I sat in the chair, my mouth held open with taut synthetic objects wedged between my teeth and gums; the dentist disappeared around the corner to take his annual pictures. The dental assistant tipped me back, removed the offensive articles and began cleaning, the brush noisily whirring in the compact partition. My throbbing knees started to whine after ten minutes of staying in the same position. I shifted, keeping a vigilant eye on the sharp tool the assistant brandished in her hand. My rigid muscles transmitted an unrelenting ache to the rest of my joints; I had a vision of them marching like workers on a picket line, holding up placard signs demanding the movement of my body. The whining in my knees trekked past my hips and into my shoulders; my elbows throbbed. I was confined to the chair, an attractive brunette hanging over my open mouth, listening to the high-pitched whir of the drill penetrate my tooth, my frozen gums vibrating to the music. The old lady joined the picket line and began to tap dance on my bones. I stared at the clock on the wall, loathing the dawdling rotation of the second-hand behind its sanitized window. My mind reeled at the mishmash of buzzing tooth brushes, gurgling water hoses, the slushy sound of suction, the dentist chatting to his assistant and the clamour of my stiffening joints…I couldn’t stand to remain still any longer….I realized I might have to choose between the survival of my teeth or my joints…I needed to leap out of the chair and walk, or skip or dance, anything to shatter the increasing stiffness…but there was a drill in my mouth, the dentist’s poking fingers…can’t wait much longer…teeth or joints…okay – one two,three…
And then, those heavenly words: “Alright, you’re all done. You can go.”
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.