Lessons at the Dentist

I had a really interesting experience yesterday while I was at Bailey’s dental appointment. Firstly, I wasnt expecting her appointment to be yesterday, but I got a call about a week ago from them telling me they changed the appointment (without my knowledge). I wasnt too upset about it though; I figured the earlier the better anyway.

When I walk into the building for her 3:30pm appointment, there are at least 30 people in the waiting area, 75% of them under the age of 11. That was my first inkling that there would be a bit of a wait. I thought maybe 20-30 minutes.

We were the second to last people called back….2 HOURS later. 2 hours of trying to keep Bailey busy in a packed full waiting room with some rambunctious older toddlers that kept taking her binky and pushing her around. Although I must say, 1. Bailey handled it like a champ. She didnt fight back, but she definitely held her own and was still nice. 2. I didnt freak out, and thankfully 3. The mom tried her best to let her daughter know not to do that. However, I wasnt super upset because honestly, none of us wanted to be there, least of all the children. Plus, the little girl had a rough older brother…so I could see where the roughness came from. Bailey didnt get hurt, no harm no foul. I had a feeling this mom was having a tough time with this little girl because of her outburts, so I felt for her. I knew she was trying her best.

I tried everything I could to entertain Bailey: snacks, walking around the waiting area, Bubble Guppies on my phone..etc. I myself was getting impatient, so how can I really expect her to be chipper about the whole thing?

When we did finally get called back, we had to wait in an additional waiting area for a chair to open up. I could feel the anger boiling up inside me. Once we finally got to a chair…there were still 6 people ahead of her before the dentist could visit with her. By this time (waiting in the chair for the dentist) she was in melt down mode. There was pretty much nothing I could do at this point, and I had to hold her because she couldnt roam free in the area with all the things she could get into.

I was about to lose it. I started screaming in my head; why did they change our appointment in the first place??? How do they expect a 1 year old to wait this long?? This is ridiculous over scheduling! I am going to lose my shiz in a second!

And then something amazing happened to me. For some reason (I am sure it was the Lord softening my heart) I went from 100 to 0 in an instant. I suddenly saw things from a different perspective. They were supposed to close at 5pm, and that was 15 min ago…and yet all of the front desk people, hygienists, and the dentist is still here to see every patient; and they are doing it with a smile! I see the stress on their face. The fear of greeting the next late patient and worrying about dealing with the parents.

I have been on their side of things. I have worked places that were overbooked and running late. I remember the pit in my stomach of facing the next person in line and hoping they wont rip me a new one. I was so grateful for those people who were understanding and compassionate.

My screaming thoughts changed to compassion. Was I still frustrated? Of course. I had a very tired and angry toddler in my arms. But I no longer felt the need to play the blame game. It literally does ZERO for the situation if I complain and run my mouth and tell them what I am sure they already know. It will only make them feel worse and like less of a person. That is not fair. Who knows, maybe earlier today a patient took longer because they needed that extra time, and I am thankful that the dentist took that time to take care of it. If it had been Bailey, I would want him to do whatever needed to be done, no matter how long it took.

I dont know what happened. But I do know that every person deserves to get treated with respect. There is a time and a place to voice an opinion about things. And there is always a nice way to do it. I am not saying to roll over and take crap from people, because I am the first one to pester people for info or questions. You can be assertive without being a jerk. There is a way to do it with tact.

This was one of those times that was simply out of anybody’s hands and complaining wouldnt have helped it. One of the hygienists was so nice and he tried to make Bailey feel better and felt so bad we had been there that long, but I was able to joke with him and feel compassion for him. He should have been home by that time. Maybe he was missing out on previous plans. But he was here with us until the job was finished.

The saying ‘you attract bees with honey instead of vinegar’ is so true. There were two paths in my situation today. I totally had some words on the tip of my tongue…but I am so thankful that the Lord was able to soften my heart and help me realize that sometimes things like this just happen. It isnt anyones fault. I shoudnt use my time to make someone feel even worse about a situation they cannot fix. In fact, I was able to joke around with our hygienist about how he probably needs a RedBull and I could literally see the relief in his whole body from realizing I wasnt about to yell at him.

When the dentist finally got to Bailey for her 15 minutes of a check up. He was thorough and nice. I didnt feel rushed at all and he tried to make Bailey happy as well. He very well could have rushed through it to end the day for himself at well and been grumpy. If he had the power to make the choice to present himself in a friendly manner when I am sure crap has been hitting the fan for him all day….then surely so can I.

The blaming and bullying game will never make you the winner or the hero. People are much more willing to do everything in their power to help someone who is trying to show patience and compassion, than those barking orders and commands.

Ive seen it.

I dont know why this particular experience was so profound to me, but it was remarkably life changing.

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These are our Bits O’ Bertoch.

Cassie Bertoch

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