I love my job. I’ve always joked that as a dental hygienist I’m a cross between a nurse and a hairdresser. I love working in health care- helping people have better health and teaching preventative care. I love helping people look and feel better about themselves, and I love building relationships with my patients and getting to know them and their family. It can be tricky though; holding a two way conversation with someone who has a pair of hands in their mouth has it’s challenges. At the end of an hour there are some people whom I feel I have spent quality time with, there are others with whom I haven’t even gotten past the pleasantries. Sometimes it’s me- I’m tired, have a lot on my mind, I’m running behind schedule. Sometimes it’s them- they’re not feeling chatty, they have a lot on their mind, they hate being at the dentist. In any case, I try to pray throughout the day that God would use me to be a light to my patients. Sometimes I find opportunities to share the gospel or invite a patient to church, but more often I try to share by example and by being positive and encouraging to them.
The other day I had a patient in my chair whom I’ve seen 5 or 6 times during the past few years. He’s a 50 something man with three children- one of them is adopted and two have special needs. He always strikes me as someone who is making the best of a difficult life. He’s polite and friendly, but always seems tired and somewhat beaten down. I decided to ask him a little bit about his adoption experience and told him about how I long to start pursuing adoption for our family. We then segued into a conversation about marriage and the challenges of finding time to date our spouses and putting marriage first. I shared how Chris and I decided to do some marriage counseling as a gift to ourselves this year. How we plan on being married to each other for a really long time and want it to be the best it can be. I encouraged him to invest in his wife and to find ways to reconnect with her. And then he said “What about sex?”
Cue the long awkward pause.
Ummmmm, what? Yes it’s true I’ve been speaking about personal topics with you for the past 30 minutes, but I wasn’t really planning on going THERE!
I must have given him a funny look. And the increasingly long pause in the conversation was probably a clue.
“I mean the gender. Of a child. If you adopt!” He clarified.
Ahhhh. Now that’s something I’m happy to talk about with you!