“Why are all your body parts falling apart?”
That was my Boss’ tease when I asked for two days off, so I could get my eyeglasses replaced and take care of some cavities.
That was two weeks ago.
Here are some of the excuses I thought up and convinced myself to skip the dental appointment.
- Achalugo, you dont have an appointment. (Dumb, I didn’t need one, I would be treated any day of my choice I walked in)
Achalugo, you dont have toothache, it is a figment of your imagination. (Then that chicken bone I chewed slapped sense into me and adjusted this lie of the devil)
Achalugo, you need an escort for moral support. (To do what exactly? Bear the pain for you? Hold torchlight for the Doctor?)
Achalugo, you have no one to hold Container while they would be screwing you. (Pun my word…but four sisters, lovely mother and numerous willing babysitters, this was another lie of the devil)
The hospital is on the Island, you will meet traffic. (Lmao)
So today, I woke up and prayed for my car not to start, a flat tyre, news that my dental clinic had travelled(yes, I prayed for that, that the entire two storey building had gotten visa and traveled to Singapore).
When I was done with my foolery, I entered my car and drove to my nightmare.
“Your name or hospital card ma”
I opened my wallet and sprawled all my debit cards and driving license. She glanced at me like when you are silently thinking
“Has this one gone bonkers?”
She smiled and picked one and took my name from one of the cards.
“These are not hospital cards. Are you new?” I nodded in the affirmative and proceeded to open a new file.
That was a lie. I was there two years ago and the dentist saw it the moment I opened my mouth.
“Shame on you” he laughed. I blushed.
I waited for the verdict, three fillings.
There is something people do that amuses me, when I share a fear of a medical procedure, someone says
“Oh, what are you afraid of, you have had a baby before na?”
Is it your fear? Leave me alone.
On a seriouser note, I find that dental visits make me feel very vulnerable. I feel some shame when I step into the clinic and someone says
“You have a beautiful smile”
I am grateful for the compliment, and ashamed at the same time, that I am here because the rest of my teeth are not as fabulous as the eight you see when I smile.
They are not bad, actually. But I am here all the same. I feel shame, that someone here would judge me for being careless with my teeth. Being here means that I have violated some dental care rules( remember my 2.00am candy munching habit?).
Being here also means being asked to spit out intermittently in front of someone else. A two or three day old piece of meat was dug out from somewhere, I died a thousand times when the offending rot was flashed before me.
Every time I leave here, I tell myself that I would brush every night before I sleep and every other promise I make to myself to ensure that I am not here to fill cavities or pull a tooth.
My main problem with keeping these rules are these people called family and friends. I quit the drama and finally lay still for them to do their work and tell me the usual ‘do not chew today’.
I go home and decide on amala, then my adopted son Dominic tells them at Whitehouse
“Put the big round fish for Iya”.
Didn’t he hear that I couldnt chew?
Then I go to window shop in a clothstore near my house, and I am offered a small tray of candies for my baby. I picked one and popped. I remembered to spit it out seconds after,luck.
So I decided to leave the arena of temptation and go to Oluchi’s house. That one’s husband just returned from some trip, and the fridge had white toblerone. I wept…then put some in my pocket. She raised her brows in silent chiding
“It’s for Kabiyesi and the kids, I swear”
One hour later, I lay at home, prodding my slightly numb tongue and jaw, and the Toblerone falls out of my pockets.
No one is looking I said to myself, pop it, the instruction was not to chew, let it melt on your tongue.
“Clap for yourself o Madam”
The Lawyer in me sprung into action
“You nko, kabiyesi, when you have malaria I force you to take your drugs but you skip and throw them away”
No reply, just an outstretched palm.
My shoulders slumped in surrender and I submitted the Tobbs.
“And the one in your pocket”
I no argue, I submitted too.
“And the one in your handbag”
Life is hard, my people.