By Lisa Newburger, LISWS, aka Diana Directive, who provides humorous ways to deal with difficult topics. She can be reached at www.discussdirectives.com.I am Diana Directive. You’ve heard of me, right? You haven’t? How is that even possible? I am “the most talked about” dental hygienist in Cleveland, Ohio. Do I like my job? Let’s be honest, it is DISGUSTING to put my well-manicured hands into some of those mouths that have to be pried open. Snapping at patients to “quit whining” isn’t getting me many repeat customers. This job is torture! I think I might be on double secret probation. Isn’t it weird that I’m not getting a paycheck right now? For some reason, I am not EVEN on the schedule. But I keep showing up because they haven’t gotten rid of my lab coat. Do you think there is something they aren’t telling me?
I have learned a few things worth sharing with you. No, it isn’t about dentistry. I wish it were, as this is an impressive professional magazine and all. Last January, I had a new patient. Can you believe she had pieces of popcorn hanging off her teeth and had … that odor? You know what I’m talking about. Why don’t people brush and floss before they visit the dentist? Look, I make sure that I look gorgeous for them, right? That is the mark of a real professional — smelling good and dressing to kill in those dental scrubs. I had finished her cleaning and was waiting for the dentist to come and check her out. He didn’t show up. I mean, how long could we admire my magnificent diamond ring? I KNEW I had patients waiting for me. The front desk staff kept reminding me I was running late … again. Where was he? I couldn’t stand it. This is the most frustrating thing, the WAIT. You know exactly what I’m talking about.Is he back from lunch yet? You don’t think anything bad happened to him, do you? What if something did? Perhaps he got hit by a car and is being rushed to the hospital? Maybe he got put on a v-e-n-t-i-l-a-t-o-r, the breathing machine thingy. Oh my gosh! This will really screw up my schedule! Today is THE BIG SALE at Saks that I want to hit on the way home. All the good loot will be gone if I’m late. Wait a second. I’m being a bit selfish. What if this really is happening? More important, what if an accident happened to me? Let’s face it. I got scared. I’m young, 22. I look pretty darn good, and plan to live forever. Or will I? With botox, why not? But I could be in a terrible car accident tomorrow. It could happen. You know, a guy stops to gawk at me and the yellow convertible behind him plows into his car. This pushes his car into me as I innocently walk across the street. Things like this happen all the time. I need to think about this, but I don’t want to. If I think about it, will it happen? It’s like when I pray for a size 8 pair of Jimmy Choos and they don’t have them in stock. OK, thinking or talking about this WILL NOT make it happen. Whew! Would I want a machine breathing for me? I have no idea what I would want or what you would want if you were unable to breathe for yourself. You don’t want to think about it? Guess what? If you don’t make a decision for yourself, this is what happens. The doctors will do CPR, and you will end up on a ventilator. Then, your family will have the honor of dealing with the hospital to take you off life support. You really need to do something, like talk to your family and doctor. You should also put your wishes in writing.All of a sudden the dentist waltzed in. I thought thank goodness I might still make it to Saks after work. As I breathed a sigh of relief, I realized I must take some action regarding wills. There is a Web site called www.discussdirectives.com where people can download a free living will and power of attorney for health care. I love the word FREE, don’t you? Are you going to do this for yourself?I’m going to start a sort of diary that I can publish next month in this magazine. Maybe together we can figure this out. I don’t want to do it alone. OH NO! The dentist isn’t… Yes he is… He is getting into one of his long conversations with my patient. You know what that means. I may not make it to Saks after all.