by Mark Hartley
Again, as I say every December, it's a pleasure to read the writings of all RDH authors. Even more importantly, what constitutes my choices has very little relevance. What matters is what you enjoy reading in RDH, and I hope you will continue to let me know what your choices are.
With that said, I did enjoy these specific articles during 2008:
• Anne Guignon gave us all the statistics in January (page 33) about how much soda we drink each year and then wrote: "If you're having trouble visualizing the quantity of soft drinks consumed annually, consider a standard bathtub, which typically holds 30 to 32 gallons of water. Imagine the short– and long–term effects of three tubs full of soft drinks not only on the teeth but the rest of the body." This is your body on soda. Any questions?
• If that wasn't enough for the January issue, Kelli Swanson–Jaecks wrote about hookahs. No gallons to measure here. Just teenagers "smoking safely" (page 39) — not so. She wrote, "Until then, my only exposure to the hookah was the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, sitting on the mushroom smoking his water pipe. However, I was never quite sure just what he was smoking in it!"
• In this age of digital media, we experimented with offering exclusive articles online. Contrary to what you might think, I think some great articles "never appeared" in the magazine. Noel Kelsch and Ann–Marie DePalma, for example, wrote some good online features. Shirley Gutkowski, who wrote about preparing for a hygienist who is substituting in an office, said, "It doesn't pay for a sub to learn filing or computer systems, for example. In the life of a substitute dental hygienist, every room is different, yet every mouth is pretty much the same."
• Lynne Slim, who writes the Periodontal Therapy column, said in April (page 16): "I was an ugly kid. When I look at my childhood photos, all I can see is a tall, nerdy–looking kid with a potbelly and ghastly eyeglasses with pale blue cat–eye frames." Not a bad Rodney Dangerfield impression, huh? We, of course, know her self–description is untrue. She's a knockout.
• Also in the April issue, Kristen LeClair wrote about some dental hygienists in alternative practice (RDHAPs) in her home state of California. She observed while entering one homebound patient's home (page 48), "We immediately noticed signs of the hard work that goes on in this house. There were boxes of adult diapers stacked up along the walls, cases of Ensure, and the air smelled of urine and dirt. I say this from a place of understanding that when caring for a bedridden, elderly person, the reality is what it is."
• Kelsch, in her June Infection Control column, describes perfectly (page 56) the colleague who reports for duty sick as a dog. Our colleagues always promise to stay far away and not contaminate anyone else. Kelsch shares the result that we are all familiar with: "By noon, she was home, allowing her body the room to heal from this virus she had brought with her to work. As the week went on, we dropped one by one, sweating and coughing, ending up at home for a week each to recuperate. By Friday, the office was closed. Production did drop and it went on for two weeks as a result of one person's good intentions ..." Yeah, stay home, would you?
• In the July issue (page 41), Cathy Seckman introduced us to Pig Pen: "Pig Pen is going on a road trip with family and friends this summer. By the time you read this, he may have already crossed a few states on his way to the blue Pacific, hauling a few thousand pounds of people, food, and gear." Pig Pen was a car, a Volkswagen Beetle. The article's headline was, "All Bugged Out." A well–known hygienist wrote me to say that after reading the entire article, not one reference to periodontal pathogens was found. My apologies to those folks.
• Lory Laughter, the author of the From the Edge column, started off her September article (page 18) with, "My father walked to school in snow up to his waist. An uncle walked over a mile each way to school and it was all uphill. I walked to school when pestering my parents for a ride didn't work. My son drives to school and complains about the parking lot traffic. From the tales we hear, each generation has it easier than the last." So true.
• Dianne Glasscoe–Watterson usually starts off her Staff Rx column with a question or concern that a reader has, a la Dear Abby. Not her October column (page 24). I guess the whiners in dental hygiene should have known they were in trouble when they saw the headline, "Get over yourself!" She wrote, "Here's my advice for chronically unhappy doctors and hygienists — GET OVER YOURSELF! Get over being insecure, grumpy, hateful, explosive, touchy, unfriendly, perfectionistic, sour, impatient, dissatisfied, disloyal, uncaring, greedy, dishonest, unthankful, or whatever bad attitude you carry."
• Finally, in this issue, Laughter has the thought: What if dentistry was like the reality show on CBS, Big Brother. "Eventually, the solution to the turmoil inside the dental house is to evict guests ... While the audience has an opportunity to affect the environment of the house, only the house guests get to decide evictions. One by one, those who remain focused on preventing disasters and increasing education are removed from the house." Sounds like a good show for prime time. Bring the popcorn!
On that note, let me wish everyone a happy holiday season. I hope we can all find blessings to be thankful for during the holidays.
By the way, the articles referred to above can be viewed again at RDH–mag.com. My suggestion is to click on "archived digital issues" as the fastest way to review any article recently published.
by Mark Hartley