Of Gnashing Teeth And Dimming Ears
It's a nerve-shattering tissue-jellifying and bone-loosening exercise to go for a hospital check up, at least for me, and though docs have been close pals to me to the extent that during the lull following my graduation, I did keep nightly vigil for docs who would vanish for a few hours during the internship and leave me in charge of the gory business of dealing with emergencies. I could write a book on those experience, but Robin Cook may turn green -heh. No sweat. But when it comes to self being under the spotlight, I still get chills and the heebie jeebies.
So when the lady dentist peered into my shyly opening mouth last night, I was praying that no cavities nor root canal business would be announced. She had been warned by me that I hadn't been to a dentist for two decades... and she looked horrified. To aggrevate matters when I said I had never got myself de-plaqued, she gave me a look as if I were The Mummy who had de-banded his body to show his missing gums. Vigorous brushing does get plaque removed, I now know. No need for a dentist to do that... But to everyone's relief she almost yelled in glee that my teeth were perfect. Too good, no problems. I thought I had hit the jackpot. A recent spate of hospitalization has left some huge blocks of irrational fear transplanted in my brain, uselessly. 'Transplanted' and not implanted, because there was no fear in my mind to begin with. The wellwishers in their shivering hordes, bombard you with their gamma rays of fear.
Oh boy what relief. She remarked, that those who do not care for their teeth generally have very good teeth. This was a teaser, I wondered. There was a sigh of desparation on the flip side of the pronouncement, I noticed. A good professor of economics jumped to my mind. The couple did not have kids for decades, and finally had one in the US of A. Now we all know that those guys are over-fussy about disinfecting their whole world. When the couple returned to India, they used to spray even the walls of their entire house and even the poor kid's toys, with Dettol. What could happen? The fist time the boy stepped out of the house to fetch his ball when mother was not looking, he got infected. He nearly died in the hospital, and Indian docs, may their tribe increase faster than terrorists, gave him a piece of their mind. The boy was then allowed to wallow in the mud. He never fell sick again. For decades he was hale and hearty.
So making friends with microbes is the only thing -make pals with crocodiles if you want live in water, so goes a Guju maxim and that has helped me a lot. Forgetting to brush your teeth like I do, when I travel, is a boon as my teeth have served me well for half a century or more now. Never had toothache ever !
Similarly an itch in the ear, if attended to gently is good, believe me. Ear drops are not a good idea. Running to a doc is even worse. Three of us once went for a check up. The actor amongst us had blobs of gooey muck in one ear. The lecturer had a plug of wax the size of small wine bottle's cork in his right ear. His hearing became overkeen and he kept telling us not to shout for weeks... we left him alone. The good lady doc peered into my ears and said there is nothing to clean. Cleanest ears I ever saw... and imagine the last time I used ear drops was something like forty years ago at school. The last finger on our hands is a useful device.
Immunity comes the hard way. Mollycoddling reduces us all to pampered little babies. Isn't it?
Nilima Shastri, a close friend, once saw a newly born baby being abandoned by the tribal mother, right under the spout of a roof in a neighbouring house. When the young mother was away, it started to rain. The baby was right under the gushing water for six hours... no one could rescue here from the heavily guarded and well fenced house. The baby did not catch pneumonia, nor die a blue death. Nilima was wonderstruck. Have you ever seen tribals line up at clinics or hospitals ? I have never seen such a thing. No tribal died of cancer or heart disease or ten thousand other diseases which you or me could catch easily.
Pamperers, give up the dark arts of self-mollycoddling, please !
Go out and get drenched in the rain... I always do. Ahem.