A Surprise at the Dentist

I went to the dentist thinking I'd have no way to communicate without an interpreter. A signing staff member brightened my day.

I was not happy to be going to the dentist today. For one thing, I had plans that I was forced to cancel. Although the appointment was made six months ago, no one told me about it until a few days ago.

Because of the lack of notice, I had no time to arrange an interpreter. In the past, my mother would go with me and use the sign language manual alphabet to "fingerspell" what was being said. Unfortunately, my mother is still healing from injuries she received in a car accident. My dad took me to the dentist. He does not sign, so we have trouble communicating.

I sat in Dr. Gordon Marsh's dentist chair in a nasty mood. I'm fond of Dr. Marsh and his staff. But I did not like the idea of having my mouth worked on when no one could tell me what was going on. That's why it's so important for people who are deaf to have access to interpreters in medical settings.

The dental hygienist put on my little bib and picked up my hand. She fingerspelled "This is Sarah" directly into my hand. I jumped in surprise! I had no idea that Dr. Marsh had staff who can communicate with people who are deaf and deaf-blind. Sarah kept me informed about what she was doing. We also chatted as she worked. It was an unusual and wonderful experience for me.

After Dr. Marsh checked my teeth, Sarah gave me a thumbs up. I left the office with a bright smile on my face. Only part of it was a result of the polish.

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Kristen Loughley June 01, 2012 at 04:46 PM
What a great feelgood story-
Ruth June 02, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Nice to see a good positive story and kudos to Dr. Marsh and his staff.
Sophie Gadgets June 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
As an adult who is paying for a childhood fixation with sugary sweets, I know what it is like to sit in the dentist’s chair and be filled with trepidation. It is nice to see that dentists are making patients feel comfortable. My dentist gives us headphones and our favorite tunes, but I am sure you were equally as comforted by the reassuring comments fingerspelled into your hand by the office staff. This story restores my faith in the medical profession and proves not every doctor is merely interested in high fees and assembly line service delivery. Thanks for the positive the message.
Sally Amster June 07, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I just read this article and am so happy Sarah was your Dental Hygentist. She ia a kind and wonderful person. She use to take sign language in high schol years ago. Once you learn something it will always come back and be used again in life. I am so glad Sarah was there that day for you. She is my daughter and I am so proud of her, so glad it turned out to be a good Dental visit for you......
constance pierce June 07, 2012 at 09:16 PM
What a compassionate person Sarah is! She really makes the day shine. Wish there were a thousand more like her!


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