Life

The Little Pink Box of Horror

We all have our things we don’t like right? Some people are terrified of spiders while others are freaked out of roller coasters. Well, my confession is that dentures haunt me. 

That little pink box sat beside my sink in the bathroom. My toothbrush, not too far from it, sat in its cup dripping. “Strange”, I thought to myself. I haven’t brushed my teeth yet. I looked back at the pink box and realized that those pearly-white porcelain teeth were gone. There could only be one explanation then why my toothbrush was wet. 

My stomach began to churn as I frantically searched the closet for a new toothbrush. Churning turned into slight gagging. This became a morning ritual for quite some time. “Put your toothbrush in your drawer”, my Mom suggested. I tried that, yet somehow every morning it would still be wet. 

My dear Nana had dementia caused from a brain tumor. She lived with us for about a year and a half at the beginning stages of it until she needed further care. I loved her and felt terrible that she was going through this. She was a beautiful lady. Always prim and proper; The essence of etiquette. She would have been horribly embarrassed if she realized what she was doing each day. 

So, my Mom kindly stocked the closet with a plethora of toothbrushes for me. The strange thing was that my Nana, brother, and I all used the same bathroom. We all had our own toothbrushes too. Yet Nana would never go for Trevor’s or her own, only mine. 

Well that started my aversion to dentures. Then came my Grandma’s. The poor woman lost some weight and the denturist didn’t exactly do the best on her pearly-whites. They were always too big for her mouth. This would lead to them sliding down a bit and her trying to hold them up with her tongue when she talked. The churning began in my stomach again as I watched her struggle. How did she not gag? Strike number two for me. 

I did a CO-OP placement in high school in a hospital setting and loved every moment of it. It was such an incredible experience and a good insight to the working world. I had always wanted to be a nurse so I thrived in this setting. I tried to take in as much as I could while I was there. 

I thought I’d have a general sense of things when I started my Registered Practical Nurse schooling. I enjoyed the studies and practicing different tasks alongside other students. That was until I did my first clinical. It was in a nursing home. 

I had the sweetest first patient. She was so gentle, kind, and patient. We had lovely little chats as we did her morning routine together. It was all great until I walked in the bathroom. The little pink box sat by the sink once again. This time to my embarrassed horror, I had to open the box, take out the dentures, and give them a good clean before placing them in her mouth. 

I froze at the doorway. How on earth was I going to do this?? After a little pep-talk, I realized I needed to toughen up. I love this job. The woman is a sweetheart. It’ll only take a minute. Get to it and don’t think about it. 

Let’s just say I was thankful that I was the only one in that bathroom. I brushed and I gagged. Brushed and gagged. What took probably only 30 seconds felt like an eternity. I could barely stand it. “Why Lord? Why did I have to start in a nursing home? Why not the hospital? Why more dentures?”. It sounds petty, but that was such a sincere prayer at the time!

Michael had no idea of my secret aversion. He went through a stint where he enjoyed watching hilarious video clips on Youtube. He came across one of a man talking and his dentures bouncing up and down in his mouth. It looked hilarious and Michael was having a good laugh. I didn’t know what he was watching, but it sounded like I wanted to be a part of it. As soon as I started watching it though, a quick and strong onset of gagging took place. I was pretty much retching and couldn’t control it until the video ended. 

Killing himself laughing, he questioned my reaction. I had to tell him the story and confess my strong dislike of dentures. 

On a good note, it keeps me consistent with brushing my teeth and flossing on a very regular basis. I check with the hygienist each time to make sure that everything is going well with my teeth. Thankfully only two cavities in my life thus far, and one wasn’t even my fault. I mentioned my fear of those porcelain choppers, but she’s assured me that “I’m going to the box with [my] teeth”. 

I hope I’ve not offended anyone by this post. I realize that dental care wasn’t even close to what it used to be, and getting dental services is not cheap. No one wants dentures. They have to have them to eat … unless you’re like my great-grandma who chose not to get them and chewed with the three teeth she had left. I guess if babies can manage it, we can too. No shame. 

So, there you have it, my confession is out.

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