by Mark Hartley
The December 2003 issue of RDH dedicated five pages to an "Editor's Choices" article. I obviously liked many things that I read in the magazine in 2003. I can say the same thing about 2004. However, publishing goes through its feast-or-famine cycles just like any business does.
While not directly tied to revenue, the availability of manuscripts - particularly when nobody is writing anything - can remind you of starving wildlife. At the moment, though, we're feasting on manuscripts, and it would be an insult to the authors who are waiting patiently for publication if I dedicated another five pages to my "choices."
But, since the publishers require that this page appear in every issue, I don't see why I can't comment on 2004 here.
• The best "been there" category: Cathy Seckman, in talking about Canadian requirements for relicensure in the March issue, wrote of her American colleagues struggling to maintain CE requirements: "Dr. Retired, it turns out, is a mumbler, and doesn't have so much as a single slide of strep mutans to keep you interested. So you prop your eyes open and try to pay attention, all the while thinking about the closets you could have cleaned, the shopping you could have done, or the bread you could have baked today."
• The best "been there" category II: Lory Laughter wrote about words exchanged with a teacher during a shopping excursion in the June issue: "The teacher apprached me and told me her son was having trouble with a baby tooth, and could I please take a quick look at it. In a moment of sarcasm, I responded, 'Sure, and Michael [Laughter's son] is having trouble with tonight's English assignment. Perhaps you could find him in the store and just quickly give him some help.' She actually called the dentist the next day to complain. After he finished laughing, the dentist asked me to be more sensitive to our patients."
• The "Valentine's Day" category: Columnists Anne Guignon and Ann-Marie DePalma shared a little personal gossip about love in the February issue. Guignon described how she finally succumbed to the flirtation of a male patient, her future husband.
DePalma described her son's bout with tonsillar infection. "Christopher thought [an overnight hospital stay] was cool because he got to sleep in the big hospital bed, while Mom had to sleep in the 'chair' bed!" And, "IV fluids, another hospital stay, and lots of new toys did the trick!"
• The "What would Scarlett really say?" category: In March, Lynne Slim wrote that she felt like Scarlett O'Hara while touring an Altanta mansion that had been converted to a dental spa.
The dental office has an area for "treatment consultants," and Slim observed, "A new client was showing a treatment consultant a photo album of her pet capuchin monkey, dressed in various outfits. The monkey was cute as a button."
• The "truest statement" category: In her July column, Trisha O'Hehir was commenting on researchers who gather to discuss the incidence of periodontal disease in the United States.
She wrote, "Hockey games are known for the fights that occur, but research presentations with heated debate are admittedly rare. When it does happen, it makes for quite a rousing break from what you can imagine is a whole lot less than exciting."
• The "truest statement" category II: Also in the July issue, Dee Vecchione wrote about searching for employment in an oversaturated job market. In her introduction, she observed, "Compared to the story of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears,' hygienists have many more decisions than the firmness of a mattress or the temperature of porridge. Unlike Goldilocks, we need to consider variables such as equipment, ergonomics, length of appointments, office policies, salary, travel distance, and office hours."
• The "truest statement" category III: "Watching the little fish swimming carefree in their tank in the reception area, and perusing expired issues of Time magazine, I did experience a few moments of tranquility." Karen Kaiser was describing her first encounter with a mentor in the September issue. Dental phobics everywhere can attest to the statement's truth.
• The "best photo" category: Author Anne Guignon asked Judy Shimamoto to supply some photos for an article in the August issue. So Judy wandered down to the Kwajalein Lagoon in the Marshall Islands and photographed herself while floating in the crystal blue water of the tropical Pacific. I say "herself," but all you can see is her toes sticking up out of the water in what must be the most "I wanna be there" photograph ever published in RDH.
• The "different way of looking at it" category: Joanne Sheehan interviewed an Arkansas prison hygienist for the September issue.
She quoted Jan Blancett as saying, "Our prisons are full of good people who did a bad thing. My job is like getting paid to do missionary work ... Sometimes, [prisoners] write letters to their wardens telling them how thankful they are that they were able to get their teeth cleaned and how nicely they were treated. You just don't get that in private practice."
• The "most comfortable feeling" category: Anne Guignon described Chicago's "spa girl," Deb Grant, in the October issue by describing an appointment. "Sarah reclined in the patient chair, which is lined with a massage pad. Deb placed a warmed linen towl on Sarah's chest and something warm on her face. With the massage pad set on a soothing motion and a blanket covering her body, Sarah felt like she is in a little cocoon ... [Afterwards] Sarah has no idea how long she was in the chair and recalls not even caring."
• The "getting involved" category: I promise that Patti DiGangi delivers all of the right reasons for getting involved with your professional associations. But in the November issue, Patti touches upon some of her early experiences. "After graduation, I attended some component meetings. The first one was a Merle Norman makeover party!" And, "I became president-elect of my component, a voluntarily elected position. The new president was Deb Grant. I remember the first words she said to me when I asked her what my job description was. She told me to pick up the AV equipment and find some place to store it."
• The "hope you read it" category: About 14 months ago, Deborah Lyle and Carol Jahn expressed concerns about the latitude some authors were taking with the "link between periodontal disease and systemic diseases." They felt some caution was needed to determine if research supports some of the claims about preventive health strategies.
The result was a series of articles that appeared in the August through November issues. They did a terrific job with their presentation of reliable information.
• The "nice guy award" category: Dianne Glasscoe wrote about the relationships between dentists and hygienists in the January issue. She quoted Californian Dr. Bill Domb as saying, "After almost 30 years of practice, I'd have to say the relationships that I have developed with hygienists have been the most professionally satisfying."
In closing the books on 2004, allow me to wish you and yours the best of holiday seasons.
Mark Hartleyis the editor of RDH. He can be contacted at [email protected]