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December 15, 2015

occupational hazard

I raced out the door at 2:35 yesterday and grabbed Reg and Curly from school just before dismissal.  Next we stopped at the high school to pick up Eddie.  I hauled the three kids to the dentist for our string of five appointments that started at 3:00.   At 3:30 by shuttling Eddie back to high school for his sports pictures, I temporarily avoided the vacant chair that awaited me.  Sports pictures ended up being planned for the same day that our dentist appointments were cemented on the calendar.  Semi annual dental cleanings are becoming increasingly difficult to schedule.  If I don't lock in early enough, I won't get a block of appointments together.  Being on the ball doesn't serve me well either.  By the time advance appointments pop up on the calendar they compete with countless other conflicts. 

The two high school boys' cleanings were originally scheduled for last week during their study halls, and Coach managed to get a solo appointment one morning without having to drag any kids along.  So after swapping out the two high schoolers for Tetenka and Mini's cleanings last week due to a field trip, and two junior high basketball games, I was finally about to check this unpopular activity off my to do list.  First I had to survive my own cleaning.

Two hygienists manage the cleanings at our dental office.  Jan is thorough, fast, and energetic.  Lori is typically slow and far from careful.  In order to get all of us seen without making unnecessary additional trips, I divide our group up between the two of them.  As an act of kindness, I try to load up Jan's schedule with the kids.  Coach and I take the less comfortable time slots with Lori.  Jan can typically see three kids in the time it takes for Lori to inflict her uniquely styled cleaning on one patient. 

Perhaps I didn't see Lori for my prior cleaning, so I am unsure when I last felt her 'skill'.  My memory is failing me.  At any rate, I noticed a shift in Lori's performance this visit shortly after she started scraping away at my gums.  I had to wonder if perhaps Lori had recently been given a diagnosis.  Could she have just learned that she was suffering from Parkinson's disease?  Her hands shook like a nervous patient about to have a root canal with no Novocaine.  Pain accompanied each uncontrolled jab.  It was difficult to ignore the blood stained gauze swabs she dabbed at my mouth.  Curly popped into the torture chamber where I longed to be done.  Proudly displaying her prize, she stopped suddenly and gasped at the evidence of the crime scene trauma that my mouth had endured. 

There is such a thing as an occupational hazard.  This is why I do not work in the medical field.  A string of incidents that caused me to pass out influenced my career options.  My father wrote me letters in college and frequently reminded me that he thought I should study nursing like my sister.  I wisely chose to follow a different career path knowing that I could not be successful as a nurse.  I would need to request that patients insert their own IV lines or injections while I dabbed at my sweaty face in the hall.  Maybe it's time for Lori to reconsider her profession, or it's time that I tweak our appointments and request we all file into Jan's chair.  Maybe extra trips are worth it.

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