The insensitivity of strangers

People are morons. Smart, educated, kind hearted people. They are absolute morons. They can’t help it. We are wired to have emotional responses rather than logical ones. We are human. And sometimes that really, really sucks.

I went to the dentist yesterday morning. When I made the appointment I told them that I needed a cleaning before starting chemo so if they needed to do anything special for that, that’s what I needed done. There were three ladies in the office and each of them said something to me about it so they all knew. It started with the front desk, she was very nice said she was sorry, whatever. Then a young girl who turned out to be less than a year out of school took me back to do my x-rays. We talked about the mouth sores, dryness, and general symptoms that may be a general part of my future. She told me about all kinds of products than can help. She did the x-rays. During this time she mentioned that the doctor was out for a medical emergency so I may need to come back if I needed to see him for anything. Hopefully he won’t be out long, blah blah blah. Anyway… the woman comes in to do my cleaning. She and I have a pretty easy rapport and we retake a bunch of x-rays and then get to it. She is about 3/4 of the way through when the young girl comes in and says she needs to have a word with her outside. Smooth. They go in the hallway and there is a small celebration. Squealing, clearly some jumping up and down, etc. Totally normal, right?

The woman comes back in to finish cleaning my teeth a couple minutes later. She sits down and is waving at her face pretty big in an attempt to calm down. She blurts out that the doctor had to have a lung biopsy and it just came back clean and it is such a tremendous relief to everyone, they are just so excited. I looked back and made eye contact with her because she is still fanning her face. She is crying. Tears of joy. I really didn’t know what to say, I think I managed something like “that’s great”. She went on. About what a travesty it would have been for him to have cancer because he is so young… then she said not that you aren’t. Oh, and he has a baby… um, not that you don’t. I think I nodded. She had started repeating herself. She started telling me everyone in the office hasn’t been able to sleep since Saturday so this is just such a huge relief. I wasn’t even sure if this was really happening. She went into repeat – he’s so young, he has a baby, they haven’t been sleeping, I don’t know what the hell she was thinking because this was just making it worse. Finally I said, “look, you don’t have to tell me about not sleeping.” and she finally, thankfully, shut it. We got through the rest of the cleaning without another word. She gave me a wrap up – I have a crack in a tooth that I need to come back and have the doctor work on. Next was the polish. See ya later alligator. Then she went to the next room. I was pretty much just trying to look out the window and think of other things.

The x-ray girl comes back in to do my polish. She has me pick my flavor (I went with cinnamon) and starts in. Then she starts talking. Same thing. The doctor was so young and it just would have been so unfair for him to get cancer, especially with that baby! What would happen to her? It just wouldn’t be right. What a relief that they can all relax! I had a mouth full of grout so I really couldn’t say anything, but I would have to think my feelings were pretty obvious. And I know, it’s not about me. I keep repeating that to myself. But this was the same girl who was giving me chemo tips not 45 minutes ago, and asked me for the full rundown on my kids. I know I just had the unfortunate timing of being there for a purely emotional response to their stress. I know this. And I’m happy for the doctor, honestly I am. I’m glad that he, his family and his friends all got to have a celebration when his results came back. That must be a great feeling, a huge relief that I honestly can’t imagine. But again, I’m human too. And I respond emotionally. It took everything in me, but I made it to the car before I started bawling.

Apparently there really is something to this crying thing. I wasn’t self conscience at all this time, I just held onto the steering wheel and let it fly. I realized several minutes later that it would have been better if I had some kind of tissue in the car. Note to self. But just like it always has, a t-shirt works in a pinch. Apparently I’m going to have to keep a crying kit on hand for emergencies – or morons.

I’ve had a little time to read up on things from my surgical appointment. I’m glad that went so well because I was pretty tense going in after the dentist’s office. I think it sucks that my cancer is such an overachiever. But the faster it grows, the better it responds to chemo so I just keep repeating that. They sent me home with a lot to read so I’m trying to do that. I haven’t really formed any new opinions since yesterday.

I think I’m still in denial. I’m still not eating well – yesterday I had a donut in the morning which made my stomach hurt. Then my husband brought me a Jamba Juice to the doctors appointment at 2. I drank that and again, big tummy ache. But I went out with the girls which was so fabulous. I had two margaritas and we shared an appetizer sampler. So I at least got some food down. Going out definitely fed my soul though which after yesterday I especially needed. I’ve only gotten about 4 hours of sleep though so I really need to figure out a way to get naps in. Overall I am hanging in there. I have noticed my sympathy/tolerance is really low. When I was at my GP finishing up, a woman came in with a hurt ankle. She had a person with her to help her hop, open the door for her and carry her ice pack. She hopped in on one foot with her friends support, and then her friend got a chair to prop her foot on and laid the ice pack over it. It was quite a production. To be fair, maybe it was broken, I have no idea. But it didn’t look swollen to me and the production value just make me feel like it was possible she was milking the situation a tad. She was sighing a good bit and made eye contact with me. You know what popped in my head? Bitch, please – I’ve got cancer. Seriously. I know I’m a smart ass, but that’s my level of sympathy of others right now. So it looks like I’m becoming a bitch. Who knew?

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11 Responses to The insensitivity of strangers

  1. Kim says:

    “Bitch, please – I’ve got cancer.” That’s awesome. Make cards, hand them out to people who piss you off. You can do whatever you want. Sorry you had such a rough time at the dentist. All I can say is people are stupid. Hope you have a good day today…

  2. Leigh says:

    Pardon my french, but what a bunch of douche canoes!!! Now I hate those A-holes. Great, now I’m becoming a bitch too, Jenn. 🙂

  3. Jessica says:

    from one bitch to another….welcome. you are not alone! come to the dark side. it’s heartbreaking & hilarious.

    our little friend is maybe a tad self involved or has never felt real tragedy.

    she has my sympathy. however,,,,

    her lack of depth does not excuse her lack of manners.

    double middle-finger salute for hurting my friend!!!

  4. Eric Fickes says:

    I’ve been noticing the same thing with “regular” people. All of a sudden there is a lot more noise in my day to day life than there was pre-diagnosis. In the past I’ve always figured it was just me, but I’m done thinking that.

    People just don’t know, and most don’t care to find out because they’re too busy with themselves. I should know, I’m pretty into myself. I’m definitely throwing the talk to the hand look a lot more these days.

    Oh, and I’m soooo sorry we haven’t hung out because I’M the busy one. Uh yeah, I’m busy with real life bitch.

    Keep up the blog Jenn, it’s awesome.

  5. Doreen says:

    OMG Jen! My first reaction is to ask you to call me with the Dentist office telephone number so I can call the office and rip them a new one. Their behavior was not insensitive, it was outrageous and grossly insensitive. How horrifying for you. I want to march into that office and start slapping every one. Bitch is part of my job description, which I wrote myself, however, I just don’t think you qualify for that title based on your blog. I think you are amazingly heroic considering the circumstances. Too bad you couldn’t puke on their shoes while you were there. They deserved far worse.

  6. LynneAnn says:

    Complete and total assholes. Absolutely no excuse for them, they’re lucky I don’t know what dentist’s office you went to or I’d be calling them up. I bet you can get a recommendation for a new dentist from a friend…

  7. LeeAnne says:

    That’s really crap, and I hope every one of those women at the dentist’s office had a “Whoa, we are Real Asshats.” moment of clarity after you left.

    With regards to your being a bitch now: May I offer you this heartfelt sentiment (care of the great Olympia Dukakis) – “If you can’t say anything nice about anybody … come sit by me.”

  8. Jill Breheny says:

    A new Dentist office is in short order. (If you need me to call and explain WHY to the old dentist office and request your records to be transferred….just say the word….I’ve got your back.) ONE of those dental assistants/employees should have woken up and clued in. You are in survival mode right now and don’t need everyone else’s stories. You may need to have something like that in your back pocket, so to speak, to pull out. You may want to start interrupting people and saying: “I’m sure your story is helpful, but I can’t take on anyone else’s stories right now, as I am carrying my own. Maybe you could share it with someone else….” As for the dental assistants, they may never “get it”….They are clueless. Their behavior was unprofessional and hurtful and outrageous.

  9. Joe S. says:

    First off, f**k them in their f**king assholes. I am seething with pissedoffidness. Post their phone number, please.

    Second, like I told you, you have the trump card on all injuries and illnesses. I do have a kidney stone and it does suck… “Bitch please,…” muhuhahaha.

    Love you..

  10. LynneAnn says:

    My first reaction to reading this was to call up the dentist or march into their office and give them a piece of my mind. After thinking about it a bit, I realized no one could tell the story as well as it’s already been told. I printed this out and mailed it to the dentist this morning. Forgive me Jenn, but I’ll always be your big sister and I couldn’t let this one slip by without doing something. Guess I’m becoming a bitch, too!

  11. dietriotgirl says:

    Just want to say ^^^ your sister is awesome. I was livid while reading this. I have to say I admire your class though. I would of went off on everyone there. I have very little self control. And i wouldn’t say your becoming a bitch. I don’t know you personally but from reading your blog, you just matured in a way that unfortunately not many EVER do. My fiancee used to try to keep his sickness to himself, didn’t want to be a “burden” or “drama queen” … and i told him he has cancer… He can drop the cancer card any damn time he pleases. Keep that in mind. People act like their broken fingernail is the end of the world. :eyeroll: Morons.

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