Projects > Story-of-the-Day > teeth
TeethHarold took 600mg of Ibuprofen. He was down to three teeth: an upper molar and the two lower central incisors. The jaws of the locking pliers gripped the molar as Harold tightened its screw. He looked at himself in the mirror, carefully gripped the handles and steeled himself. He executed a forceful twisting motion resulting in the simultaneous extraction of the molar and his body falling limply to the mattress that he was standing on.
He always looks so peaceful right after. I watched as he slept. He was out for around fifteen minutes. When he woke up, he first checked the pliers to make sure the tooth made it out. He removed it from the pliers and was beaming with happiness as he carefully examined it. He looked up at a corner of the room and said, "See you soon!". He then attended to his injury, cleaned everything up and sat on the couch with a lollipop. It was 10AM so it would be many hours still.
Around 2PM he got a phone call. He didn't say anything about it, but Harold seemed upset. He sighed heavily after hanging up, and spent the next few hours cleaning up his apartment.
At 6:30PM there was a knock at the door. Harold opened it and his daughter Chelsea came in carrying Chinese take-away. She walked past Harold and placed the boxes of food on the kitchen counter. "Hi Dad. I know you said that today wasn't good. But we need to get together every once in a while to have dinner and talk."
Harold closed the door. "Hello, Chels. I tried to tell you that I had a big lunch so I'm just not hungry today."
Chelsea looked at her dad's face carefully, then went to grab a fork. "Well, I'll eat. We can just talk then. So how is everything? Are you doing fine here?" She twirled her fork into one of the boxes and stuffed a large mouthful of lo mein into her mouth.
Harold sat on a couch and watched her chew. "Yup, everything is fine here." A small drop of blood appeared at the corner of his lips. He didn't notice.
She chewed slowly staring at it. After swallowing, she said, "So, Dad. What exactly did you eat for lunch?"
Harold looked down as the drop of blood fell to his pants. He got up and went into the bathroom. He came out holding some gauze. "It was a big bowl of nachos. I think I must have cut myself on the chips. I should complain about those things."
Chelsea walked towards Harold. "Dad, let me see your teeth." He initially resisted, but eventually open his mouth. She quickly look in and then looked sternly at her father, "You said it stopped, that the medication was working." She turned around, but then twirled back to face him, "Dad, you had five teeth left just three weeks ago when I was last here."
Harold looked down and quietly responded, "I can only talk to her three more times, then I'm done. It's not like having five teeth is so different than two, or even none anyway. I'm just going to finish then I'll be done."
"Are you even taking the medicine?"
Harold kept silent, looking down.
"Ok, dad. We talked about this. If you can't take your medicine, then you can't live here alone. It's just not safe for you. What if you decide to start chopping off fingers or something."
Harold looked up and enthusiastically responded, "No, no. Only teeth work." He then downplayed his enthusiasm, "Look, I'll do the last two teeth then I'll go in to the doctor and take whatever drugs they come up with. Deal?"
Chelsea looked at him and sighed. "I bet you want me to leave so you can do your whole tooth process, huh?" Nobody talked as she turned towards the kitchen, closed up all the boxes and put them in the refrigerator. As she was putting on her coat, she turned to look at her father, "I'm calling the doctor tomorrow. We will go see him as soon as possible. That's just non-negotiable."
"Fine. I can go and talk."
"Dad, I love you. I just don't like seeing you hurting yourself like that." She kissed him on his forehead. "I'll call tomorrow, please take care of yourself."
As soon as the door closed, Harold's eyes lit up. "It's time!" He went and got a glass of water that he set by his bed. He quickly changed into pajamas and curled up in his sheets. "Oh, I almost forgot!" He got up and brought the molar he had pulled out. He carefully placed it under his pillow. He looked up and said, "See you soon!"
Ten minutes later he was sleeping. Finally, I could go and visit him! I entered and gently tapped him on his shoulder. "Wake up my love. Your little tooth fairy is here."
He turned over and smiled a nearly toothless grin. "We only have two more visits. Let's make them last."