“Nothing.” I’m holding my jaw with my left hand. My toothbrush is in the other.
“You should go see a dentist,” wifey says.
I was not fine.
I had a cavity.
Oh, dear Lord, why’d you give me a sweet tooth if it was susceptible to cavities?
Something you should know about me: I don’t like doctors and hospitals freak me out. Everything is always so white. So “pristine”. So blank. Hospitals have no personality. They’re just cold and robotic and everything smells like bleach or antiseptic. Maybe it’s the blankness that scares me. Like the cold blank stare of an MS Word document as I prepare to write something. Or a snake’s eyes. Have you ever seen a snake’s eyes in person? They’re lethal and calculating. Unblinking – of course, that is because snakes don’t have eyelids but that’s not the point. They look like Satan’s eyes. Pure evil.
Another thing I don’t like about hospitals is that they are not free. As a Kikuyu man (by heritage, I can’t even speak the language) I am inclined to save money. Okay, maybe not “save” in the sense that I keep a certain percentage of my earnings for a rainy day, but I know when to spend and when not to. Hospitals require money that I’d rather spend on bundles or several pieces of Java’s Chocolate Fudge Cake. Have you had that thing? Heaven in a box (or on a plate).
Still, I did have a cavity and it needed to be fixed.
It’s Tuesday. I’ve been ignoring the pain in my tooth for … I think a year now. Yes, not ideal but in my defence, I hate hospitals and I am especially scared of dentists. Once when I was seven and my sister was nine, she had to go to the dentist to get a tooth pulled. My dad took her and since I had nowhere to be at the time, I accompanied them. Not by choice though, because I had seen Home Alone. Kevin and I were the same age, and I was way more responsible than Kevin McCallister. Still off to the dentist we went. Sis got in the chair, dentist guy had some forceps, there was a struggle, tears, a tooth was removed and a boy was traumatized.
A boy never thought about dentists again till he was a man of 27 (and he still waited a year to actually go).
I find a hospital and they tell me how much I should pay to be seen then after being seen I have to pay again for the procedure. Turns out I need a filling. I sigh and chuck some cash.
While I wait, since I like knowing things, I watch a few videos of people getting fillings online.
My watch history is a mess right now.
Soon I have my mouth open as a stranger looks inside and cleans the area. I feel like his entire hand is in my mouth and I remember that this is how Samson killed that lion in the Bible. I spit in a sink. We repeat the process till finally, I spit out bits of the filling material.
It takes 10 minutes then we’re done. No injection was required (hallelujah) and now I have silver in my mouth. My mouth is a mine and it is a mine that is mine. (I’m so sorry, I’m almost done). I read that silver amalgam fillings normally last between 10 and 15 years before replacing. I’m going to give it an extra year (because the Lord reigns) and replace it when I’m 44.
Take care of your teeth people. And don’t be like me and wait too long to see a doctor.
Also, don’t be like me and immediately you leave the dentist’s office, buy yourself a packet of Oreos.