We may misunderstand each other a time or two during the next 365 days before I write the Editor's Note for the December 2015 issue. If it's just a time or two, we'll be doing much better than the communication I have with certain family members. The older and younger generations disagree about some topics. Most of the time they just gingerly sidestep - don't talk about "that." I do not mediate because I'm an editor. I believe in two things:
• Unless there's a real threat for violence or even just nausea, no subject should be taboo. Everyone should be free to discuss what's important to them.
• There's nothing like a good magazine article.
"Dad! Quit passing out magazines! We're trying to have a conversation here."
Actually, this is all wistful thinking, isn't it? Family conversations often end up with everyone staring down at a smartphone or tablet (I'm as guilty as anyone), tweeting or posting comments to like-minded thinkers (who are not family members).
But I'm telling you, there's nothing like a good magazine article. The articles listed on pages 48-51 were chosen by you, according to statistics generated by various reports.
Here's where we might have the last disagreement of 2014. Certain lines pop out at me when I read RDH articles. Every December, I pass along to you my favorite lines from the preceding year. Someday, I will gather them all and share them with family members.
"Dad! A dental hygienist said this? Wow!"
"Yes, son, a dental hygienist said that. There's nothing like a good magazine article."
• The myth of cross-training, by Shirley Gutkowski, Jan. 2014 issue
"Serving and being served are two different sets of skills. Could a bricklayer serve lunch as well as a server could brick in a basement?"
Actually, I was going to answer yes, until I remembered the fellow who laid brick over our plain concrete porch. It was not even an entire house - just a small porch to enhance curb appeal. The bricklayer's artistry is something that most food servers (and myself) cannot quite grasp.
• Ontario's Smile Spa, by Lynne Slim, April 2014 issue
"Just as I've never seen milk packaged in a plastic bag (a Canadian oddity), I've also never experienced a dental hygiene practice in a dental hygienist's home ... Just imagine going from breakfast in your comfortable kitchen to the operatory without leaving your home in frigid temperatures."
Something always catches our attention in someone else's kitchen, doesn't it, even if it's just the thought: They eat that brand of soup? Yuck!
• The voices of our mothers, by Diane Thomas, April 2014 issue
"When I was born, Mom decided that I was bound for college. She did not want me to have to haul buckets of water in the freezing cold to wash my children's diapers."
This article was actually written in 2013, but we intentionally saved it to publish it closer to Mother's Day. Four hygienists described how Mom, recently deceased, influenced their careers, and the above comment was made by Laura Mallery-Sayre.
• A committed command, by Cathy Seckman, June 2014 issue
"Last August, hygiene student Sara Keedy of Wheeling, W. Va., met her new partner in life, Noel. It was a match made in heaven. He accompanies her everywhere, even into the clinic ... Noel is a 75-pound black lab/golden retriever service dog, and his function as Sara's partner is to assure her independence as a wheelchair user."
Keedy is a dental hygiene student. She became a paraplegic in 2004. Every dental hygienist's dog is a hero in some way or the other, but Noel was top dog for us in 2014.
• You just can't make this stuff up, by Anne Guigon, August 2014 issue
"New York-based Melissa recounted an interesting new patient, a woman in her late 70s or early 80s. The patient arrived for the appointment with Kool-Aid-red hair and all dressed up in a fake fur coat."
Guignon offered a compilation of those crazy patients that we all see. Instead of the "People of Walmart" website, what we really need is a "People at Doc's office" website.
• Be hip to hep, by Heidi Munoz, September 2014 issue
"After 48 weeks of agony, I was back in my original predicament: living with the infection, the stigma, the worry."
This whole article was a very candid description of a hygienist living with hepatitis C. She was very brave.
The full versions of these articles can be viewed at RDH mag.com. Happy holidays to all of you!
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