Humor me, and let me start off with an introduction. Etiquette seems to dictate that, when you walk into a crowd where at least a few strangers are gathered, you should take a few minutes to acquaint yourself with the unfamiliar faces. The truth is, I know many of you already. I was the editorial director of RDH from 1987-1994. I worked side-by-side with the publication`s three previous editors-Sandra Pemberton, Laura Albrecht, and Kathy Witherspoon. (If you`re interested in catching up on your old friends, Sandra now lives in South Carolina, where she is busily writing her second romance novel. Laura moved to Austin, Texas, to work for the Texas Medical Association, and Kathy remarried and is expecting her first daughter sometime this month.)
As you can see, I am now the magazine`s editor in its new home at PennWell Publishing. It`s good to be here. PennWell, which publishes Dental Economics and Proofs, is committed to preserving RDH`s stature as the leading source of information in the dental hygiene profession.
If you have not already done so, please note our new address and telephone numbers: RDH Editorial; P.O. Box 3306, Tulsa OK 74101; (918) 831-9742. My e-mail address lies beneath my signature below.
OK, we`ve gotten the hellos out of the way. I`d like to comment on two articles appearing in this issue. Jeff Schein`s feature on understanding the different types of cancer (page 22) and Cynthia Biron`s Pharmacology column (page 42) struck a personal chord with me. My father, a fiercely proud man, succumbed to the need to have a quadruple bypass performed on him in early August. I was able to spend two of the first three weeks of his recovery with him, escorting him to various healthcare providers. If you`ve been around someone who has undergone a bypass, you can appreciate the fragile, painful condition the patient is in as he tries to bounce back from having his heart stopped and lungs deflated for a few hours. He was frequently bewildered by the assorted cramps, spasms, and episodes of incessant pain. Cynthia`s column reviews symptoms of heart disease that may surface among your patients in the office, as well as steps to take in an emergency.
Schein`s refresher on cancer updates us on what`s "serious" and not-so-serious. Discussions between patients and a hygienist about a cancer can be unnecessarily confusing and inappropriately sympathetic or unsympathetic. As I write this, the breaking cancer story of the day was a Harvard Medical School study reporting that a routine dosage of aspirin reduces the risk of colon and rectal cancers. It`s hard to stay on top of the daily "discoveries" about cancer.
These are somber subjects, I realize. But, as my father rapidly recovers now, I sit back and remember how critical communication was between the healthcare providers and himself those first three weeks. The better they understood each other, the better he was able to recuperate with dignity. Self-esteem is a very important part of the healing process, and nothing builds morale better than being understood by someone else.