This is my second entry for this weekly bit of fun. Well, technically it's only my first since last week I cheated and pulled something out of the archives. And, I might add, was severely punished for my indiscretion by having nobody go read it! LOL! Lesson learned: NO CHEATING!
This Week's Prompt: 2.) Worst dentist experience ever.
The little girl sat in the sat in the waiting room with pale blue walls, white trim, and blue and white furniture, staring wistfully at the huge aquarium, thinking that the room should be inside it with all the fish swimming around the lamps and through the chair legs. She was so engrossed in her fantasy that the House Mother had to call her twice when the nurse said it was time to go back to see the dentist. Slowly she uncurled herself from the comfy chair and walked stiffly toward the open door. The big girls at The House had told her all about dentists and she was more than a little apprehensive about what awaited on the other side. However, she would never let them know that she was afraid. She’d learned at a young age that fear is something that can be used to hurt you and she would never let anyone have that power over her again. The pretty nurse in the white dress smiled as she reached to take the little girl’s hand, but taking it would show weakness so the little girl simply stiffened more and walked past her into the brightly lit hall.
What was that funny smell, she wondered as she followed the nurse into the second room on the right. It was something she’d never smelled before, but it wasn’t really unpleasant. The nurse helped her into a big black chair with padded arms and a foot rest that her feet couldn’t reach. Then the nurse put a bib around her neck. The little girl thought it was strange that the nurse assumed she was such a baby that she would drool on her clothes, but she didn’t want to hurt the nice lady’s feelings by refusing to cooperate. After a few minutes, the old dentist came in and sat on a stool by the chair. He talked sweetly about what he was going to do, explaining that it was important for him to check each one of her teeth to be sure they were healthy. She thought that it didn’t sound so bad; not at all like the big girls had said it would be. The dentist showed her his tool that looked a lot like a long, skinny ice pick with a curve at the end. He said it was to help him count her teeth and asked her to open wide so he could begin.
One, two, three, four, she silently counted with him as he touched each tooth. Five, six, sev....OUCH! The little girl jumped and squealed loudly, startling the poor nurse so much that she nearly dropped the tray she was holding for the dentist. He, however, just sat waiting patiently for her to calm down enough so they could start again. The little girl quickly re-gathered her courage and opened her mouth. Eight, nine, teeeeeennnnn. This time the pain didn’t catch her so off guard and she was able to just whimper softly and squirm some instead of screaming in pain like she wanted to. And the dentist continued to count; glancing knowingly at the nurse each time the little girl squirmed and whimpered, the tears streaking down her small face. All in all, he found six teeth that were not very healthy at all.
The dentist patted the little girl gently on the arm and asked the nurse to go and bring in the House Mother. The little girl heard him ask the woman how a seven-year-old’s mouth could be in such bad shape. The House Mother explained that she’d only lived at the orphanage for a few weeks and before that had basically been raising herself. It was a wonder that all of her teeth weren’t rotted out of her head. The dentist told the woman that three had to be filled, one needed a crown, and two baby teeth could be pulled because the adult teeth were coming in under them. The little girl tried to listen as best as she could, but couldn’t hear much after that because they lowered their voices to just above a whisper.
After a few minutes, the dentist and the House Mother came back into the room and began explaining what was wrong with the little girl’s teeth. The kind dentist showed her a picture of teeth with fillings and explained how they would protect her baby teeth until the adult teeth were ready to grow in. She asked if it would hurt like the counting did and he assured her that he would make sure that it didn’t hurt at all. She also wanted to know if they fixed her teeth would that make her mouth stop hurting when she drank cold things. His assurance that it would indeed stop that hurt was all she needed to be excited about having the work done. He wanted to know if she was up to doing the first part today. She smiled brightly and said she sure was. That bright smile lasted about 3 seconds.
The dentist nodded to the nurse, held out his hand, and received what the little girl thought was the biggest needle she had ever seen in her whole life. He turned back to her and asked her to again open her mouth wide. Suddenly she remembered her first visit to the doctor when she came to the orphanage a few weeks before. They’d given her shots in her arm and hip with needles that were tiny by comparison, and those tiny needles had hurt like crazy. There was NO WAY she was going to let them stick that big sucker in her mouth! She immediately pulled her knees up to her chin and buried her face in the arms she’d wrapped firmly around them. No amount of coaxing could get her to lift her head until they promised to put the needle away. Reluctantly, the kind dentist handed it back to the nurse and sat patiently waiting for the little girl to look up.
“Honey,” he said, “we have to work on your teeth so they don’t hurt you anymore.”
“Ok, you can work on them,” said the little girl, “but I don’t want a shot.”
“The shot is to keep it from hurting like it did when we were counting,” said the kind man.
“It didn’t hurt that much,” lied the little girl. “I don’t want a shot. Just fix my teeth without the needle.”
The gentle dentist shook his head and said that she didn’t understand how painful the drilling would be without any numbing medicine, but the little girl stood firm on the fact that she was not going to allow him into her mouth with the huge needle. Finally, after a very long time, the dentist and the House Mother stepped back outside and she heard the House Mother tell him to just do what he needed to do. And he did. But only to one tooth.
All through the procedure, the little girl sat quietly, eyes squeezed tightly shut, tears streaming down her cheeks; her knuckles white from gripping the arms of the chair so tightly. Twice, the dentist asked her again if she would please take the shot, but she still refused. To back down now would show too much fear, and that just was not going to happen. Finally, after what seemed like a million hours it was done and the little girl slowly opened her eyes. Beside her, with his head in his hands, the kind dentist sat sobbing quietly. Across the room, the nurse and the House Mother stood arm-in-arm; the House mother with a wad of tear-filled tissues clutched to her mouth; the nurse openly sobbing as she dabbed at her eyes. Seeing the pain in all their faces was nearly too much for the little girl. She hated being the reason they were crying. Very softly, she reached up and touched the dentist’s face and said, “Please don’t cry. I promise that next time I will take the shot.” She looked toward the two women, “Oh, please, please don’t cry anymore.” Moving in unison, all three adults pulled the little girl into a group hug. It was the first time in her life that she realized how her own actions could have very strong effects on others, causing them pain.
It was a lesson she would never forget.