6.22.2005

Dentist droid

Okay, I don't like the dentist's office. Even if the people there are really nice and give me cookies and paraffin wax treatments and movie certificates, I still just don't want to be there. Part of this is because I always start choking/gagging at least once, which is what happens when my mouth is full of water, smoke, and that awful polishing grit. The low point (both for me and the technician) was the time in high school when I gagged and then vomited right in the chair.

I always bring this up at the beginning of a cleaning. I find that it helps us to reach a good understanding, and then people are a lot more willing to keep the heck out of my tonsils and let me rinse & use the sucker hose thingy whenever I want it.

Unfortunately, yesterday I was worked on by a young woman who skipped the phase of cognitive development or work training that would normally cover people skills and basic communication techniques. She pretty much would not talk to me, even when I tried to make conversation. This girl looked about 20, tiny, with tan skin, white teeth, long blonde hair, and I don't think I need to say anything more.

We made it through the polishing alright, and then at the end, while I was still on my back, she said, "I'm going to give you some water so you can swish."

Now, if someone said that to you, what would you think was about to happen? Perhaps your reason and past experience would lead you to think you would be handed a cup of water or directed to a sink or other depository where you could rinse your mouth out and then spit. You would be so wrong.

She used the hose to fill my mouth completely full of water and then sat back in her chair and just watched me. Have you ever tried to swish about 10 oz of toothpaste water while flat on your back? Also, what does she want me to do with it? Am I supposed to swallow it? Because there's no way I'm doing that. I can't ask her these questions, though. Naturally, a couple of seconds in, I started choking. I bolted upright, looking for a sink, but there WASN'T one, so I expelled all the water, spit, and polishing residue INTO MY HANDS AND ON MY LAP. The whole time, she's still just sitting in her chair and looking at me as though I'm some odd zoo exhibit.

Me, still coughing: "Is there a bowl or a sink or something?"
Strange blonde android: "Do you need a cup?"
Me: "Well, where would you like me to put THIS?" gesturing to my cupped hands
SBA: "Oh, there's a sink over here you can use."
Me: "Thanks, that would be preferable to what I'm doing right now."

The dentist poked his head in from the other room to see what's going on. By this time I'm completely gobsmacked and getting a bit furious. This was her fault in the first place, and she didn't even apologized or make a move to help me! I marched over to the sink and flung the spit water in it, then stood there, waiting, with my soaked face and bib and skirt while the android just looked at me. The dentist had to step in and offer me a paper towel, then directed SBA to get me a new bib.

I was so frustrated because everything was just so WRONG. I mean, when something goes badly at the dentist's office (which happens just because that's life) usually people are right there to apologize and clean you up and make things better and keep you from feeling stupid and covered in your own spit. Otherwise you may never go back and all your teeth will rot away and fall out and it would be on their heads.

The rest of the appointment continued in the same vein. I'm not even going to get into the flouride treatment (picture a foam carwash), or the part where she "didn't see" my permanent retainer and kept trying to floss through it.

I called my sister afterwards and ranted to her, and she reasonably pointed out that I should have said something at the time if I was so upset. She said that if the girl doesn't know what she's doing wrong, or if her supervisors don't know what's happening, then it's never going to get better. Then she berated me for not being more assertive when receiving bad service.

So then, rather than losing all respect for myself, I had to call the office and tell them that I'd had a bad experience with my dental assistant and I didn't want her to work on me when I come back for my next appointment. The receptionist was very sorry and said that would be just fine. And now I have to promise myself that the next time something happens I need to be willing to just stop the whole thing in its tracks and explain exactly what I'm having a problem with, rather than giving stony looks in silence.

5 comments:

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Was this a MORMON hygenist?

Nemesis said... [reply]

You know, now that I think of it, I bet she WASN'T!! I mean, being from Lehi doesn't prove anything.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Just that you have s***** bedside manner. My apologies to all those literate Lehi-ites out there.

Chris & Charlotte said... [reply]

That must have sucked. I probably would have smacked the SBA right there on the spot. But very funny story - nice entry.

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Hey Hoopes! What are you doing over here? Isn't Nemesis hysterical?

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