Friday, July 09, 2021


This is the 1955th post on this Blog, which coincidentally is the same year I was born.  I feel obliged to share an old-timey story.

I had a dental appointment today.  I had to wait nearly two months for this appointment.  Everyone at the office was dressed in their Covid 45 space suits.  I couldn't see the doctor's eyes because he had magnifying loops attached to his glasses under his astronaut helmet.  I could hardly understand what he was saying to me.  It was as though I had been abducted by aliens, but without the anal probe.  I'm sure this sight would frighten any child on their first appointment.

I was not terrified by my dental visits as a child.  It was a neighborhood institution, two doors down the street from my home. It was Doc Meyer.  His office was a two room building, what we would be called tiny home today.  Doc Meyers didn't live there, it was simply his office. There was a waiting room with 8 chairs, a coat rack and a table with magazines on it.  There was the front door and a door with waive glass that connected the waiting room with the operatory.  

Doc Meyers was an older gentleman, probably in his 60s.  He was friendly and had a smiley disposition.  He had short cropped silver and his teeth were far from perfect.  His teeth were probably very healthy because there were gaps between every tooth that were wide enough that he could probably slide the thick middle of a round toothpick between every tooth from tongue to gum without touching either tooth in the process.

The office I went into today was a calculated overdesigned nightmare.  Vaulted ceilings to make the rooms look larger. The use of fake stone walls to make the building look more permeant.  A fake fireplace to make the place look homey.  There was no scent in the air.

Doc Meyers office looked like it was out of a Rockwell painting with the scent of clove oil in the air.

The modern office has space age dental chairs.  Radiographs are processed immediately onto a flat screen monitor.  Anesthetic is disbursed by a machine that beeps.  There are halogen lamps, and yellow lights that assist the staff in seeing what is going on when they are using ultraviolet lights to cure the fillings.

In Doc Meyers office he had to process the X-rays in the cellar under the operatory. He would numb you with reusable needles in a syringe filled with Novocain, which was in use before carbocyanine or lidocaine. The seat was a barber chair.  His instruments were belt driven, not air driven.  There was no suction tube, but instead a cuspidor.  I don't think that he even kept chart notes.  I don't recall how he was paid.  I'd just walk in without an appointment, he'd work on me and then I would walk home.  No note or bill to take with me. He must have sent a bill in the mail.

I know I'm over romanticizing the old days and I wouldn't want to go back to those pioneer days of dental treatment. However the amount I paid today was nearly 1/4 of the cost of my first car that I bought off the show room floor in 1972. 


Blogger Auntie said...

Bravo! Cuspidor, I'd forgotten!!!

10:29 AM  

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