Dr. Mommy Dentist

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

conversation with the cookie

"mommy, maya and monisha called me a crybaby-head again. i'm not a crybaby-head!"

"of course you're not, sweetheart. don't play with people who call you names, they're not nice."

"i know, mommy. i need to find some normal friends."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

heading back home

so my flight leaves JFK tomorrow morning bright and early. i had originally booked a late afternoon flight but changed my ticket after my ride to the airport situation changed. i'm glad to be heading out earlier rather than not, as i do have the drive back from buffalo to conquer after we land. so i have some time to unpack and decompress after i get home, as i've got a busy week ahead of me. vacations are never relaxing.

it was a fantastic trip and felt wonderful to be back. a lot of conflicting emotions run through my mind when i'm here. i waver between i never should have left to i'm so glad i don't live here anymore about five times a day. i'm not sure i could ever go back to living here after living in toronto, but i would be lying if i said i didn't pine for the good old days and wonder how different my life, my family's life, would be if we'd stayed.

i will blog more about all that when i return. here is one of my favorite songs of all time. it's from the dudley moore film arthur and it's so 80's and is so NYC and i just love it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

gluttony and overstimulation

i guess this is very typical when one heads back to NYC. i braved penn station at lunch hour, walked to the post office on 8th avenue in the pouring rain with the stroller and the umbrella and people weaving in and out, braved the NYC subway system (man, i forgot how gritty it was!) and made it to carmine's where one of my oldest friends and i ate so much it hurt. i walked it off for about forty blocks, then ducked into zabar's to by canuck a cinnamon babka, a favorite treat when we were in dental school. another ten or so blocks and i was down by lincoln center at my oldest friend's new apartment. it was awesome - a studio on 69th and columbus with exposed brick, a fireplace, and newly finished everything. the apartment is the size of my bedroom, but he can walk to the subway and to the zillion amenities he has within a 10 block radius. he refused to tell me how much he pays a month in rent because he knows i'll laugh at him. but such is the life of a new yorker.

the evening continued with even more food, which i had no room for but forced it down because it was just so damn tasty, then washed it down with a smoothy at penn station because i just had to. it was a miracle that i didn't puke on the train, but it's not like it hasn't happened to people before and i don't think anyone would have noticed!

i had a new york moment when i was at penn trying to call my dad to let him know what train we're on, and there's these special phones that if you pop a quarter in you get 30 seconds anywhere in NYS, very useful for people who are calling nassau, suffolk, and westchester and don't want to spend $1.50 just to let people know which train they're on. so i find one, put my quarter in and my sister answers, and just as i say the time, my quarter pops out and the call gets cut off. hmm, okay. i try again, and this time my dad picks up. i get to "i'm on the 9-oh..." and this time the call cut off but ate my quarter. dammit. so i try another phone across from me, and it happened again, this time my quarter popped out. i slammed the phone and bellowed out, "goddammit, doesn't any phone in this fuckin' city work!" no one even batted an eyelash. i made my way to the track entrance, found another phone, and it happened again, but i was able to get all the info to my dad and he was there to pick us up safe and sound.

i got back at 10:30 and returned to find all of my family who had come for dinner while i was gone but waited for my arrival. more food, dunkin' donuts with candles for my sister's 18th birthday today. all the conversation was gone from me, if you can believe it, so i chilled out to watch male gigolo with my sisters and called canuck to say goodnight. i slept very well.

today we're going to take it easy, maybe just relax at the beach. i miss the ocean, i could smell it when i landed at JFK (it's right on jamaica bay). cookie's been fabulous this whole trip, so well behaved, even in all the restaurants, and just too damn cute. she struck up so many conversations with strangers, especially on the train rides. the funniest was when she shouted out to the conductor, "hey, what's your name? mine's cookie!" hey, where's your boy?" i think she's used to seeing male conductors and that's why she asked, but it definitely drew laughter from the surrounding passengers. then she struck up a conversation with the girl sitting next to us and her boyfriend, both of whom were travelling from newark airport and were drinking smoothies like we were. the boyfriend got off first, and cookie asked, "hey, where's your boy?" then when the girl got up and picked up her red suitcase to get off the train, cookie said, "i like your red suitcase, how did you get it? did you find it in the dumpster?" we just laughed our asses off!

gluttony totals for yesterday:
bread, bread, bread, and foccaccia from carmine's
carmine's salad
rigatoni and meatballs
coffee and chocolate mousse cake from french roast
hamburger and french fries from p.j. clarke's
some of tony's fish and chips
20 oz. angel food smoothie from smoothy king
1 dunkin' donuts jelly donut
15 strawberries

they are going to have to roll me home.

Friday, August 10, 2007

back in the USA!

cookie's up really early and the rest of the house is fast asleep (four teenagers, no one gets up past 10 a.m. here) and i've had LOTS of time to update the blog and facebook. it feels awesome to get back. the flight down rocked, but i almost missed it because i was a goon and didn't fill up the car before i left and had to find a gas station on the interstate so i wouldn't stall. plus i got held up at the border for a half hour! i breezed right through, but the customs agent deemed it necessary to detain each car ahead of me for a full five minutes, WTF!

i made my first trip into manhattan with my dad, who had to teach a class at 24th and lex. i met up with one of my friends from dental school and had my first slice of new york pizza in over nine months paired with a diet coke in one of those wax-coated paper cups. it was so meaningful i almost cried. seriously.

today's lunch at carmine's and hanging with more friends. i'm trying to hook up with as many people as i can, but it's hard - i do have famliy here, too! tomorrow's my sister's 18th birthday and we have something planned for her, probably dinner out.

it feels really great to be back. i miss canuck, as he opted out of this trip because of work, but i'm having a great time. i'm keeping tabs of all the new york food that i miss and am now stuffing my face with. here are yesterday's totals:

"official" NY Mets donut from dunkin' donuts
new york city pizza
new york bagel
anything that doesn't have french written on it
milk in jugs/cartons

Saturday, August 04, 2007

feels good

to enjoy the long weekend. it was wonderful to have the day off and furthermore topped off with an awesome party. my hygienist got married tonight and since the whole office was invited and the reception was kind of far up north, we decided to take a much needed and much deserved day off. i car-pooled everyone up there and because of long-weekend traffic and some miscommunication about who was giving a ride to whom and because some people weren't at the designated spot at the designated time, we were 45 minutes late and completely missed the ceremony and even arrived sans one invited guest. but that's another story for another time. it's about 2 a.m. now and although i just spent the last 10 hours partying and shuttling people back and forth, i feel remarkably wired right now. hence the late-nite post. but i'm so stoked to have three whole days with cookie and canuck, and i feel so relaxed and happy that i can sleep in and make pancakes tomorrow morning. yum.

the wedding was specatcular and the bride and groom looked so happy! he smiled a lot, and i can boast of at least being part of the reason as i did a crapload of work on him before the wedding, including anterior bonding. he hadn't been to a dentist in a long, long time (he was embarassed to divulge how much) but he was an awesome patient and we had a great time working together. he apparently was so happy with his teeth he walked around the house saying, "S, look at my teeth, aren't they neat? they look so nice!" i wonder how much he'll still like me after i do that treatment-planned endo on #36 when they get back from their honeymoon..... anyway, she's off to italy for three weeks and i told her to shop for paper in florence, my favorite city in the whole wide world, as it is renowned for its paper and she loves to scrapbook. who would have thought it, florence and paper, BFF? when she comes back it will be a short while before her time with us is up, as she's covering the mat-leave for our regular full-time hygienist who will be returning in november. it's very bittersweet, as we love P and she's fantastic, but we'll really miss S when she goes. i hope there's some way to keep the two, but such is the nature of mat-leave.

i think i may actually be getting sleepy now...

Monday, July 30, 2007

interesting story

Dentist Wins Case Over Tusks in Mouth

('OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- An oral surgeon who temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant's mouth as a practical joke and got sued for it has gotten the state's high court to back up his gag.');

Published: July 27, 2007
Filed at 2:45 p.m. ET

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- An oral surgeon who temporarily implanted fake boar tusks in his assistant's mouth as a practical joke and got sued for it has gotten the state's high court to back up his gag.
Dr. Robert Woo of Auburn had put in the phony tusks while the woman was under anesthesia for a different procedure. He took them out before she awoke, but he first shot photos that eventually made it around the office.
The employee, Tina Alberts, felt so humiliated when she saw the pictures that she quit and sued her boss.
Woo's insurance company, Fireman's Fund, refused to cover the claim, saying the practical joke was intentional and not a normal business activity his insurance policy covered, so Woo settled out of court. He agreed to pay Alberts $250,000, then he sued his insurers.
A King County Superior Court jury sided with Woo, ordering Fireman's Fund to pay him $750,000, plus the out-of-court settlement. The insurance company won the next round, with the state Court of Appeals saying the prank had nothing to do with Woo's practice of dentistry. On Thursday, the state Supreme Court restored Woo's award.
In a sprightly 5-4 decision, Supreme Court Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote that Woo's practical joke was an integral, if odd, part of the assistant's dental surgery and ''conceivably'' should trigger the professional liability coverage of his policy.
Dissenting Justice James Johnson said the prank wasn't a dental procedure at all and only ''rewards Dr. Woo's obnoxious behavior and allows him to profit handsomely.''
The back story, the court wrote, is that Alberts' family raises potbellied pigs and that she frequently talked about them at the office where she worked for five years.
Woo said his jests about the pigs were part of ''a friendly working environment'' that he tried to foster.
The oral surgery on Alberts was intended to replace two of her teeth with implants, which Woo did. First, though, he installed temporary bridges that he had shaped to look like boar tusks, and while Alberts was still under anesthesia, he took photos, some with her eyes propped open. Before she woke up, he removed the ''tusks'' and put in the proper replacement teeth.
Woo says he didn't personally show her the pictures but staffers gave her copies at a birthday party.
Woo's lawyer, Richard Kilpatrick, described the surgeon as a kindhearted, fun-loving man who was chagrined that an office prank turned out so badly. He was delighted with the high court's decision, Kilpatrick said.
Attorneys for the insurance company did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

it's funny how office dynamics work and the level of familiarity that people have and/or think they have amongst their co-workers. did this guy cross the line? it was obvious that this employee felt confident enough in his abilites and comfortable enough to ask this doctor to extract her teeth and replace with them implants, and it may be safe to assume that there was probably at least a certain level of familiarity between these two people (i never asked any of the dentists that i worked with for treatment until i'd been there long enough to establish a comfortable relationship, but that's just me). this may have given the doctor the false sense of security with this woman, and it sounds like he was a bit of a prankster himself so he felt like he could go ahead with such a "harmless" joke. personally, i thought it was kind of funny, especially if it was a joke between work friends. i could see how it was a lapse of judgement at the time and if he offended her, a profuse apology should have sufficed. i could even have understood the fact that she quit, as there was a breach of trust and now a lack of confidence. but to sue for $250,000 sounds preposterous to me. it's not like he took naked pictures of her and distributed them over the internet. the pictures were distributed amongst friends and coworkers at a birthday party, a party to which he was obviously invited and i don't know about you, but i don't invite random strangers or just any boss i work with to my birthday parties. is this another example of another good old american trying to bilk the legal system, or was this a truly legitimate complaint in which someone was horribly violated? when is that line crossed?

we as professionals do have to guard our words and our actions more stringently in the workplace. it is obvious that you cannot assume that level of familiarity with anyone, especially your coworkers. i had a very similar experience with this not that long ago. both of the offices i work in are very casual - the way we hang out after hours, talk amongst ourselves, and even the way we interact with the patients. we are all extremely friendly and comfortable with each other. the hygienist that i work with on saturdays has a page on facebook and when i signed up i noticed her picture on one of my friend's pages. it was an awesome shot of her in hot pants and a tight little top, and she looked absolutely stunning in it. so when i saw her again to ask if i could add her to my friends list, i said, "hey D, i saw your facebook picture, wow hoochie mama, it was awesome!" she didn't say anything to me but gave me this strange look and avoided me for the rest of the day. when i approached her the next week i worked with her and asked her what was wrong, and she told me what i had said to her was extremely offensive and that she does not use that kind of language, i was totally taken aback. i had worked with and chatted with this person for over a year, and even exchanged that word with my other co-workers and assumed no harm in it. of course i apologized profusely and she accepted, but the relationship has certainly changed and it will take time to build up that trust again on both ends. if i had learned anything from this experience, it is to not assume that level of familiarity with people, especially in the work environment. hopefully, she doesn't sue me or my malpractice insurance company.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Simpsons Doppelganger

hopefully i won't see this one walking around springfield anytime soon. doppelgangers are supposed to be bad omens.