Friday, October 21, 2005
World's Worst Dental Patient--Part 1
Hey, BGs, thanks so much for all your ideas! You folks are a plethora of productivity. I actually think I shall use them all. Keep you on your toes wondering what’s coming next. Might post for days in a row, then . . . not. For a day or two anyway.
Becky brought up marketing as it pertains to my blog, and that’s a very good point. Originally, I started blogging ’cause my editor told me I should. Great way to connect with your readers, she said. At first I figured writers and my readers were coming around. (Granted, there’s crossover there.) But after the NES was done in June, the discussion turned to the how-tos of writing, and so while I think more writers have come, my readers who aren’t writers may have less reason to keep coming back. So I do have to start talking to those folks, too.
I’d still like y’all to leave questions regarding writing whenever you’d like, whether on topic or not. I don’t mind answering questions, and it gives me a topic to write to. Between the questions, I shall post about . . . what I shall post about. ValMarie, you left a good question yesterday about writing back cover copy. I will answer that soon.
By the way, Janet—you mentioned Canada. Yup. A market to work on. One I just talked to my agent about.
Today, I shall begin a story, continued on Monday. You see, this afternoon, I had a difficult appointment. I had to go to the dentist.
I am the world’s worst dental patient.
It was just for a check-up, mind you. Doesn’t matter. I so much as hear the Big D (drill, if you have to ask) while I’m in the waiting room, and I start to shake.
There is this strange side that comes out of me whenever I’m nervous at a medical appointment. I turn into a stand-up comic. With a sarcastic edge. I mean, the stuff just rattles out of my mouth. You’d never guess, meeting me at such a time, that I’m really a nice person. The docs give me these pained smiles and somehow put up with my shenanigans. Their nurses and assistants flat out don’t know what to do with me.
Well, some don’t.
Today, the dental hygienist sees me first. She gets to do the preliminary fun work like poke at my gums, scrape down my teeth, floss and polish. She settles me in the chair, snaps the paper towel thingy around my neck to catch drool (which in my case is highly likely), and smiles brightly like some counselor on welcoming day at scout camp. “How would you like to take some X-rays?”
I give her a you-gotta-be-nuts look. “I would absolutely looove to.”
Her smile slips a little. “Well, we don’t have to if you’d rather not, but it does help with the diagnosis. Sometimes cavities can only be seen with an X-ray.”
Cavities? Cavities mean the Big D. Big D very, very bad. Turn macho Brandilyn into Jello. I look Miss Hygie in the eye. “I can’t imagine a better reason to tell you no.”
She turns her back on me, leaning over my chart. “You haven’t had them for two years.”
“Two years? Can’t possibly be that long.”
“It’s true.” She raises her eyebrows at me. “And you really want us to do all we can to diagnose you properly, don’t you? Otherwise, we could miss something. Then just imagine how much worse your next visit could be.”
We lock eyes. She maintains a perfectly pleasant look on her face, but I am suddenly wary. This woman’s a formidable foe. She’s honed onto my fear spot like some heat-seeking missile. If I don’t get those X-rays now, I could spend long months worrying about what could have been found. By the time my next dentist appointment rolls around, I’ll be blathering pure inanity.
She flashes an encouraging grin. “They don’t hurt, you know.”
I flick a look at the ceiling. “Like heck they don’t hurt. About eight different times, you stand this sharp slide on its end in my mouth, tell me to bite down on it, then you disappear. By the time the machine goes Bzzzt and you return, the thing’s stuck in the top of my mouth so deep, I’m thinkin’ it’s gonna come out my nose.”
She blinks. “Tell you what, we’ll just take four. The quadrants.”
This lady oughtta be in sales.
In spite of myself, I consider the compromise. If I don’t do the X-rays, I’m going to hate myself in the morning. If I do take them, and they show something awful, I’m really going to hate myself. However, the latter choice is prudent. And even a sarcastic stand-up comic understands the power of prudence once in a while.
I take the X-rays.
On to the poking and scraping of teeth by Miss Hygie. I endure this, thinking of those X-rays, sitting there like ticking time bombs. Waiting for the doc to walk into the room and make his pronouncement.
Something tells me I am doomed.
Read Part 2