The trees are down and stored away for another year. Most of the other holiday paraphernalia is still on the guest beds waiting for me to get down the proper big boxes to put stuff away in. The little manager scenes are yet undisturbed perhaps because I am reluctant to admit the season is over and that I should be getting on to other duties. Or perhaps because expected and unexpected appointments have limited and confused any efforts at a regular schedule, so it has seemed easier just to continue on in vacation mode doing only the most minor but necessary tasks. Or perhaps it is because I am old enough that energy is limited and ambition almost non-existent.
In less than a week now, the stitches will be taken out of the palm of my right hand where the carpal tunnel problem has been corrected. . I assume the “Do not get it wet” order will also be suspended then. The bulky bandage was taken off last week and replaced with just a large band-aid. I shall be glad for this final step, although my excuse for doing nothing will be taken away from me, and I admit to sort of enjoying this lazy spell. I was first told not to lift anything heavier than a pound, and then a therapist said she told patients it was better to not lift anything heavier than a piece of paper. The less sore the incision is the more I forget and use my right hand naturally although I am trying to be protective. Everything about the procedure has gone very well. The pain pills that Gerald made a special trip to town to pick up for me have never needed to be opened.
Two nights before the scheduled surgery, however, I broke a front tooth out at supper. It was one week before an appointment with a new dentist scheduled six months ago. That was certainly discomforting. My teeth have been a mess for years—partly I assume because I was never able to adjust to wearing a partial decades ago. That dentist was very fine and tried very hard. I did learn to speak with the partial in, but I could not adjust to wearing it, no matter what the dentist did. Gerald always explains that if I wasn’t born with it, I can’t wear it. After constantly taking my glasses off unconsciously and leaving them where I knew not, I have finally learned to leave them on most of the time as my eye sight has weakened through the years. But necklaces and dentures never became something I could stand for very long at a time. Anyhow that weakness of mine is how I explain my awful teeth situation and the small fortune spent on them through the years. It also explains a slight guilt complex I have about my teeth.
When I hesitantly called the new dentist office about my crisis, I felt like an interloper not deserving attention since I had never even been there yet. The receptionist on the telephone, however, could not have been sweeter or nicer if I had been her biological sister. Fortunately there had been a couple of cancellations that very morning for the partner of the dentist I was originally scheduled to see. Before I knew it, I was sitting in his chair and getting a root canal and being encouraged by him to believe my problem was quite fixable. Both the dentist and his staff were so conscientious and caring to make sure I understood that I was considered a person in need of attention and I was on their call-as- soon-a-s possible list when they had another cancellation. Otherwise I had an appointment for March 2 to get a new tooth to fill that awful gap in the front of my face. On Tuesday, I received a call to come in yesterday morning. I left the office with a new tooth that matched my others perfectly since they had kept and matched the color of my broken-off tooth, which I had taken with me in a sandwich bag. I could not have had a more heart-warming and confidence-producing introduction to my new dental office.
Down through the years, I have heard some terrible horror stories of arrogant and unkind receptionists who poorly served patients. I have been fortunate to not have to tolerate that sort of cruelty, but I have sympathized with those who have. I have no respect for a physician or dentist who allows discourtesy or damage to patients by underlings. Some friends have doctors in a group practice who have claimed for that reason they could not control the staff. Thus, they acted as if they were innocent of their staff’s rudeness or even neglect to pass information onto to the doctor. I never bought that bunk for one minute. Depending on the rarity of the specialty available in our area, however, some have had to put up with this nonsense in order to get needed care. I believe the atmosphere and behavior of his or her staff is not only the responsibility of one’s doctor but is likely created by the doctor. I left my new dentist office totally convinced that the warmth and pleasantness I experienced there reflected and enhanced his competence and concern.