If I would have to choose between having a fever or toothache, I would automatically choose the first, even if it has to last for a week or even a month. If only I had the choice.
As I was growing up, I was used to having fever which sometimes lasted for several weeks, and knowing how hard life was at that time, I dare not ask my parents to bring me to the doctor. Instead, I took the pain as a challenge I needed to get through daily, than give in to what I was feeling and let my parents suffer the financial burden my illness would be causing the family to carry. Furthermore, funny as it may seem, I’ve always had this scary feeling of going to the doctor or in the hospital. I don’t know why I feel this way with doctors and hospitals, but it is just something I cannot get rid myself of. And so I endured those agonizing moments.
Unfortunately, when I reached college, not only did I have to bear the month- long fevers I used to have but sustain myself to withstand another agony which took its toll on my health. I was plagued with toothache. For months, I tried to tolerate the pain thinking that like the fevers, I could also make it this time. I was such a stupid and hard-headed monkey! So dumb indeed! However, finally after months of persevering, I gave up. I never thought only a tooth would victor over my stubbornness to seek medical treatment; one toothache was all I ever needed to concede.
And so I went to the dental clinic (alone) which I thought had the most expertise when it comes to dealing with dental problems, took the multicab and after 45 mins. or so, I reached the place. Because the dentist was still attending to one patient when I arrived, I needed to wait for my turn. The dentist’s assistant had me filled out a form and handed me two pain killers. She said it has to be taken minutes before the actual extraction because the effectivity of the medicines would take a while. And though nervous, I kept myself at ease. I studied the clinic, try to glance at the used apparatuses if they are well sanitized. My eyes searched the whole area for certificates and permits just so I could be sure that the clinic has all the capacity and legalities to operate. I found what I needed to see, so I just told myself to relax. Ten, fifteen minutes, I waited. Finally, the doctor told me to take the hot seat. He got one big syringe and another apparatus and injected something in my gums. After a few minutes, I could no longer feel my mouth. It was plain numb. Then he took one small plier- like thing and manuevered it to etract my tooth. Put the thing aside, and took a bigger one and another and another. This time, I could already feel the thrubbing pain in my gums. I almost fainted but realizing I was alone at that time, I steadied and kept my eyes fully shut. I wanted to scream and just ran away but I just cannot do that. I told him I could already feel the pain but he just said to just relax because this whole thing would be over any minute. And for the last time, he thrusted another thing into my mouth and while holding my jaw, pulled the tooth. At last! He succeeded; the agony was over. That was what I thought.
I glanced at the bloody tooth, and felt I wanted to sleep. It was as though I just came out of a battle. My energy was drained and worst, my mouth still felt numb. I couldn’t talk well. Even the effort of opening my mouth was so difficult to do.
Funny, I thought. How am I gonna tell the driver of the jeepney when I reached him my fare? Does he know about hand signals? I relaxed again and thought what to do. Then I saw my phone in my handbag. Maybe this may not look so funny after all. If I will just type the things that I wanted to say to the driver and have him read the message, then this wouldn’t be quite difficult. Then again, I realized. I am at the farthest end of the jeep. To do that, I have to pass my phone to at least eight people before the driver could read the message. Now, this will look funnier. I waited again for some ideas. And so I saw the one seating next to me. I thought if I could have him read my message and asked him to relay it to the driver, then there wouldn’t be any problem. I studied my seatmate this time. And after a few minutes, I decided to quit the idea. Because the one who happen to sit next to me seemed to care less about the world, much more to this unlucky creature (me).
A few more kilometers, and I will reach my place. I engulfed some air, breathe deeply, relaxed my throat and hand over my bill for my fare. When the driver asked me about where I would be getting off, at the top of my lungs I said, “Colon lang!”, as my numbed mouth seemed to drop down . And that’s it, he gave me the change.
It was my first time to have my tooth extracted by the dentist and so far, that was one hell of an experience which I would never forget. That is why I was so frightened when this two wisdom teeth of mine started to burst out of my gums. Although the pain was excruciating, I do not know which is harder to endure, the one caused by the natural growth of the teeth or the one caused by the removal, if I would have these teeth be removed.
Somehow I wish I was like my Mother who haven’t gone through this stage even at the age of 57. Maybe she was lucky enough to belong to the 35 percent of the population who do not develop wisdom teeth at all. Such a lucky woman, I suppose. Lol!