21 TEETH

view of clinic
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It has been two weeks since I last saw the dentist. I don’t know her name but I know she hails from around the Rift Valley thanks to her vivid dental formula and white teeth cleansed by a gazillion guards of the sour Mursik. Unlike the bourgeois who would have said “my dentist” I just say Dentist.

Before I could see her, I had to wait for two straight hours.

These two hours were some of the longest. I’m not the kind to just sit for that long and not speak.

I took to profiling other patients who were seated at the waiting bay, waiting to get to yap to the medics of how their health was deteriorating.

A woman sat to my left, on the seat that had a sign : PLEASE OBSERVE PHYSICAL DISTANCING BY AVOIDING THIS SEAT. PLEASE TAKE THE NEXT SEAT. I get disturbed by people who ignore simple instructions. So I distracted myself by getting my book out. See, I carry a book around in my tiny sling bag wherever I go even if I won’t find time to read it.  Yes, so there I was, flipping through Andrés Neuman’s Traveller of The Century which I must say is quite voluminous so imagine all the eyes that were fixed on me. A millennial reading a book? Psst! Miss me with that bullshit.

I lift my head every few minutes to scan the room for any new comer. Then just as I lift my head for the third time, this lass walks in clutching her purse like it’s holding all her life in it. She’s just the right height and the cool petite. Dark skin tone- funny how I noticed her despite my inclination to the lighter sisters. She walks with a slight limp- I think that’s why she’s here. Probably to see the physiologist. Her hair is short and natural- just the right amount of curl. I reckon she’s somewhere between 19 and 21. I’m careful not to mess up. These days you don’t just look at a girl anyhow. She might as well be in high school or a feminist.

She walks to the reception and as she produces her insurance card, an ID drops and she bends to pick it. Eeeh! She’s definitely an adult.

The man on my left has woken up from his slumber. Sorry I didn’t  tell you about him- let the sleeping slumber, or what is it they say? So, he’s now staring at me stare at this girl.

I pretend to be reading again with my eyes on her. Thank God for glasses. With my glasses on I can pretend to be looking at something but actually be looking elsewhere.

The girl. She walks towards the waiting bay and heads straight to the Therapy room. She’s lucky there wasn’t a patient in. I was right. She’s here for physiotherapy.

Aargh! Aah I’ll see her when she comes out. I tell myself. Well I never saw her on my way out. What a waste of crush time.

There’s a constant hissing and whirring sound coming from the dental room.

What could it possibly be? I listen to hear if there’s a groan or a cry of pain from the guy who had walked in. Non. The hissing becomes even more persistent.

Another woman walks in with her mask below her chin. A nurse walks towards her and indicates that she needs to wear the mask correctly.

She walks to the back and meets another woman who’d been seated there.

There’s a lot of noise from the back. I turn to find the two women chatting noisily. Both with there masks on their chins. People these things are not chin guards yawa!

“You know we Africans have got something that even doctors can’t explain. We’re somewhat immune to this thing.”

One woman says loudly, probably to attract everyone’s attention.

They are heavily endowed with a lakeside accent. I marvel at their ability to have such talks in a hospital of all places. They should have at least taken their banter to the sports ground.

They’ve pissed me off with their ignorance.

Just as I’m standing to go to the washroom, I hear my name. The Dentist is ready to see me. The guy who’d been in comes out with a swollen left cheek that wasn’t swollen when he walked in. I’m scared shitless.

I walk in and take my place on the typical Dentist seat: trays fixed on it, a bright light overhead.

She asks me to open my mouth.

Apparently I haven’t opened it wide enough. She comes with these weird thing and forces open my mouth. I think I look like a clown with my mouth wide open. I wonder what face I have.

Afraid of making eye contact with her as she peers inside my mouth, I shut my eyes.

I here drills and a lot of buzzing and blowing going on in my mouth. Nothing painful.

“I’m done!”

She says it with a tinge of finality to it.

That was quick. And painless.

“You’re good to go, just make sure not use it on hard stuff Sawa.”

Eeeeh Sawa mami. Well I didn’t actually say that.

As I lifted my back up to sit upright, I choked on all the liquid that had collected in my mouth. She rushed to pat me on the back. Just like I’d been taught in first aid.

“Please don’t die on me.”

“I’m fine, just a mere accident.”

My eyes are now teary. My face somewhere between a smile and a blush.

This trip to the dentist had been as a result of a bad dream I had woken up to find true.

I had been feeling some sought of sensitivity in my tooth and the first dentist I visited recommended to me sensodine toothpaste and some mouthwash to gargle twice a day ( I hate gargling for the sound of it makes feel like- eew).

So on the day I had the bad dream I’d been asleep for about 3 hours or so. I’m a sound sleeper, especially after reaching the 150 page mark. I dreamt that my teeth were coming out, ( do teeth come out or they fall out?) Anyway, I was jostled awake by a sharp pain in my mouth. The time, midnight. I felt like there was sand in my mouth. I switched on the light and spat on my palm. Voila! It wasn’t sand, it was smaller granules of my tooth that had chipped. A closer inspection showed that my tooth had broken into half and chipped into smaller pieces.

The dentist said there were two options; get it filled or have it removed and a fake one put in place. I am already one tooth down, removing another was out of question. I opted for filling.

She also told me that my teeth were all weak.

“Enhe, so how can you help me strengthen them?”

“ I mean we could have you on braces, correct your dental formula and strengthen the weak ones.”

At my request she went ahead to show me a video clip of how the process would go. Eeeeh!

No thank you!

Watching that video was like seeing a trailer of the Wrong Turn. I opted for God’s divine intervention.

Biko has one aging testicle due to his habit of having one leg over the other. God why do I have aging teeth at 20? Eeeh.

Is it because I didn’t get to drink enough milk ? Or because I refuse to eat Omena ? Eating omena is like abortion. Killing little fish isn’t a good practice (lol). Isn’t it my dad who taught me not to eat omena?

I try very much not to have dreams that include teeth in them. I don’t want my teeth falling out. Good lord I don’t want implants at this age. Imagine a fire breaking out at 2am and you run to the bathroom to get your tooth.

“ Heey! Fireman, my tooth is stuck in there. Please help me retrieve them. They were so expensive.”

And then he says ;

“It’s too late the roof is crumbling down.”

Then you decide to run inside to save your teeth. You die inside there from inhaling a lot of smoke. Reason ? You were saving your new set of teeth.

Eeew! Bad dream.

In retrospect, it’s totally on me for eating all those biscuits and candy as a child. Aaah don’t let your child eat a lot of those. And have them brush regularly.

Bye ! I rebuke the spirit of falling teeth.

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