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Change is… good?

We have a new dentist in the office where I work. We’ve only worked with him for a couple days and already our workplace feels like it has been turned upside down. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that it feels like an alternate universe. Like, is this really happening? I don’t mean to be so dramatic, but this is a huge change for us all. I’ve worked there nearly nine years and I’ve been a patient there since I was four years old. Everyone else has worked there even longer than me. It’s located in a small town and it definitely feels homey and laid back. Well, at least until recently.

We all know that we need to produce more to keep the practice going and be more successful. But, I think my coworkers feel something similar to what I feel: will reaching for his stated production goals come at the expense of patient relationships? Our schedule generally has one operative chair column with another for work-in patients or to help catch up if we get behind and one (sometimes two) columns of hygiene patients. Obviously we need to grow. He would like three columns of operative and three columns of hygiene. My first question: are there even enough potential patients in the surrounding area to fill these chairs? My second question: if we do actually fill a schedule like this, how will the doctor develop and maintain good patient relationships? Our patients are used to having a dentist who remembers their parents and/or their kids and asks how they are doing. They are used to having a dentist who often has a conversation with them while waiting for the anesthetic to kick in, not one who numbs and runs every time.

I think we all fear that our office is going to turn into a factory. I can’t help but picture patients on an assembly line.

I hope I’m worrying for nothing and we’ll end up with a more modern and successful practice that patients will recommend to their friends and family. We’ll see.

Any comments you have on this will be appreciated.

Random Thoughts on Thursday

It’s so great when good patients want to give you a hug after you’ve cleaned their teeth. And I say “good” patients to distinguish from “creepy” patients. I haven’t had a creepy patient want to hug me. At least not yet. And luckily creepy patients are rare.

I watched The Rum Diary. I want that time back so I can use it to watch something else.

I hate it when someone proclaims that they hate a certain food and they phrase it so that it sounds like anyone who likes that food must be a moron. Especially when that food is common and considered normal. For example, “Ugh! How can you eat that? I don’t even see the point of sweet pickles!”

When I’m picking out greeting cards and come across the ones labeled “Blank,” I still open them and look inside.

Do you trust your doctor?

I’ve had a casual but persistent interest in the doctor-patient relationship since an assignment I had in dental hygiene school. We had to write a paper on a healthcare topic of our choosing. I chose defensive medicine. Basically, this occurs when a doctor’s fear of litigation drives their decisions: unnecessary tests may be ordered, for example. Or, a doctor may give up some part of their practice altogether, such as obstetrics.

Long story short, I learned that a good doctor-patient relationship can reduce the likelihood of litigation. If a patient trusts his or her doctor, he or she is less likely to sue. Of course, this is not the only reason to have a good relationship with your healthcare provider. With trust and respect, you are more likely to follow your doctor’s instructions and be healthier as a result.

This goes for dentistry, too. Let’s say your dentist tells you that you need a crown while you’re flat on your back with the light in your eyes and then leaves the room. You might think he just wants to make a payment on his Lexus, and you’re probably going to tell the front desk that you’ll schedule it later, and then you probably never will. Now let’s take that same tooth, but change the dentist’s behavior towards the patient. This time, he raises chair back up, pulls his mask down, and shows you a photo and/or x-ray of your tooth. He explains why he wants to crown this tooth and what might happen if you choose not to. Now, you might still be thinking about his Lexus, but I would bet that you would have a much better relationship with this doctor now. And if you went ahead and got that crown, you might save yourself from breaking the tooth, exposing the pulp chamber (where the nerves are), and needing endodontic treatment (a root canal) or extraction (pulling the tooth).

All of this came to mind because of this video of the author of Cutting for Stone, which I recently finished and recommend.

Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

In our era of the patient-as-data-point, Abraham Verghese believes in the old-fashioned physical exam, the bedside chat, the power of informed observation.

Couch Potatoes

My office is closed this week so it’s sort of been a mandatory vacation. Not that I’m complaining. I’d been working more hours than normal lately so it’s a welcome break. As this week was getting closer I was thinking of all the things I would have time to get done. Like finish painting my kitchen cabinets, for instance. Of course I’m the Procrastination Queen and  it’s already Thursday night so that’s not gonna happen. I did get the grass mowed. And I chopped down some weeds around the backyard bushes that were taller than me, so at least it doesn’t look like our house is occupied by meth addicts.

So what have I been doing with all the other time? Mostly reading, eating, and sleeping. I think I subconsciously decided to embrace the vacation vibe and before I knew it, it was suddenly Thursday.


The mini-potato crawled under the cushion on her own during one of the few times it was not occupied by yours truly. The rest of the time she was on my lap or near my feet. Cats are great. Please ignore the hideousness of the couch as it becomes holey and falls apart.

I’m currently reading Eleven on Top. Yes.

It’s ALIVE!!!!

Not much going on around here. Still not tiring of my cheap entertainment: reading. Although I have added some new cheap entertainment: watching my amaryllis grow. I got it a year ago during the sale after the holidays. Then I kinda forgot about it for a couple months. I wondered if it would still grow so I followed the instructions and planted the bulb. It didn’t do much for a while but then finally started to grow two freaking huge leaves. They grew so fast you could practically watch them get taller by the minute. But that was all it did. No flower at all. When the leaves died I trimmed them off and left it on the counter (partly out of laziness but I think mostly because I was curious to see if it would come back). I watered it occasionally and then a few weeks ago… lookie here!

I was glad it was a persistent little bugger. But then it got even better.


This is what it looks like today. Nature is so cool. And I am easily amused.

You know you’re loved when…

Romantic Potato

Romantic Potato (Photo credit: only_point_five)

You know you’re loved when they jump at the chance to pick at your skin imperfections.

Ah, love… trust… blackheads. Don’t get all weepy now as this cup of romance runneth over.



Saturday Morning

I feel cranky when the weekend is over. It always goes by too fast. Saturday morning was perfect.

Sleeping in with hubby and Penny…

… and a good book.

What are you reading?

I am thankful that reading is a cheap hobby. Well, it is as long as you borrow or get used books rather than pay full retail. It’s been a while since I had really gotten into a book. I have about five laying around that I’ve started and just was not interested in enough to bother going back to them. At least not yet. So I stopped at the library on the way home from work on Friday and picked up this hunk of what I am sure is going to be awesomeness:


The last two books I read that I didn’t want to put down were Ken Follett books: The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Have you read them? Did you see The Pillars of the Earth miniseries? I was so excited to watch it but during the whole thing I keep yelling at the tv: “That didn’t happen like that in the book!!!” Hubby was all: “Geez, calm down!” And I’m all: “But Jack wasn’t even there when that happened!” Et cetera. There were so many changes I could hardly enjoy it, but I guess if you hadn’t read it or hadn’t read it lately it would be a lot better.

Have you read any of these? What else do you recommend? Do you hate it when they have to chop up books to fit into a movie?


Thoughts on Becoming a Parent…

Thoughts on becoming a parent, from someone who is not a parent yet, but wants wants to be for reasons I can’t explain:

"Under the horse chestnut tree", 1 p...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not a parent. I know nothing about parenting. I do subscribe to several “mommy blogs.” I guess I like to learn what moms and dads are dealing with and imagine what kind of mother I will be one day. Well, I hope I will be a mother one day. You never know what your life will really turn out to be. On the one hand, that is a good thing. On the other, that’s scary.

I think the urge to want to be a mom is very interesting. It’s pretty much decreed that being a parent is the hardest thing you’ll do in life. And yet so many jump right into that difficulty, or want to, or try to but can’t. And it’s also said, so often, that it’s the best thing in life. Nothing compares. You are forever changed.

When I think of having kids, my thoughts often go back to when I was younger. When you first really understood the consequences and relationships between sex, birth control, STDs, pregnancy, and all the scary things they wrapped up together to discourage young people from having kids too soon. And I guess fear is a good tactic, even though it doesn’t always work. We do need the education even if they do scare us, too.

But then, they are also painting a picture of becoming a parent as something that will ruin your life. Of course, having a kid in high school is not a good idea for your own future or the baby’s future. Of course it’s not easy to have a kid and keep going to school and get further education. But when you are at an appropriate age to be a parent, you still have big life responsibilities in addition to THE parenting responsibility. I rambling now, but I wonder: When are you ready to be parent? I know you’re never really ready, but ready in the sense of it being acceptable and appropriate to make that decision to be responsible for another human life. I know there is no right answer for everyone. How much money should be saved up? What kind of home do you have to bring them home to? How mature are you? How much will you be working: too much, too little? What do you have to teach them? I don’t know the answers to these questions. How much money/maturity/education is enough?

Some people get married and then they get nagged about when they’re going to “start a family.” So when are you going to have a baby? When am I going to be a grandma? When am I going to be an aunt/uncle/etc.? I’ve gotten this type of question maybe twice. I can’t say I want to be nagged, but it would feel good to have my closest family excited about me having a baby one day. My mom especially has not pushed for a baby, not because she doesn’t want me to have any, but I believe because she knows our financial situation and knows we are not ready in that way. I know this a mature and logical response for her to have. But, sometimes I wish I could see her excited at the thought of me making her a grandparent. Maybe one day.

I’m not an outwardly emotional person at all. I rarely cry, especially in front of others. Some people just wear their heart on their sleeve, but I don’t. I do wonder at times if it makes me seem callous or insensitive. But I do feel. When I read those mommy blogs or hear someone talk about those moments unique to parenting, I feel that. My heart aches. Why? Why do I feel like I want to be a mom? What in the world makes me think I could do it and do it well? Some people feel meant for a certain path in life, be it parenting or a certain career or both. I never felt connected strongly to a career. I like my job and it pays the bills, but it’s not my passion. I feel like I could be passionate about being a mom when that time comes. I hope it does.

Anyone else get that yucky jealousy feeling when you see parents and their kids together that makes you want to cry? And then you feel bad for feeling jealous instead of happy for them so you feel even worse? Feel free to share.



Image via Wikipedia

I hear about great deals and cool things found on craigslist all the time it seems. Well, at least in blogland. Our local craigslist doesn’t seem to have much cool stuff, but I really don’t search it enough to find the gems among the junk. Since money has been extra tight lately we’ve decided to see if we could sell some stuff (and declutter a little as a bonus). My husband has been having some good luck lately selling some of his video gaming stuff so I decided to use it, too. I’ve used ebay in the past but I got tired of reposting and reposting and then when something actually sells it sucks to see all the nickel and dime fees that left my profit hardly worth my time.

So, I listed my item a couple times and finally got a response. Turns out it was a spammer. Terrific. The first email lets you know they’re interested. Then this:

OK, thank you for getting back to me. It turns out i can’t really buy it right now anyways… my nephew just put a huge dent in my jeep and now im gonna have to see how much its gonna cost me to get it repaired. UGH!

I thank god that he didn’t get hurt but of course it needed to happen NOW, when i am finally earning very good money with this work at home program i’ve been doing. You know, if you want, they’ve just opened up 2 more positions in our area. Basically you get paid to post links online, its really easy and I just do it while watching TV.

Here is the link if you want to read about it:


Ive earned around $500 each week since I’ve been doing it… not enough to stop working yet but i actually have some extra money in my bank account. Well, maybe not after i have to pay the mechanic bill lol. My sister is planning to sign up later and these positions usually go fast, so I’d appreciate it if you didnt share the link with anyone else. Thanks!

Ugh! What kind of person spends their time spamming? I feel sorry for people who fall for stuff like this. (And I took the link out, btw, so I’m not passing on their crap.) I see that others have gotten these emails, also. Have you? Have you had good transactions using craigslist? Problems? Have you gotten some awesome deals? Please share.

P.S. The husband just informed me he got one like this, too. Plus a couple other varieties.