A Beginner’s First

There is nothing that hurts worse. Abiding to the do’s and don’ts as religiously as it could possibly be done. One day, you wake up and notice whatever you were running away from, has caught up with you.

It could be your studies. The results are released and you are holding the bottom, maybe you got that B instead of the A you worked for.

The gym sessions you saved for but when you stand on the weighing scale a lifetime later, the digits read the same. It could be anything.

The worst case scenario is that someone else doesn’t have to try. Things work out for them while you are working your butt of for the same (not because of admiration or jealousy). It brings one’s morale down a notch.

For me, it was (is) my teeth. One of my roommates in high school had been involved in a tragic accident that messed her dental makeup. Her mother trained her to brushing her teeth twice daily.

Being close to her in a way, she rubbed off this habit on me. Most nights we would stand at the mirror before us and brush. The nights I was feeling lazy, I would see her pick her toothpasted brush and I followed.

I can count the number of times I have skipped the ritual since being introduced. Skip to 2018 or 2017 (I don’t even want to know), I have cavities! Both on my left and right upper jaws.

Even as a kid, cavities were my worst scare. I would hear my friends describing the pain they went through to have those fillings and I screamed no, I can’t bare that pain. A needle on my gum, why?

The prick to my finger itself kills me…

Unlike the other times when I would reach out to medical friend for advice, I stayed mute and kept brushing. Considering I have been using Colgate, recommended by dentists. What could possibly go wrong?

Until I tasted blood alongside the herbal flavour, I had not thought of seeing a dentist. Are there dentists in Kenya? I have seen everything from a sexologist to nutritionist but dentist, bado.

I met a perfect stranger and my open-as-a-book self came out. We discussed my mouth problem and his own experience. He was nice enough to connect me to a dentist friend. Sheer luck or fate, mmh?

Broaching the subject to my dad, he was quick to advise me to quit sweets. I’m not crazy about those, I only eat cake! I did not point that out loud but he made me go to his workplace on Friday.

As soon as we got to the reception, the grinch woman behind the desk blurted that I should let daddy work and take myself around the hospital. The hospital I basically knew the gate because of my strong immunity.

Please shut up and let my father love me. Thank you.

He took up the ‘advice’, after leaving me in the waiting room of course. A female voice called out my name after I had run out of ways to twist my fingers, avoiding the looks my fellow patients were throwing my way.

A young lady sat across from me getting straight to business. A few questions later, she gloved up indicating to me to open my mouth. The examination began with her fingers taking turns in my mouth.

She mentioned something, I bit both her thumbs in an attempt to mutter a response. She gave me a death stare that made me want to run. Another medic distracted her which seemed to easen the gloom.

I was sent for billing then to the get dental X-ray’s of teeth number 16 and 26. In the Orthopantomogram (OPG) room, I met fairly young people. Interns most likely, I hope they were not the careless types.

I was asked to remove my earrings which needed extra help to get off. One of the three in the room asked if I was pregnant. Shocked at the unexpected question, I wanted to joke I could be but decided otherwise.

“It could affect the pregnancy if any,” he replied to my why. A graphic picture of my bleeding during the procedure passed my mind but I shook it off.

Biting my lip gently, I locked my eyes while the X-ray was taken. For some reason I was relieved when it was over. I picked my stuff and waited outside before I was escorted to another room.

We walked into a room with another machine, an IOPA (Intra-oral Periapical) I learned. The gloved intern (allow me to use this term), asked me to sit on the low brown leather-ish chair. He asked for my index finger which was placed in my mouth.

After the radiography, I was handed the pictures in a yellow envelope. I went back to the dentist. I found her at last in one of the noisy rooms. She examined the data placing them back carefully.

“It’s nothing serious. You will onl?y need filling in both,” she said writing down something.

Back at the reception where I was supposed to get my appointment, I found a different lady and I was glad. She was easy and we made small talk. She looked through the book when I handed her the little paper with instructions.

“We are fully booked till May, you will have to come then,” she told me once she finished flipping.

There was no surface to reflect my face but I was sure horror was written all over it. May? I was convinced I would be abandoning food for the next few days as I would be in a lot of pain. I was mentally prepared!

Discomfited, I went to my dad’s office to update him. First, he thought May was a month away. I reasoned with him that it was two as it was ninth and that was when my first appointment would be. We failed to agree.

Second, he laughed heartily, a beautiful sound, at the OPG report with my full dental structure. I hadn’t known it was right to look at them as I thought I would end up contaminating the sheet or something.

I peeped behind him. Oops, there was a flawless picture of a Homo habilis masquerading behind Homo Sapiens sapiens!

 

 

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22 thoughts on “A Beginner’s First

  1. Everyone who ever visited a dentist must have a vivid experience and I am not an exception. I recall very well I appeared before a beautiful dentist some years back and I still have in memory the picture of her gait, girth, long neck and most of all her brown pupils starring into my mouth uttering “songa juu, panua, panua Kabisa”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your dentist experience is really funny😂..I’m not shocked you hadn’t seen one before the other day,we Kenyans see some things as more of a luxury 😂…as someone who has braces,I need to go to the dentist once every month,it’s tiring really,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t deny that is always what was in mind. When did you get braces? I saw them but forgot to ask. That will be my children’s life, to the dentist monthly. Don’t tire, you want amazing teeth, don’t you?

      Thank you for being here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I once volunteered as a translator and an assistant for a free dental checkup and teeth fixing medical camp. I was offered a chance to have my teeth checked up towards the end of the camp. I politely refused saying my teeth were fine. The horrors and pain I had seen during the camp put a fear in me that wouldn’t allow me to offer my teeth up for check up.

    Liked by 1 person

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