Sunday, March 08, 2009

A Trip to the Lesbian Dentist

By "The Hostess"

With the new year comes my annual promise to get check ups. That
includes a trip to the dentist . It sucks, but it's what you're
supposed to do.

Along with mammograms and pap smears, these checkups are evil, but a
necessary one. As tantalizing as having a total stranger arrange my
boob on a slab and squish it, I only get that done once a year. A
intrigued as I am reading "How to please my man"-Cosmo mag. Aug 1997,
while freezing in a napkin size gown and socks, I only see my happy go
lucky gynecologist once a year. So when the dentist reminds me to come
in every 6 months for a "good cleaning" that time frame becomes very

Let's be honest here…unless the woman is wearing leather or vinyl, I'm
just not that into being poked or prodded.

So I made the appointment with the idea that "I'd rather have a root
canal" might not be a good line of thought.

For me a trip to the dentist is a trip back to childhood…but not in a
good way. I sit in the waiting room, trying to drown out that
mosquito-pitched drill noise and practicing my calm face for when the
hygienist gets overzealous. She's this big black woman; she's good and
she's thorough. She has gigantic breasts and as she grips my head to
her bosom I fall into the childhood dream of being held fast by
motherly arms-that is, until I feel that incredibly sharp pointy tool
wedged between my teeth and gums.

Most of the time I try to keep my eyes closed. I have my calm face on,
trying desperately to stay in the happy place…which is not, by the
way, the fake painting of wildflowers in a meadow on the far wall. My
eyes do open though…usually when the hygienist reaches the point where
my toothbrush has obviously failed. She's half-Nelsoned my head so
that when my eyes shoot open I'm gazing at the ceiling. Again
childhood flashes. They've put a mobile up there…little toothbrushes,
teeth and toothpaste dance above my head, like pixies before a roaring
fire which is my third molar.

Soon it's over, and unlike me, my hygienist doesn't seem that
concerned about the incredible amount of blood I'm spitting into a
small metal sink. The hard part is over and here comes my report card.
I am 10 yrs. old and being scolded for not flossing like I should. My
dentist strolls in and looks at xrays. She too picks up a sharp
instrument. Why must everyone be reaching into my mouth with sharp
objects? I try to answer many questions with both her hands and the
sharp instrument in my mouth…this cannot end soon enough.

So how do you like living in Narberth?

"fing" is the best I can do.

Is the water fluoridated there?

"ow da uck ud i no" comes out before I can stop it.

She pulls out both her hands and looks at me. "Sorry, I didn't get
that last anwser."

"I'm not sure…but I like living there very much." I flash my newly
cleaned teeth.


"Yes", she says. "I took my girlfriend to a great restaurant there for
her birthday." She smiles back.

I'm speechless. I've been going to this dentist for three years. She's
adorable, bubbly….and did she just tell me she's a lesbian? I start
looking for clues. No wedding ring. Check. Sensible shoes. Check. But
there's a couple of problems:

1. Straight women always call their friends their girlfriends…like
they have boy-friends that aren't boyfriends. There should be laws
against that.

2. She's Asian. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time telling
whether women of color are gay. Call me stupid…

3. I'm just not Miss Confidence when it comes to schmoozing it up with
women…they make me nervous (in a good way) but usually I turn beet red
and mumble something about my left shoe…

Which is just what I did. I sat there and got a clean bill of health
from my dentist and walked out of there not knowing what she meant.
Whether she was being friendly, or whether I had just missed some sort
of secret handshake for the club.

Sh*t. You know what this means, don't you?

It's gonna kill me to do this, but…I can hardly say it…I just might
have to start going to the dentist more often. Oh, the humanity…

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Amazon Trail: National Surgery

By Lee Lynch

Americans finally have a president who cares. In one of his exit interviews the outgoing incompetent bemoaned the fact that Americans have to worry about their 401Ks and losing their jobs, but, he asserted that those bad old financial institutions are to blame for that. With his nifty house in Texas and a secure retirement he's good to go. At least the dumb cluck didn't get a bonus from the taxpayers. That we know of.

President Obama seems to want to improve the lives of Americans who actually need his help. To accomplish this he's going to have to perform some radical surgery, cutting and gutting where the greed has been strongest, then prescribing some tough therapy: ethical, fiscal and spiritual, if we ever again would like to see ourselves as the greatest democracy on earth.

And I do. Idealism doesn't die as we get older. It may even intensify. Nursing homes and senior centers will never know what hit them when the boomers arrive. Even now, as I face a surgery of my own, I can tell my physician has never dealt with a feminist gay libber environmentalist peacenik with my generations' holistic tendencies and desire to keep our bodies as pure as we can.

The first time I met with the surgeon, I introduced my sweetheart as my domestic partner. He did fine with that and even addressed her occasionally. I told him about my food allergy and explained how it affected my health care. He took notes and, in recording his comments in front of us, addressed the problem. I was impressed. It was like President Obama acknowledging that we have unprecedented economic problems that must be dealt with in unprecedented ways.

Of course I had Googled total knee replacement surgery, a tool patients never had in the past. The surgeon answered my informed questions, telling me the brand of prosthetic, and that he would use one that is gender specific, as I'd hoped. Previously, it was one part fits all, with no acknowledgement of a distinct female physiology. The surgeon also told us that he would be using a cobalt chromium prosthesis. It wouldn't, I asked, contain any nickel, would it?

I recently learned I am allergic to nickel. Researching both nickel and allergies, I learned how prevalent this allergy is. The surgery was postponed. I was appalled that the doctor had no idea what potentially toxic substances he was embedding in his patients' bodies. My sweetheart and I asked each other, could this really be the first time he had dealt with the issue? Was the FDA as lax with medical equipment as it was with processed foods, not requiring complete labeling?

And I asked myself if there was something wrong with me to want to know what he was using to replace my worn out cartilage. Was I being an obnoxious, whiney, oversensitive new age northwestern dyke? Would the physician decide against operating on me because I was being too proactive?

I can only hope that President Obama is as proactive about the body politic, that he does ask the hard questions, does the extensive research, and insists on proper procedures, because toxic substances in our nation: greed, compulsive materialism, taking the easy way out – these can eat away at the infrastructure of democracy as aggressively as an incompatible substance can destroy bone, requiring multiple operations or worse, making an affected limb useless.

Both the need to save our nation after the monstrous attack from within and the bizarre need to insert metal plates into my once limber leg to save my knee are almost inconceivable to me. I am as amazed that oversight and responsible follow up were too much to expect from our bailed-out financial institutions as I am that a life-threatening superbug thrives these days in our hospitals, killing patients. It's documented that banks shored themselves up with taxpayer money instead of, as they were expected to, making loans that would have saved millions of jobs and businesses. At the same time, studies have shown that some medical professionals weren't bothering to perform the simple sanitation chore of washing their hands.

Usually it has been someone else who has gone under the knife, not me or my country. Sometimes I contemplate what the incompetence and criminality of some elected politicians has wrought with the same horror that I have when I think about this medical doctor cutting open my flesh and prying off my knee cap. "Good god," I think with repugnance, "this is real!"

At other times, when I read the paper or see the headlines on my computer, when I must stop as I rise from my desk chair and wait until the pain in my knee subsides,

I am humbly grateful for the miracles about to be performed in the years ahead by our new leaders and, this week, by my accomplished surgeon. In the end I will again be proud to be an American and I will walk our land without the physical and spiritual pain of these recent years.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2009

Lee Lynch is the writer of more than a dozen dyke books, among them "Sweet Creek", as well as book reviews, articles, feature stories and a syndicated column. You can read more about Lee here . You can check out her Lee's Myspace page . And visit Lee's Tripod homepage. Lee's most recent book, The Butch Cook Book, Edited by Lee Lynch, Sue Hardesty and Nel Ward, is now available at:

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