Essential accessories

 

It is amazing how many things, which used to be done with two hands, are now done with only one hand. It worries me to watch a parent manoevering a child in a baby buggy off a bus or train literally single-handed, often while looking at a mobile ‘phone screen.

Why only one hand nowadays? The answer is simple. Many people seem incapable of going anywhere or doing anything if one hand does not hold a mobile ‘phone or maybe a bottle of water.  

Why is it necessary to be permanently attached to a ‘phone? It can be kept in a bag or pocket within easy reach thus freeing up the hand for more productive uses. 

And, what has happened to human metabolism that requires a bottle of water to be carried about? I might be old-fashioned, but several decades ago, nobody felt it essential to carry a personal water supply. Have we become more thirsty as a species, or what?

Self absorbed

Two of several aspects of contemporary life irritate me. One of them is self-righteous cyclists in London, who disregard red traffic signals and risk fatalities. Another thing I find upsetting is people who walk along in the street with their eyes glued to the screens of their ‘smart’ phones.

Some of these phone obsessed pedestrians catch sight of fellow pavement users and take steps to avoid collisions. Many others do not. They are so very intimately involved with their screens that they seem unaware of their immediate surroundings and other people using the pavement.

Walking along with your eyes focussed on the phone is just like driving a car blindfolded. It is both foolish and selfish. It is foolish because you might trip on an uneven paving stone or fall into a hole. It is selfish because your inattention to fellow human beings causes them inconvenience.

And, what if the thoughtless phone user collides with another pedestrian? The phone user will blame the innocent victim of his or her selfishness for not looking where he or she was going. Actually, it is the phone obsessed pavement hog who is at fault on every occasion.

So, please walk with your eyes on the world around you, and not on the tiny phone screen in your palm.

Here ends my rant!

Turn it off!

When I first qualified as a dentist and went into practice in 1982, nobody possessed mobile telephones (cell-phones). By the time I retired in 2017, practically all of my patients, even some of the children, carried and used these ‘phones. Believe it or not, my patients often tried using their ‘phones during my appointments.

phon

It was very annoying and ruinous for concentration when a patient stopped me in the midst of performing a delicate operation in his or her mouth in order to answer the ‘phone. Some patients even attempted speaking on their mobiles when their mouths were full of impression materials.

 

One day, I met my next patient at the reception desk. He had arrived punctually, but had his ‘phone up to his ear. He smiled at me, and then said:

“Give me a minute, I am in the middle of a telephone interview for a job.”

“Ok,” I replied, “come into my surgery when you are finished.”

Ten minutes of his half an hour appointment passed, then fifteen, and then twenty…

At the end of half an hour, I returned to the reception desk. My patient laid down his ‘phone, smiled, and said:

“I’m ready now. My interview is over.”

I replied:

“So is your dental appointment. You had better book another one another day.”

Even more annoying were those who insisted on asking me a question and then, instead of listening to my reply, began sending SMS messages. I recall one lady, who had very complex dental problems, which required much explanation of treatment options before I could proceed any further with helping her. Did she listen to me? Oh, no she did not. For half an hour, she sent a series of SMS messages whilst I spoke. At the end of her appointment, she asked me to repeat what I had been telling her because she had had to send a series of “very important” messages. After that experience, I put up a notice in my surgery, forbidding the use of mobile ‘phones. It was a successful move. Patients would reach for their ‘phones, and then my assistant or I would point at the notice. The patient would then apologise, and turn off the ‘phone.

The boys from South London

mobile phone stolen

contacts imag-es vanish:

 modern  tragedy

 

phone

For several years I worked in a west London practice near Portobello Road . My patients came from families that had originated in many parts of the world. Almost all of them had lively characters. They were not your average quiet provincial types, who respect professionals – a bit too much in my opinion. They were unpredictable in their punctuality and behaviour. This made every one of my working days exciting, sometimes a bit too much so.

‘J’ was a frequent attender with many dental concerns. Although he made appointments, I could be sure that the appointment times were those that he was least likely to appear at the surgery. His timing was erratic to say the least.

When J arrived, he ignored the reception desk and would come straight into my surgery even if I was already treating a patient. If I was in the midst of treating someone, he would respect my asking him to wait until I was free. He would then hover around outside my surgery, and if the wait was too long for him he would disappear, only to reappear unannounced and unexpectedly a few days or weeks later.

One afternoon when I was free, J, who was not a nervous patient, ran into my surgery. He was too agitated to sit down in my dental chair. Instead, he leant against one of the walls of my small room.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“It’s bad, man.”

“Can you tell me about it? Do you want to talk?” I asked.

“My mobile ‘phone has been nicked.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“I know who took it.”

“Really,” I said, “then, can’t you get it back?”

“I don’t know, man. But, I know who nicked it, and I am going to get the boys from South London to put him six feet under.”

Having said those worrying words, he settled into my dental chair.