Thursday, November 17, 2011

Where Is My Gum Specialist's Restroom?

It's quite alarming, really - people turn forty and immediately complain about how their bodies suddenly fall to pieces. I would wholeheartedly object, but out of nowhere my gums are receding!

I can tell by his name that my gum specialist is Korean. And though I have just days before read about the War with Korea - I determine that this might not be the best conversation topic at my gum consult. I vow to keep the dialogue mainly centered on what is to be done about my rapidly elongating teeth.

I've recently taken up coffee drinking, and gum-consult day was particularly stressful, so I downed three cups of coconut coffee right before driving a LONG way across town to meet my new specialist. This means I had to pee like crazy even before I got lost three times, within a block of my destination.

Evidently, disorders of the gums are rampant, because this office is NICE. I only had a moment to take in the opulent surroundings before asking for the potty.

There is no need for me to draw out what happened in the restroom. Let's just say that I was going about my business like normal when the room went pitch dark. Where once there was light and the hum of a fan --- nothing. Perhaps it was instinct that caused me to immediately flail my arms and wave my torso. Whatever, it worked. The light came back on and the annoyance that began with the receding of my gums and grew with the distance of the specialist and getting lost on the way was now enormous.

I finished, situated myself and what's left of my gums on the plush sofa in the lobby, and began the tedium of doctor's office paperwork. Part way through, a man in a tie approached me with a clipboard. He told me that as soon as my chart was complete, he would commence our tour of the office.

What reaction am I to have upon hearing I'm to be given a tour of my gum specialist's office? What purpose does it serve to know the layout and workings of such a place? In my life, I have been to pediatricians, general practitioners, gynecologists, obstetricians, dermatologists, dentists, orthodontists, radiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, hair stylists, midwives, ear nose and throat specialists, orthopedists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists, and never once before have I been offered a tour of their office! All I can assume is that this is some sort of customer service gimmick and that they think if I've been shown around the digs, I will feel loyal to this specialist forever.

Included in the tour: the restroom (I'd already discovered it, thank you), the coffee maker (as if), the orthodontic room, several staff members in scrubs, and two cutting-edge-technology machines which were explained to me as if I cared one whit (or even understood). My one question: if you pride yourselves on this amazing new technology, could you please do something about the motion-sensor light in the bathroom that leaves your patients in pitch-black mid-pee?

Around three thousand dollars from now, I will have a small piece of tissue grafted from the roof of my mouth and relocated to cover my three nearly-naked teeth. I will drink only milkshakes for a week, and the stitches will dissolve on their own. This was all explained to me very kindly, with the aid of state-of-the-art video. On the way out, I stopped in the restroom to pee again before my trek back across town to home. And yes, the light went out and I sat in blackness. Just forty feet or so from the eight million dollar imaging whatsit machine that my tour guide was so proud of.
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