Monday, March 06, 2006


Not all memories of Kakaako are pleasant.

Mention the word dentist and my blood pressure jumps up a few notches. Let me stand in front of a dental office and it jumps up again. All I have to do is talk to the receptionist and it goes up even further. By the time I come face to face with the dentist my heart is pounding and my head feels like a volcano ready to erupt.

Twice I was sent home from St. Francis Hospital's Dental Clinic because my blood pressure was too high.

The only dentist that I remember in Kakaako had his office on Queen St. between Kamani St. and Ward Ave. Because his drill did not rotate very fast, filling cavities was a very painful experience. I swear that I can still smell the smoke that came out of my mouth as the drill burnt rather than ground the rot out of the cavity.

I have only one recollection of a needle being used to numb the tooth and I'm convinced that the needle was a foot long and as big around as the barrel of a shotgun.

The price, however, was consistent -- $1 per visit regardless of what was done. I would like to have said that the price was cheap, but in those days a dollar purchased a large package of groceries.

There was an alternative to going to this dentist. We had the option of going to Palama Settlement, which had medical and dental facilities as well as recreational and educational programs. The cost of an extraction ranged from 25 to 45 cents. The pain factor, however, was the same as in Kakaako.


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