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Today is my mother's birthday, but I'm going to start with yesterday's 7:30 dentist appointment. Perhaps at some point in time I will break my habit of thinking that appointments will start at their scheduled time. I was scheduled to work at 10:00, the office was just across town, and I wanted to be comfortable so I decided to wait until I got back home to get into my work clothes for the day. I grew impatient waiting, and wondered why, in this day and age, we are still holding onto so many antiquidated systems and procedures. The receptionist had to call to verify my insurance. I've done a lot that I am proud of during 2018, the decision to purchase dental insurance for myself remains an item on my list of accomplishments.

Perhaps I have written about my previous appointment back in November, how the pain and worry about my broken tooth took me back to a dentist I had seen before, and how I left with feelings of vague, unnamed terror, and now I am writing about my feelings and emotions that were with me yesterday. Hearing that a dentist who should have seen how bad my tooth was if she didn't, was crushing. Both the new dentist and her hygienist were careful to speak discreetly about the work of other dentists, but their words were carefully chosen as they spoke. I'm a prime candidate for a root canal, this is what they told me, and that was some pretty upsetting news.

I started crying while I was there, fear, exhaustion, pain from the ice cold pulp test reverberated through my head as I went up to the front desk. They said they would call, but I never heard from them yesterday so now I'm going to call them today. I ate in a hurry before I left for work. I could have my tooth extracted, or they can try and save it. This is probably very stubborn, and possibly stupid of me, but I do not think that I am going to have a root canal done. During my training to become a dental assistant, I learned exactly how this process is performed. Like a lot of medical procedures, it's fairly barbaric.

Back then I remember seeing a syringe with labeling on it, an instructor told us that it was labeled that way because patients are nervous about seeing the word bleach, or hearing it in the context of it going into their mouths. I'm not trying to scare anyone, or bad mouth the dental profession, I actually have a lot of respect for good practitioners, but I'm not comfortable with the procedure, and even though I would be losing chewing surface if I have the tooth extracted, which is also not anything I am looking forward to, I just can't bring myself to go ahead with a root canal. Again, this may be an extremely foolish decision on my part, but it is mine to make.

One of the women at the front desk tried to sell me on it, more in the form of reassurance that it wasn't like it was back in the good old days, but that training has stuck with me, and I want no part of it. I cried hard on the way home, and finally decided to call my mom. She's not great at empathy, but she did her best. It was going to be the first day after my boss came back from vacation, and I never know what sort of a mood he's going to be in when I work with him. I'm pleased to report that not only was he tan and trimmer, at least to my eyes, he was also in a great mood. Not only am I happy for him, it was good for me to see.

He said that this was one of the most detached vacations he's ever had, I didn't hear from him, I saw him lurking in the chats a time or two, but if he reached out to others, or was in touch with them, it didn't make my radar which is fine, and I think, healthy. He needed the time away, the rest of us had a chance to assume some authority and responsibility we don't normally have, all in all, I believe it was a great experience for our team, and I felt really good when he said that he could see that I had made progress while he was gone these past seven days. While there were times when we were frustrated and annoyed with each other, the assistant manager and I got along much better than I had hoped, and I'm pleased about that as well.

Last night I stopped at the grocery store intending to pick up a can of tuna. I did what I normally do and got distracted, however this time I made a point to download the app and added the e-coupons to my virtual cart. I saved $8, and tried to purchase things I would have bought anyways. When I got home I sliced polenta into rounds, slid a sausage patty on top, spooned store brand spaghetti sauce over that, put a small serving of wilted spinach over the sauce, and finished off these layers with a mushroom, onion, and fresh garlic garnish. There were three on my plate when I finished, and I ate them all. I went to bed early, feeling better about myself, the day, and even the dental work because I know that anxiety improves nothing.

Yesterday we were talking at work, about ourselves, our siblings, people at work, and other acquaintances, there were even a few customers that made the list. My boss said that we are crushing January as far as sales go, that will taper off, people are still spending Christmas money, and I know slower times are on the horizon. The thing about love is you really want what is best for the other person even if it means a sacrifice, loss, or expense on your part. Sometimes you have to let people fail on their own. It's useless to tell me things I don't want to hear for the most part. Even if I need these insights, until I am ready to internalize and act on them, they will fall on deaf ears.

The other evening my youngest told me she wanted to get her hair cut. She has mentioned this before, and I wasn't sure why she was repeating herself until she explained that she didn't know how to make an appointment. Since picking up the phone and finding the number are tasks she can perform I knew there was more to it than she was revealing. We went through a step by step protocol, and it ended up being a very fun conversation. The little things really are the big things in life. A friend of mine who lives in California posted a ten or twelve second video of his view from the stoplights, I watched the waves roll toward Pacific Coast Highway, and felt a greater a sense of peace inside.

Xoxo,

J

P.S. Eight more hours of work, and then I have three days off in a row. I can't wait...

j