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Goldie Kohli Goldie Kohli
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She had a friend.

Overdue books and a dentist.

The problem with toothaches is that your entire self is consumed with it. It sits in the deep recesses of your mouth radiating into your throat, cheeks, and pulsates the brain. Often the cure is worse than the pain and the fear is enough to multiply the pain. I too was unable to think and grudgingly went to the dentist.

It was a nice day outside but inside the waiting room it felt like being in a deep freezer, though I was sweating with the pain. The receptionist was good and put me in front of the queue, sympathising with my condition.

The dentist came out and called my name. She looked like an efficient looking woman. If she had not been a dentist she might have commandeered a special operations unit in the army. Slender with a tight dress on, every part of her body looked ready to jump into the situation and get it under control. I felt confident she would be able to help me get rid of this mind numbing pain.

The dentist did not say much and gestured me to lie down on the dentist's chair. I explained my problem without waiting for a question from her. She asked me “How long have you had this pain for?” disconnected with my blabbering.

I said “It's a weird pain, only happens when I speak for more than 1-2 minutes. Shorter sentences aren't a problem. My job as a teacher is hampered because of this. My friends think I am losing interest in their conversation as they find this excuse odd. In fact even now if I think about anything for over a minute I get a stabbing pain through my teeth and my head.”

She did not seem to have heard me, gloved up, tore open the pack of sterile instruments, pulled the light, turned it on and stuck the mouth mirror in. Then the explorer that rubbed into the enamel of my lower teeth went in and assumed a life of its own.

She shook her head. My heart always races when a medical expert shakes their head. She might have been adjusting her hair but I am pretty sure she shook her head disapprovingly. “I have to call in my assistant”.

She picked up the phone, maybe it was an intercom. She said “You must see this. I think we might have found it. Get the plunger in when you come”.

I looked at her but she did not seem ruffled. Her face did not permit me any questions. My head was ready to melt.

The door opened and another woman entered. She looked nearly like her and had even the same dress. The assistant was a little shorter in height and carried a metal tube about 10 inches long that she handed over to the dentist.

Together they peered into my mouth. They exchanged glances and nodded.

The light shone into my eyes and I closed them.

The sound of an umbrella opening 'pop' woke me up. I opened my eyes and wondered had I been asleep for long?

The metal instrument that the assistant had brought had a plunger like attachment that must have opened when I heard the popping sound. It might have been about 2 inches in diameter.

While the assistant held my head down the dentist opened my mouth and put the plunger into my mouth. I had not expected this and nearly choked. The assistant held my head and arms. For someone her size she was very strong. I had no questions and this must be the right thing to do if they were doing it.

The dentist worked the plunger as you do in a blocked sink.  The pressure went into my lungs. I felt they were about to burst but then it travelled to my stomach and finally into my rectum and my anus. I felt like I would explode. This continued as if for a life time and I was ready to pass out. The pressure kept travelling from the lungs to stomach to rectum to anus and in reverse with the rhythm of the plunger's thrusts. Was this a nightmare?

Finally she stopped and gently pulled the plunger out. I was not thinking as my brain had frozen in fear as I expelled some air from the mouth.

The assistant put the air-water syringe to wash my mouth. She then inserted the evacuator and I felt it suction my stomach out. Pieces of paper, no more than an inch long were being sucked into the tube. I started feeling hungry. After nearly having pulled an entire ream out, she stopped the suction.

My pain was still there. My hunger was rising.

“Please pay on the way out” said the dentist as she opened the door. No questions asked about how I felt.

My head was clearing up. I asked the receptionist how much I needed to pay. She mumbled an amount.

I handed over my credit card to her. She processed the fee and handed over the receipt to me.

Stepping out into the sun my toothache was gone and my head felt lighter.  

I opened the receipt. It said “Fine: Overdue books...” I could smell the distant sea, as I opened the door.

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