I hate pain. I guess everyone does. I also hate waiting. And when these two combine, there’s always bound to be a disaster of some sort.
I also hate hospitals. That’s a lot of hate. I dislike, not hate. Hate is such a strong word I’m beginning to hate ‘hate’, the word.
Today, I had to go see the dentist. Not what people normally do on a day like today.
I already lived the worst case scenarios in my head yesterday night. But I forgot to factor in the long lines accustomed to mission hospitals. The agony.
“Who’s next?” The daktari’s baritone echoes through the slender blue corridors.
A lady seated close to his door rises and is greeted by a warm smile. He ushers her in and closes the door behind him. The next patient in line nervously looks in my direction, then his gaze returns to his feet where he draws some piece of abstract art with his brown, sparkling oxford – laced shoes while constantly tapping his fingers on the bench. I guess all are nervous when it comes to needles and morphine, especially if it’s your first time. Who knows, maybe it won’t be that bad for him or any of us for that matter.
I get lost in my own thoughts as I scan the room and evaluate the folks next to and across from me.
There’s a lady with two kids pestering her about the cartoon characters emblazoned on her purple hood jacket, and a smiling mid – thirties lady next to her, whom I suppose is their mother, occasionally telling one of them, “Bobo stop asking so many questions.” I suppose it’s Bobo who’s come to get her mouth checked. Perhaps to get rid of some of those questions.
For a moment I picture myself in the shoes of Bobo. My mother would beat the hell out of me while still telling me to stop asking so many questions. Slap…stop asking…slap…so many… I shudder at the thought. Thank God am grown now.
The other patients are all glued to their phones. Technology!
Next to me, however, is a bulky dude wooing somebody’s daughter on his iPhone! I don’t intend to pry, but he’s set his font so large I can’t help but notice the sumptuous contents. Maybe that’s what big people like. Big things.
I avert my attention to his attire before my thoughts wonder into unwanted territory. He looks chic with his Hawaiian shirt, black ripped jeans and some Air force ones covering up his huge feet no doubt.
Drinks at my place tonight? He types and hits send.
Immediately, his phone buzzes and the reply comes, 8pm. Make sure there’s enough food too. Gotta go. Late for class. Love you boo. (Blow kiss emoji)
Must be nice.
I take out my phone. To check the time. Or is it the longing for a lovely text message? Anyway, the time reads 8. 32 Am. And there’s a message waiting for me.
I hurriedly unlock the phone. Guess my disappointment when I find out it’s from my mom. Call me when you’re done. I need some tomatoes, onions… The list is long. But at the end lies 3 words. I love you. At least someone loves me. Other than God.
The daktari’s door keeps opening, swallowing and spitting patients, and we glide along the bench towards it our bile juices inching closer to our throats as the distance decreases.
Finally, the humongous dude is swallowed leaving me at the edge of the bench. Fidgeting. The door swings back and the hinges make a slight swish sound but my mind tells me its licking its lips waiting for its next victim. Me.
A few minutes pass and I hear a muffled scream. Uncertain of where it’s coming from, I continue to peruse the long grocery list in front of me.
Then I hear it once more which invokes my curiosity. I edge closer to the door not minding the stares from some of the other patients.
A third time.
I can’t believe it. He’s screaming! Or am I dreaming?
This registers as a shock at first. And to think of how huge this guy was. I half expect him to release a louder scream next.
He does not disappoint.
I manage to conceal laughter with only so much effort but after the scream finds its way through the door again, I burst out laughing infecting those seated next to me. They smile.
I can see stares, how-dare-you stares beneath those smiles, but I don’t care. I’m having a good time here and I hear laughter increases your lifespan. Benefits. Benefits. Benefits.
Minutes later, his highness walks out of the room clutching at his phone smiling. Confusion and disappointment are written all over my face.
I know it’s not cool, but I wanted to see him walk out with tears running down his cheeks, his eyes puffed and his breathe labored from his procedure.
I still have a huge grin on my face when it hits me. If this huge guy cried, what about me? I brace myself for the worst as I stand up, stretch, then I wipe the silly grin off my face.
I will myself into the room allowing it to close its mouth behind me.
No turning back now.
In the belly of the monster, I stare at the daktari who’ll ensure am well digested. Oh God! Please make this end quickly.
“Hello. Take a seat.” He says.
“Hello,” I croak, managing an awkward smile. What is it like to see so many patients cry and moan at your hands daktari? I bet you must crank up really hard in here all day. No wonder you’re smiling. Waiting to take me down with a smile on your face. Nice one, but you won’t get me.
He looks at my card and reads through the chicken handwriting therein then tells me to move over to the bed.
His assistant walks in from an adjacent room I hadn’t noticed when I walked in. Well I guess you only notice what is crucial to your survival. I could dart through that door and not have to go through this torture. Two cracked teeth can’t be that bad.
It will be fine. I try to console myself and regulate my breathing. I don’t even notice him opening up VLC media player on his laptop.
“You don’t mind if I play something?”
“I…uh…okay.” I manage.
He gently touches the space bar and I wonder if he’ll be as gentle with my dental formula.
He takes a syringe and shakes a bottle with some liquid. I close my eyes shut as I wait for the agony to begin.
The needle pierces my upper gum and I hear a scream. A shrill actually. I guess we are all equal when it comes to matters concerning pain.
As my gum begins to numb, I can already feel tears stinging my eyes and I want to rush outside and find the huge guy and ask him how he managed to walk away with a smile.
Then I hear some villainy laughter.
I look to my left, and there, seated on daktari’s polished desk, is a movie playing. And there’s a lady screaming, begging for mercy from who knows who. I guess the daktari knows who. I on the other hand don’t need to. I try to feel my mouth and notice that it’s clogged with cotton wool and half closed.
So what happened? Who screamed?
Knowingly, the doctor looks at me with a smile on his face and a look of satisfaction. Seems he’s been fooling a lot of folks with this stunt.
He motions to the movie and says, “The screams got you, didn’t they?” You’re damn right DOCTOR.
“This is my favorite movie so far. You see…” I tune out his babbling as I relax my back on the bed and let out a huge sigh of relief.
I did not scream.
I did not scream.
I did not scream!