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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Ant & the Dentist

One of the biggest mortal fears of Arbitmind - The Dentist.

They all seem so very alike.
White coat, amiable & forever re-assuring. They all have this pet dialogue
"It is going to be just like an ant bite."

Trust Arbitmind, he has had to encounter this dialogue in three distant corners of  India,
the dialogue coming from three different dentists . 
"Peepre -r kamorer moton lagbe shudhu,bass" [circa 1999, Agartala] (in Bengali)

"Bas chinti ke kaantne jaisa lagega, bass"  [circa 2001, Med-C, BITS Pilani]

"Its just like an ant biting you. Nothing more"  [circa 2006, Pune]

Makes Arbitmind wonder whether this dialogue is actually a part of the standard Dentistry 
curriculum. Something that needs to be dished out to reluctant young patients before they
would actually lie on 'that couch', stare at the light & open his mouth. 

Lets 'face' this - Arbitmind hasn't been blessed with the most resolute dental health.
[Now Let Arbitmind assure the reader that he regularly brushes his teeth, twice a day. 
Come on now, you cannot castigate a man worth his salt for loving his 5star chocolate or
Butterscotch Ice-Cream. ]

From his early days , the poor guy has been a regular at the Dentist's place & had been
through two extractions & three 'fillings' even before he had completed high school. 
( One hell of a young achiever he has been )

Those traumatic experiences made sure that he never had a very favourable view of 
dentists. It seemed that they were this smooth talking types who would simply convince you 
to undergo barbaric 'treatments' by bringing a harmless ant into the picture.

In his school days, he had found out that the ant had almost never kept its promise.

However, the tragedy was that dental problems kept recurring. 

So , two extractions & three 'fillings' later, one fine morning , in 2001, Arbitmind was walking 
towards the Medical Centre(MedC to BITSians) within the BITS, Pilani campus. 
The facial topography 
was highly distorted - thanks to a nice little pre-molar which had decided to revolt.

Now, almost all of Arbitmind's trips to the MedC were for the primary purpose of getting a prescription
which would have the golden words "two days rest advised" written on it, ostensibly because he seemed to be stricken with
a mysterious ailment  (which included 'loose motion'+'headache'+'weakness')  before tests of certain courses  like 
'Mech Sol(mechanics of solids)', 'DMV(Dynamics of Machines & Vibrations)', NumAl(Numerical Analysis), OR(Operations Research), etc, etc. Those golden words increase your chances of getting a 'make-up' for the test. The guy who has been granted a make-up can write the test when he has recovered from the 'sickness'. 

However, that trip was different. It was a genuine case. The pain had become unbearable.
Pain relieving gels had failed to do the trick. 'The trip' had to be made.

A little enquiry suggested that there was a dentist available.
Got into his cabin.

The same look.. deja vu?
Very amiable.
Had a long look at the pre-molar tooth & then broke the news,

"I will have to do a root canal treatment". 
It sounded much like "Ab inhe dawa ki nahi, duwa ki zaroorat hain" to Arbitmind's ears.

Arbitmind(throat parched) : "When do you want to do it ?"

Dentist : "3 sittings, I will start right now. The infection has not spread much.
          1 sitting now. Then you will be on antibiotics & we can have the 2 sittings next week."

Arbitmind(that sinking feeling in the stomach) : What is the procedure ?

Dentist : "Ahh !! Nothing much. You see these pins?" (pointing to a few sinister looking needles)
          "I will just cut out the nerve of the root of your tooth using these. It becomes a dead tooth.
           Won't cause you any trouble then. We can then put a cap covering the tooth. Simple"

Arbitmind(aghast & sweating, barely managing to conceal the stammer) : Pain ?

Dentist : "Bas chinti ke kaantne jaisa lagega, bass"

There you go !!! The damned ant.... again. !!!

Arbitmind : "OK. Aap prepare karo. Main aapni cycle thik jagah park karke aata hoon. Main socha tha ki jaldi ho jayega isliye, gate ke samne laga ke aya hoon. 5 minute me wapas aata hoon"

["you make the preparations. I shall be back after parking my cycle in the right place. Thought it would be a short trip, 
so I have parked it in front of the gate. Shall be back in 5 minutes"]

Dentist (gleefully) : "OK. Be back soon."

Arbitmind came out of the MedC. The pain had mysteriously subsided.
Time for the great escape. There was no way Arbitmind was going back to that cabin.
Those sinister needles !!! There must be some way out. Anyway he had trusted this ant story so many times before.  
He hurriedly walked towards Nutan market, looking out for a medicine shop.
(God Almighty knows how long did the dentist wait for Arbitmind.)

The affable Chemist listened to his problem, suggested a painkiller & an antibiotic. So kind of him.

It took three days but the painkiller & the antibiotic worked & the pre-molar was beaten back into submission. Dentists were not in vogue any more. The chemist was such a nice guy.

Victory !!! 
Arbitmind was so proud of himself. A flash of quick thinking had saved the day for him. 

The ant had been vanquished.(Even the wingies were spellbound by this tale)

Cut To 2006 AD.  Place : Pune 

Dentist :"Its been like this for quite sometime, this pre-molar of yours"

Arbitmind(in extreme pain) : "Been there since college "

Dentist :"Root Canal is the only way out. Now even antibiotics won't be effective & pain killers won't kill the pain. You should 
have done the RCT long ago. No one told you to do the RCT?"

Arbitmind(almost howling in pain) : "Forget it. Now what ?"

Dentist :"RCT. no other way out. Take these tablets. The inflammation will come down a bit & come tomorrow evening. 
We need to start right away. If you don't do the RCT now , it will have to be extracted. Got it ?"

Arbitmind (unbearable pain) : "RCT, RCT, I agree. No problems"

Dentist :"OK. Then. we shall start tomorrow."

Arbitmind(fighting back the pain) : "Will it be painful ?"

Dentist :"Its just like an ant biting you. Nothing more" 


"& anyway its going to be less painful than what you are going through right now"


The damned ant.

FYI: The RCT was done. The experience was too traumatic to even write about.
     Bloody Ant.



sap said...

i had a friend in my PS who was terribly docile, and looked perpetually in fear, always looked over his shoulder to see if someone is coming for his ass. Obviously he was the punching bag in office, made to fetch the printouts and get the photocopies, even for us batchmates!

Once, out of curiosity, i asked him, dude what are you so scared about.

- scared? who? me? (again with that alerted-defensive expression)

- were you always bullied in life? whats wrong with you? did you have any bad chilhood or what?

- no, they just did a root canal on me, without anasthetics!

i hope you get well soon! :P

Yatish said...

Boring story. I would rather hear the story about your hairs :)
BTW which story has sadder ending, hair or tooth?

Gargi said...

hello!! this one was really good!! :) how have you been?