I've got a new dentist. She's awesome. But I get ahead of myself.
I had my regular cleaning slated last week. Every six months if I need it or not. Never had a cavity, and every dentist I've had says that it's pretty much going to stay that way. "It's the gums you have to worry about," they preach. So, I floss. Daily. Whether or need it or not.
I've often had a sneaky idea to play a prank on the dentist and walk into the office one day for a cleaning after having eaten a whole bag of Oreos. Smile, "ready for my cleaning!" Haven't done it yet, but maybe in six months.
So, I walked into my dentist's office last week expecting to see my regular person. Nope. The old dentist has been in the biz for nearly 30 years and she brought in a new doc since the last time I was there. So, I get a new hygienist and a new Doc. The doc, in order to get to know the patients, opts to do my cleaning instead of subjecting me to the new hygienist. I've never actually had my teeth cleaned by the Doctor.
As we begin, she introduces herself, and the usual casual banter. I ask her politely, where she was before this to get a sense of how much experience she has. It's my subversive way to measure if I should put my teeth in her hands. Turns out she was a dentist for several years in the Military. Achieving a high rank, she got the free trip to the big kitty litter boxes we know as Iraq and Kuwait.
She was stationed in Falujia for a stretch. The only female around for miles. She worked on our GIs, as well as contractors working at the various bases. I asked her how that was, in a society that doesn't really respect females in general, to rip out the teeth of some big burley Iraqi and various Arab males. She laughed.
I then asked, "how did you know you weren't working on a terrorist?" She said, "Well, you couldn't really think about that much. You had to put it out of your mind. Otherwise, you would drive your self crazy. But, I don't know. I might actually have aided and abetted a terrorist by pulling an abscessed tooth or two. I'll never know. That and I had no way of knowing if one day, some one with a bomb strapped to his chest wasn't sitting in my chair. Yeah, I had to put those things out of my mind."
Over all, she did a fantastic job. And I walked out of the visit with a new found respect for this petite, blond, rock hard Dentist who risked it all and survived. I told her she must have been very lucky, "because not many come out of Iraq whole." She said, yes, indeed.
It brought to mind for me the question I raised a while back: How do we know who the enemy is in Iraq?