This morning I went to the dentist. I’ve been seeing the same dentist since I was five and the staff there has always been great, so I don’t actually mind going.
Well, I didn’t mind going until today.
Promptly at 9am I was greeted by my hygienist and escorted back to the chair, and as I got settled in she started to.. um… “share.”
She told me about her dog that died recently, and that they got a new one that they named after her dad who passed away a few months ago. And she thinks that could have been prevented, because he had a heart attack 6 weeks before the scheduled EKG he was supposed to have. And her husband’s been out of work for the last 18 months, and he can’t find another job. And he doesn’t do anything around the house, even though he’s not working. And they have no health insurance. So it’s a good thing that she had those breast lumps removed before he lost his job (and the insurance). The doctor she went to was a complete butcher, I should see the scars. (No, thank you.) And her sister-in-law is moving in with them next month with her husband and their 4 kids. Now that dad died, they have extra room. The sister-in-law also just adopted a pit bull, which she thinks is totally irresponsible. The dog’s coming, too. To join their 5 dogs. All of the dogs can’t fit in bed with them, so she and her husband sleep in separate beds. And the one dog has a bladder issue and very short legs, so she has to get up a couple of times a night to lift the dog on and off the bed and let him out. The dogs are her kids, because she can’t have them. And her nephew’s baseball team just won the regional championships. (OH MY GOD! A BRIGHT SPOT!!) He didn’t look very happy after the win, but that was because he was so nervous about the big game that her sister had to pump him full of Immodium to make it through the whole thing. (Yep, should’ve seen that one coming…) She has a really bad stomach, too. In fact her whole family does, and they all eat Immodium like candy. She was so glad she brought a whole purse full on her Florida trip…
At this point she has finally gotten the tools unpacked and is ready to start the cleaning.
Yes. Really. If it wasn’t so damn hard to get an appointment rescheduled I would have been sprinting for the door like… well, like her family without Immodium apparently. I began to pray for an emergency dental surgery that would require full anesthesia.
No such luck.
For the next 30 minutes she regaled me with stories of every ill visited upon her and her extended family while she gouged at my gums. Her mother’s recurring headaches. Her cousin’s cancer. Her dog’s incontinence. There was apparently nothing too horrible or trifling to dump in my lap as I lay trapped in the chair. I was her captive audience.
Now I’m one of those people who believes that there are lessons to be learned from everything. So after the
torture cleaning was complete and I was escaping driving home I realized that this situation taught me two:
Lesson #1: Be thoughtful about what you share. It’s perfectly fine to show your human side and let people into your world, but try to keep it reasonable. Even though it may be important to you, complete strangers don’t want to hear about your crap. Save it for your therapist or BFF.
Lesson #2: “Whoever’s available” are two very dangerous words. Choose a hygienist in advance.