This morning I went to my dentist’s office. My dentist has a nice new office into which they moved over the weekend. It’s a very attractive, well-appointed space but not in a “look at what we can afford with your money” way. The receptionist was polite and very appreciative of the Wombats (my three children), which is a must. They were ready for me almost on time, and I was shown to a dental chair.
Did I mention that they were just moving in? A few workmen were still around installing fixtures and fixing installations. Anyhow, after the preliminaries, I am asked to bite down on a frame holding some film so the technician can take some x-rays. The machine itself is a beauty, mounted on an articulated arm attached to the wall. Better than the old free-standing one which got in everybody’s way and forced patients into uncomfortable contortions. This one just swings into place while I turn my head slightly and–
Suddenly I’m sitting on the floor. Why, I wondered, am I sitting on the floor when there’s a perfectly good chair behind my head? What are those black things floating around that disappear when I try to focus on them? And why does my face hurt so much more than it did before I got here?
These and other questions were answered a moment later when I could turn my head again. The beautiful new x-ray machine and its clever articulated arm had torn completely loose from the wall and smacked me in the face.
You know, when you have a toothache, you find yourself thinking things like “I could not possibly be in any more pain than I am right now.” Ordinarily you would be right, because ordinarily people don’t have the opportunity to say that and immediately get a heavy chunk of expensive medical technology right in the mouth. I imagine I speak for a very small elect group of enlightened folk when I say, I know something you don’t.
The staff was very professional. The technician, once she quit freaking out, got me an ice bag. Everybody apologized in that incredibly convoluted word dance that goes with honestly being sorry but not wanting to say anything that implies that anybody’s actually responsible for anything. I asked for and got the name of the company that installed the beautiful new x-ray machine with the sophisticated articulated arm. I got a prescription – for an anti-inflammatory drug that will certainly keep the swelling in my face to less photogenic proportions should I get the idea to find myself a camera and a lawyer. Of course, taking even over the counter pain medication is contraindicated in every case.
And I got another appointment for Friday, because they couldn’t keep today’s appointment, because, well, the x-ray machine was broken.
Grr. I can’t say it, but I can type it. Grr.