Most of the mishaps in this tale of dentistry and mouth care takes place several weeks before any man, woman, child or intelligent animal trained in the care of teeth set eyes up on or fingers with in my mouth.
Recently I registered with a new dentist in Amsterdam. A week before my first check-up was to take place a letter arrived through my door. This letter was in Dutch but I was able to work out that it was from my dentist (this was made easier by the big letter head that said ‘dentist’). Using my limited understanding of the Dutch language I started to translate this letter, during which my internal dialog sounded a little like this:
“Dear Sir… bla bla bla… We are writing to you about your appointment… bla bla bla… What the heck is that word?… Bla Bla Bla… 9th of May… Bla Bla Bla… Confirmation….. Oh, it’s a letter to confirm my appointment.”
I’d already written the appointment down in my diary in ink and everything so I did not really need reminding but it was nice to know they were thinking about me any way.
On the day of my appointment I woke up bright and early, only with out the bright part. In reality I dragged myself out of bed looking like an extra from a George A Romero zombie movie and hauled myself across Amsterdam while still half asleep to be at the dentist at the unholy early hour the appointment required.
When I announced the reason for my arrival to the dentist receptionist she looked at me with a little confusion. She asked if I had got the letter they had sent. I explained that I had indeed received the letter confirming my appointment for the morning. She then explained that there had been a mix-up. By mix-up I mean I had messed-up.
I now know that it is very important for me to learn the difference between the Dutch words for ‘confirmation’ and ‘cancellation’ if I don’t want to feel a bit silly and wake up at an insane hour in the morning for no reason. I made a new appointment and left for my office to sleep at my desk.
I returned a week later and was greeted by another confused look from the receptionist. She asked if I had received the cancellation of the second appointment. I explained that I had not but told her how I had looked up the words ‘bevestiging’ and ‘annulering’. She then said that this one had been sent by email. My spam filter had possibly decided that the Dutch word for dentist was too close to an English word for some depraved sexual act and had blocked me from receiving the email. I made a new appointment and left for my office to bang my head on my desk.
I returned a third time, told the receptionist why I was there and almost turned around to leave straight away on auto-pilot before she told me the dentist would be with me in a moment. This appointment had actually been brought forward earlier after I had received a phone call from them (which I checked more then twice that I understood correctly).
A short while later I was sitting on the dentists chair as she (the female dentist, not the receptionist) took a look inside my mouth. It had taken a while but after all the mix-ups and cancelled appointments I had finally been able to see a qualified dentist. Too bad I had to mentally question her qualifications a few moments later when she tried to start a conversation by asking me where I was from while she had her hands and several sharp dentistry tools in my mouth.
Then again, I had to question my own intelligence when I automatically tried to reply and ended up sounding like a yawning musician with one of his instruments stuck in his throat sideways.
I have to go back again in a few months. Let’s hope things go more smoothly.