Are there protocols associated with sitting in a dental waiting room? If there are, they aren’t published for patients to observe. And no-one has ever notified me what they are.

Consequently, my writer mind wanders freely. The lady to my left has those large black rings planed in her earlobes. Are they designed to let you hang clothes to dry hands-free while you walk through Walmart? There’s no way to know and my best guess is that it wouldn’t be a good idea to ask her. She looks as though she would ponce without any specific provocation.

And what about the lady to my right? She was working on a crossword puzzle and I suspect it would be unseemly to ask if she needs help.

Another source of interest is the collection of dog toys and foods in an alcove adjacent to the hall leading to operatories. Are they also doing dental work on canines? There were none present to ask or observe wearing bibs or other dental contrivances.

When I finally spoke with the dentist, I asked him about the dog apparatus and he reported that they welcome service dogs to the facility but they must remain in the alcove for hygienic and other reasons. That makes sense. It’s easy to imagine reclining in a dental chair and having Fido wander in and jump on my lap.

The remainder of dental office protocols are to be found in my imagination. It’s obvious that you would never bring a sound device of any kind and blast your music preference for everyone in the building. I’ve never seen any inquire about the wait and, “Why is it taking so long” until the dentist or hygienist appears.

If you are at all like me, you have formidable respect for healthcare professionals such as doctors and dentists. This appreciation deletes the possibility of acting strangely in healthcare premises. But my imagination continues to operate, so much that I want to ask the benefits coordinator if the dentist asks her to remove her nose ring before he works on her teeth. My hope is that he doesn’t clean her nose ring with the same device as he uses to clean teeth.  Shalom.

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