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Chapter 14

I am usually healthy. I don’t visit doctors often. When I catch a cold I drink hot tea with honey. I don’t take medicine. If I feel bad I can sometimes take Aspirin or use the Golden Star balm.

In America, I don’t have health problems. My stomach doesn’t ache. My head doesn’t ache. Even my muscles don’t ache after I play tennis.

But one day, I have a very big problem. When I go to bed I have a toothache. At first it is not strong. I can even sleep for 2 or 3 hours. But then my toothache gets worse from hour to hour.

I begin to worry seriously. I know that American dental clinics are expensive. Dentists get a lot of money in the USA. Sometimes, they earn more than businessmen or lawyers. I have another problem, too. I don’t have any medical insurance. So I can’t go to hospital like any Americans.

I drink some alcohol. But it only helps for an hour. Then I feel strong pain again. I begin to panic. But then I start to think about the reasons for my toothache. I remember that I eat salty potato crisps (“potato chips” as the Americans call them) every day. There are big packages of potato crisps in the kitchen. I put them into a small paper bag and enjoy them in my room. They are my favourite food when I am not hungry. I understand that these potato crisps are the cause of my toothache. I decide to stop eating potato crisps for several days and wait.

In the morning, my toothache is not so strong. I am still tired and I want to sleep. But I can’t. One of the girls in my student hotel comes to me and says, “My friends need help. They move to a new house. But they have a lot of things. Can you help them to put these things into a truck? They can pay you 5 dollars an hour.” I agree because I can need money to go to a dentist.

I am glad to do some physical work. When I carry heavy things I forget about my toothache! I don’t eat during the day. I only drink juices. In the evening, I feel a little better. When I come back to the hotel I am very tired. But I can sleep! Next day, I am healthy again!! I decide never to eat potato crisps anymore. But I like them so much. So now I only eat them 2 or 3 times a year.


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