Finally, after 7 years of neglect (due to crappy grad school insurance and no dental insurance as a postdoc) I got my annual dental check up. I was scared to death because although I didn’t have any pain or problems with my teeth, I was scared of any unseen damage that had happened during that time. I chose a female dentist near my apartment and after filling my entry form (not too long, surprising) I was ushered in. After having the X-rays done the doctor promptly came in and greeted me. And OMG I’m in love with her!!!
Dr. N asked me in depth about family history, medical history and any problems I’ve had prior to coming to her office. At one point our conversation starts to get into science and medicine and as she reads my info, she notices that I work in a science department. Our conversation got nerdier and nerdier, and when I revealed that I had a PhD, she corrected my chart to add the doctor! She had her secretary correct some other paperwork and addressed me as doctor! I was shocked! I’ve never had anyone refer to me as doctor coming from a professional school (except to make snide remarks, very classy).
She then proceeded to work on my mouth, do a thorough examination and talk me through everything. Best examination ever!!!!! She gave me some pointers, checked the X-ray (no cavities, hell to the yeah) and gave me a bag of goodies (sadly, no lollipop). And after talking briefly about my next appointment (6-month follow up) she gave me some encouraging words about my career. I’d told her about some of the difficulties I’ve had at work (from fighting with the boss, to dealing with difficult users) and how I clench my jaw when I’m stressed. She talked about setting priorities that respect my schedule and try to control my stress levels, and how to deal with that and still be a kick ass scientist. Then she offered some encouraging words about my chosen field and expertise and gave me the biggest hug ever. It was so amazing to have another woman give me words of encouragement, followed by saying how much they admire what I do and who I’ve become.
In a way she became a cheerleader for the cause, for bringing equality to science, and to all professions and fields. She said that she knew it was a difficult path, but that I shouldn’t back down, let alone let people (read the boss or users) walk all over me. That it is hard to take a stand, but that it is up to us to get up, get out and do our job well and show that we can all do this, not just white-bearded dudes … that we’re no less and that we’re talented, passionate and wonderful.
I can’t wait for my 6-month visit 😀