“Tact is the ability to step on a man’s toes without messing up the shine on his shoes.”
S I Z E O F D E N T A L O P E R A T I N G R O O M R E D U C E D
Tuesday afternoon I needed to make an emergency appointment with my dentist. A gold crown on my back tooth on the lower jaw had popped its housing and the jagged structure of tooth remaining not only made it hard to eat food but also provided continual pin pricks to my tongue.
This was a necessary elective surgery and I contacted the dental office to not only make the appointment but also inquire as to what I should do to protect myself from contracting the COVID virus. The female receptionist was friendly, informative and listed the many ways patients were protected.
Before she confirmed my appointment time she asked me the formalized pre screen questions. I answered them to her satisfaction and the time was set. I had been safe distancing and wearing a protective face mask for many months and using hand sanitizers liberally.
The office she informed me offered a “virtual waiting room” wherein patients could sit in their cars and wait their turn until it was their time. I did not have such a phone and relied on my flip flop phone to all the office fifteen minutes before my set time (2:15) and inform the office I was nearby.
I placed the call at two p.m. and was told to be in the office by 2:10. There were preliminary forms to fill out and a temperature scan to be made to determine if I had a temperature, fever, sniffles or cough. Normal stuff these days.
I entered the reception area at the recommended time. Plastic barriers were placed at the desks and all staff wore face masks. My forehead was scanned and my temperature was “normal”. The attendant behind the desk handed me a clipboard , magic marker and a brief questionnaire which was covered with a thick plastic sheet. He directed me to have a seat in a waiting area to fill out the form.
There were six seats in this section spaced appropriately with a red warning sticker placed on three of them emphasizing the warning “DO NOT USE“. I was lucky and placed myself in a useable chair and filled out the form. I noticed that the writing materials and the clip board I used felt “funny”.
There was a slimy film of some sort on all of them. I returned the objects to the information desk, sat in a recently vacated chair, sprayed my hands a few times with my own hand sanitizer I always carry with me and waited for my name to be called.
A total of four patients were in the room. Myself and another senior (female) wore masks.; two men over fifty did not. It was a mixed bag of caution versus indifference. Another male entered the area around 2:30. He did not have a mask and had a slight cough. He sat on one of the do not use chairs and turned on his tablet and played a video game. He wore headphones so he was oblivious to any external sounds.
My chair was located at the entrance to this area. The proper distancing was observed at that time. I did not expect to be called right away as this was an emergency situation. In the time that passed by the situation went from bad to worse. More patients entered the area. Confusion ruled the roost.
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In part two of this post I will describe the “real” and not virtual condition of this office and the ways in which medical centers need a federal guidance plan to ensure their patients comply with pandemic protocols and procedures. Without such a national strategy no one is really safe from infection.
This post is presented as part of partner Susan and my Wednesday Challenge , TIPS AND TRICKS, on our alternate site WEEKLY PROMPTS.