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Life & Events > "You Haven't Changed"

"You Haven't Changed"

said Ed when I recalled an incident from my early childhood. My parents wanted to have my teeth checked. I was about 5 years old. They took me to a free clinic in the Cook County Hospital Medical complex that was not far from where we lived on West Madison Street in Chicago. They didn’t tell me anything, it was all sudden and frightening.

An outing with my parents, what fun. Off in my uncle's car, a treat. Go into this huge building What is this? Hey, it seems to be about ME. Whoa. I was taken into a hangar like room with about 50 dental chairs and all of them filled with young children and surrounded with dental technicians in training. I was put into a chair. I resisted, I kept my mouth closed, I struggled. They had a plan for children like me. I was picked up and shoved (they had to shove because I was about to get away) into a small private room and they closed and locked the door.

There was a cot and a chair and a window. I was quiet, contemplating my circumstances. I lay down on the cot and free-associated. When that got boring, I looked out the window. There was a neighborhood ball game going on in a lot across the street. I watched it for a while. Finally I thought “enough” and started kicking the door. The staff came and dragged me back to the chair where, and this part is fuzzy, they must have succeeded in examining my mouth.

Ed thinks I am still like that today. I can’t be sorry. My parents should have prepared me for the event so that I wasn’t blindsided, and, frankly, who were these strangers who thought they had the right to invade my person? I seem to have been born with the “Don’t mess with me” gene.

xx, Teal

posted on May 24, 2017 5:59 AM ()


I don't have much good to say about my early dentist experiences, either.
comment by troutbend on May 27, 2017 9:24 PM ()
I have early horrors of the dentist. Mine wasn't a student but he got mad when I cried.
comment by elderjane on May 25, 2017 9:10 AM ()
my first dentist was just around the corner, had toys in his waiting room and, often, his young son would be there and we would play together. They're both gone now.
reply by tealstar on May 26, 2017 3:19 PM ()
Fear of the unknown is powerful, especially for a five-year-old. And dentists were nowhere near as civilized as they are today.
comment by jjoohhnn on May 24, 2017 7:07 AM ()
These were students, hence the "free" part of the experience. And, apparently, since they were already prepared with a lockdown room, my reaction wasn't all that unusual.
reply by tealstar on May 24, 2017 9:40 AM ()

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