Someone was knocking on the door. A young girl in pink scrubs walked in, placing a file on the counter.
“I’m Judy, Dr. Gray’s assistant. Can I get you anything?” she asked.
“No, thanks,” Daphne said.
“He’ll be right in,” she said, closing the door behind her.
This is like a creepy dentist’s office without the windows, Daphne thought. She considered backing out but changed her mind. She’d been saving money for months and she wasn’t going to let a little apprehension stop her. I’m ready to be thin. This is my last resort, she thought.
The door opened and Dr. Gray walked in.
“Hello, Daphne,” he said, smiling. “How are you feeling?” he asked, sitting on a stool and placing his hand on her arm.
“Nervous and excited.”
“Well, your vitals look good. I don’t see any reason why we can’t get this done today and tomorrow you’ll be starting a new life. Ready?”
He flipped through her file on the counter.
“Good. Any questions before we get started?”
“Will it hurt?”
“No, not at all. Let’s recap. No solids for 24 hours. Small sips of water for at least 12 hours after the procedure. You’ll feel some discomfort tomorrow because your tongue will be sore from the injections. By the day after tomorrow, you should be back to your old self. You’ll still feel your tongue, of course, but you won’t be able to taste a thing. The middle of your tongue might feel numb but most patients report this subsides. Remember, numbing taste buds lasts four to six weeks. Taste will return gradually. Until then, you’ll feel hunger and might have to force yourself to eat. It will be strange feeling food in your mouth and not tasting it but you’ll grow accustomed to this. Remember what you learned about desire versus real hunger in your prep classes. Also, remember the worst habits are the mental ones,” he said, tapping her head.
He stood and checked his watch. “Ready?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, feeling queasy.
“I think you’ll be pleased with the results. It’s a great way to jump start any diet,” he said, eyeing a tray of instruments.
He opened the door and spoke into the hallway. Judy stepped into the room as he put latex gloves on.
“Relax. I’m going to rub this on your tongue to make it numb. It will be like what the dentist uses before he gives you a shot. Open for me.”
It tasted bitter and she realized this would be the last thing she’d taste for four weeks. She winced as it ran down the back of her throat. Think thin, she repeated to herself.
“I know this tastes bad, but it’ll pass,” he said.
“Let’s wait for this to kick in.”
She thought about being skinny as her tongue began to feel heavy.
“Open for me. Can you feel this?”
She shook her head.
“Great. Let’s begin,” he said, grabbing a syringe.
“Open wide, like at the dentist… Good.”
Daphne watched the syringe until she couldn’t see it anymore. She stared at the lights above.
“First of three,” he said, placing the syringe on the tray.
Judy handed him another syringe. He was poised above Daphne with one hand in her mouth. She watched as he lowered the syringe with his other hand. Think thin, she thought.
“You’re doing great. One more and we’ll be done.”
Judy handed him the last syringe. Daphne’s eyes grew large as he brought it closer to her mouth.
“Open a little wider… Good.”
She felt weak as he pulled the syringe away. She thought of everything that might go wrong and immediately pictured herself thin.
“That’s it. You did fantastic,” he said, removing the gloves.
“Rest for a moment. I’ll be back. If you need anything or start to feel strange, please tell Judy.”
Looking at Judy, he said, “Make sure she has all the literature and copies of the paperwork.”
“Yes, doctor,” she said as he left the room.
They filled her arms with pamphlets and papers, which she dumped in the passenger seat of her car. All the way home, she rubbed her thick tongue on the roof of her mouth.
Watching television later that night, she wanted pizza.
The next morning, she wanted donuts. She drank bland coffee, watching the clock. After the 24 hours, she was starving and still wanted donuts. She felt relief pulling into the Dunkin Donuts lot.
She spread the dozen donuts out on her kitchen table, smiling. She couldn’t taste anything but she remembered taste and felt satisfied swallowing every tasteless, greasy lump.
She thought pizza for lunch and chicken for dinner sounded good.
I hope this starts working soon. I’m ready to be thin, she thought, licking her sticky fingers.
Kim Smith © 2009