Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Valuable Communication Lesson Learned While Sitting in the Dental Chair

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 9:15 pm on Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yesterday was my first appointment with the new dentist. Being a beautiful day, we decided to wheel the approximate 20 blocks, each way. We will be hibernating soon enough.

There was a little "not talking to me" by the receptionist. With television psychologist Dr. Phil’s “You teach people how to treat you” ringing in my ear, we nipped that in the bud. Appropriately training them from Day One is the best strategy.

My concerned husband hollered “She has her iPad with her if she needs to communicate” as I headed down the hall with the hygienist. (Concerned because, after thirteen years of marriage, he knows he is in for an earful from his non-verbal wife if anybody dares not treat her as capable and intelligent.)

In that moment, I realized I don’t go anywhere, literally, without my scooter. I (almost) always carry straws with me. But, my iPad is not yet permanently attached to me. I am getting better at taking the gadget with me when I go out, but it still requires conscious remembering.

I also learned a valuable lesson as a new assistive and augmented communication (AAC) user: needing to fetch the thing from my scooter basket and turning it on before continuing the conversation is not being prepared enough for communication. Having my iPad on and ready to go indicates to other that I am ready and able to communicate.

And, use my iPad to communicate I did, for the first time, with a dentist.

The bottom line: one broken molar needs a filling, which he will attempt to do in the office next Monday. If he runs into a problem, he will call the College of Dental Surgeons for suggestions. I can not ask for more of that.

The other molar, which had a root canal done several years ago, will not fare as well: too broken to attempt saving, it needs to be pulled and the dentist is reluctant to attempt that one. I have a consultation with a oral surgeon next Tuesday; the consult is not covered by Ministry. If necessary, he can sedate in office. We will find out on Tuesday whether sedation is covered; strangely, full hospitalization is covered by Ministry,  but I really would like to avoid that, if possible.

Depending upon how Monday’s appointment goes, I am very tempted to switch dentists permanently. I was pleased at how he interacted and communicated with me. That makes all of the difference!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Comment by Fiona

December 2, 2011 @ 4:28 am

Hi Glenda

YEs it makes all the difference when professional act like it lol and listen to u cause all this stuck up behaviour and horrible bedside manners in my book are most unprofessional ! its meant to be part of their job listening and hearing what the CLIENT which is up wants and needs not just what they think is best sounds like a great dentist I have not found my dream one yet, ok with the one i have which has a manner of a prickly porcupine but as long as she explains things listen to me and knows what shes doing i will suffer her awful lack of manners ! drives my aspie side potty!
good for u with ipad one of my pet peeves or not so little is when people speak to my fiance or even my child instead of me JUST CAUSE I AM IN A WHEELCHAIR !
great blog !

Comment by Sue

December 2, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

All I can say is good luck, Glenda! I’m glad you found a dentist who may be your new dentist! (I, personally, hate dentists and I shudder at the thought of going to one! The last bit of dental work I had done, I asked them to put me to sleep in the office… otherwise he was NOT gonna want me talking to him while he was up to his elbows in my mouth! LOL!)

Comment by Melissa

December 2, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

I’m glad that you found a dentist who is pleasant and will work with you 🙂

Comment by World Transformation

December 10, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

I am new to your blog but i have just spent a wonderful hour getting to know you and reading through your blog. I just wanted to say thankyou very much for this blog , you are a truly inspirational person, and apart from that you write very well, thankyou.

Comment by Elder Help

December 12, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

It’s great to hear that you had a nice time at your dentist. Communication between patients and physicians really makes all the difference. A nice repartee can calm even the most nervous person.

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