Thursday, September 16, 2010

More than just a Bad Hair Day

Like girls, guys also have bad hair days. I know this for a fact because I used to have bad hair days back when I still had dreadlocks, and, well, I'm a guy.

The difference between a guy bad hair day and a girl bad hair day, however, is that unless you point out to a guy that he is having a bad hair day, most men will never tell when they are having a bad hair day. Just ask Donald Trump, or the people of Sotik constituency and the guy they kept electing to parliament before the NARC wave.

You can also ask me about what transpired one day when I went to Mengo Hospital for a dental procedure, back in the days when I still had dreadlocks.

A dear friend of mine once told me that at the dentist's, everything is twice as painful as it looks and thrice more painful than you think. That is no exeggeration, so for those of you that have never placed their behinds on a dentist's chair for a procedure, allow me this opportunity to issue a profound warning: Start taking much better care of your teeth than you are doing right now. Because trust me, you do NOT want to ever find yourself on that chair.

Anyway, I wasn't lucky enough to have someone give me the kind of warning I am giving you now, so at some point in time, I found myself in unfortunate need of an extremely urgent dental procedure. I'd once procured the services of Mengo Hospital following a late night altercation with a couple of panga-wielding characters intent on relieving me of my phone and other valuables, [but that is a story for another day,] and had liked their services. Thus when the aforementioned need for a dental procedure arose, it was to Mengo that I immediately headed.

Mengo Hospital is quite a large institution. Add to this the fact that I don't quite like hanging around hospitals and therefore do not often hang around hospitals, It was quite obvious that I was going to encounter a bit of trouble locating the dental department where my painfully pressing needs could be addressed. So in short, I soon found myself totally lost in the hospital hallways, clutching my jaw like a driver who has just hit Mike Tyson's car and was stupid enough to get out to apologize.

The most obvious thing one ought to do when faced with such difficulty would be of course to ask somebody familliar with the place for directions, and in a hospital the person most likely to know where places such as dental departments are located would be a nurse.  Thus I stopped a nurse doing her rounds, [I know how a nurse looks like because every heterosexual man has fantasies about nurses in uniform,] and asked her to tell me where I could find the dental department.

The nurse, a petite little thing in a starched uniform who looked like anything straight from one of my aforementioned fantasies, looked at me as if she didn't comprehend my question. Then she sized me up, spending about a minute looking at my hair before she pointed to a flight of stairs. "Just head up those stairs and turn left." She said. "Beyond it you will find a red brick building and someone there will attend to you."

It had been a puzzling experience, but my tooth was at that point threatening to dig a hole right through my jaw, so I gave it very little thought as I gratefully made my way towards where I had been directed.

When I got there, the first thing I noticed was two heavily armed guards. Why would a dental department require armed guard? I thought and then stopped thinking as my toothache stopped working on my jaw and sent a jolt of pain through my gum. Quickly, I went to one of the guards. "Where can I find a doctor? I'm in pain." I asked.

The guard looked at me, mumbled something to his colleague about an apparent shortage of barbers in Kampala and both of them laughed. "Go back to the ward." He told me. "The doctor will be there presently."


"Excuse me, but since when has the dental department of any hospital ever required wards?" I asked.

That must have been the stupidest question I have ever asked in my entire life, because the guard now looked at me like you would look at someone who has just asked you the stupidest question you have ever heard in your entire life.

"This is not the dental department." He told me. "It is the mental department." 

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