeed must I have looked when Alice, coming in and seeing me suddenly, dropped on the floor and fainted right off. All that night my mouth poured blood. Dr Alloway was sent for, he was in a great rage and stuffed my gums with wadding which being instantly saturated he wet with turpentine, which however was but of little use.
Next morning it was the same. Blood all day. Sheets, handkerchiefs, pillow cases wet through. Towards night it gradually ceased, but all this week saliva in quantities has run from my mouth coloured only with blood. Oh, the pain has been dreadful! My mouth is still greatly swollen but the features of my face can be distinguished. Up all day and very tired and weak.
Tuesday 31st May
In bed till one. When up, feeling intolerable pain worked hard to finish confirmation questions.

Dr Belisario has been here, he says my gums are improving. Milly and Mr Mann and the baby have been staying at the Morts for a long time.
Wednesday 1st June
Up, but obliged to lie down again. My gums in great pain, pieces of tooth perpetually coming out. Doctor ordered me to wash my mouth with boiled poppy heads. Went to the confirmation meeting, when Mr Croxton expressed himself glad at my recovery and did not give us any very great scolding as he usually does with great severity.
Tuesday 7th June
Caught a very bad cold

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