I'm pretty sure that 8:00 is their first appointment time slot, and when I arrived there was only one other person in the lobby. After filling out a privacy form, or a personal information release form of some sort, I was called back before the other person.
My hygienist—who was not my regular hygienist Leann because this was a rescheduled appointment for me and Leann was already booked with someone else—said, "You're the very first patient in our new office." I didn't realize in all of the notifications that the day of my appointment was going to be their very first day in their new office. Cool.
She took x-rays of my teeth since it had been two years since they'd been taken. She laid one of those, what I always think of as "full metal jackets," across my chest, stomach, and 'nads. I have the impression that they put that on to protect your boys from potentially getting sterilized as a result of the rays (which might be totally untrue), and I'm always tempted to say—and have at times said, "We can skip that step; I had a vasectomy 23 years ago." Today I resisted that urge.
Instead of that little t-shaped cardboard thing they usually put in my mouth to bite down on to take an x-ray, she put in this new-fangled contraption with a pipe that stuck out of it and a ring on the outside that she pushed up against my cheek. Then she said, "Smile so I can see your teeth," which made me feel like a horse for some reason, perhaps because that thing in my mouth had just made me think of "chomping at the bit." But I digress...
Every time she got the x-ray machine arm where she wanted it and let it go, it drifted just a little bit. Finally getting it to stay put, she took the first picture, which turned out totally black. I was happy to hear it was due to some errant setting on the new machine and not due to a diagnosis on my mouth: "Cancer. Covered with it." With that said, I really don't know if it would be all black—or all white, or neither—if cancer were the case. But I digress yet again...
The next new thing in today's visit was a pair of sunglasses, which I was given right before she pulled that bright light up that shines in your eyes so they can see better while they're prodding and poking around in your oral cavity. "You got any in 3D?" I quipped as she handed the pair to me. Seriously, though, I'd say they did "enhance my customer experience."
After scraping and picking around in my mouth a bit, "You have a little bit of tarter here and there," she grabbed that little metal water squirter and kept pushing whatever you push to start the flow of water—to no avail—while presumably I juggled minuscule chunks of tarter in and around my tongue waiting to be flooded and then vacuumed out of my mouth. "It's brand new," she said, which was becoming the resounding theme for today's visit.
She used that electric revolving brush to stuff toothpaste between my teeth, and then flossed them. I absolutely love when someone else flosses my teeth, and I said to her, "If I had an obscene amount of money, I'd pay someone to floss my teeth every day. It's such a luxury." She laughed and said, "Well, if you stop by here every day at about five until eight, or at about five after four, we could do that for you."
When my pearly whites (okay, off-whites at best) were ready to be presented to Dr. Susan, she came in and we exchanged our hellos, but before she looked at my teeth, I said, "May I just give you some feedback real quick?"
"Sure," she said, and I saw her physically relax, putting aside what I'm sure is her natural inclination to get the patient in and out of there, and giving her full attention to me, which I so appreciated.
"That privacy form I filled out before coming back here?"
"Yes?" she prompted.
"The choice on it for who can see your personal information includes spouse, parent, child, or other. It really would have affirmed my humanity if I could have indicated my domestic partner, rather than having to list him under other," I said.
She looked at me thoughtfully, and said, "I appreciate that feedback. We've never had anyone request that before. I will add it to our—fast-growing—list of things to fix," she said sincerely.
The rest of my appointment went fine, but I would be remiss in not saying that as nice as this new office is, the word that kept resonating in the back of my mind the entire time I was there was opulent, which I'm totally ambivalent about. I mean I love Dr. Susan and her (and her husband's) practice, which I've done nothing but rave about in my previous appointments:
- A fun time at the dentist, really: October 5, 2009
- A gentle filling and wonderful dentist to whom I sent a thank you note afterwards: January 9, 2009.
- Patronizing a business you like, even when they're picking and prodding at your teeth: June 25, 2008
On my way out, I made my next appointment, which will be on the very last day of 2010. And right before I left, the woman making that appointment said, "May we get a quick picture of you for our files? It's to help prevent identity theft," she said indicating that I take a place in front of the the webcam on the counter.
After she took my picture, I whipped out my BlackBerry, faced the camera at her, and said, "My turn to get one of you."
As I'm wont to do, my first tweet and Facebook status update after getting home was, "My teeth are so clean, I could eat off them."
I worked the rest of my morning from home and went into the office after lunch, catching the Wolfline #9 Greek Village bus at 12:47.
I had a meetingless, uneventful work day, which I always appreciate, and I caught the 6:30 city bus home.
Both bus trips were mercifully uneventful today, as this entry is long enough without a buscapade.
I just love this picture of my friend Mark Zumbach:
I'm not sure exactly why, but it's something to do with the pose, particularly the way his lips are pursed, and the tension between the masculine features of his body and the feminine garb, including the casualness of the bare chest juxtaposed with the formalness of that corset.
At home, I took a two-hour nap, made several moves in several online Scrabble games I'm currently playing, and had instant message conversations with both Robert and Joe. Then late, at about 11:45, I made a quick run to the grocery store.
I hit the sack at about 1:00, after finishing up this blog entry.