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Curbing my enthusiasm


So at lunchtime I go to get my teeth cleaned, driving 25 minutes to see a dental practice that I started going to 13 years ago, when I lived a lot closer to it. The point being, I really like these people.

This was the first time I had gone since COVID vaccines had become generally available, so more out of a sense of extra cautiousness than out of any actual doubt about the matter I asked the young woman at the front desk if everybody in the practice was vaccinated. I mean of course they would be, right?

“No, but most people are.”

I’m suddenly struck by the depth of my naivete, and it’s with some trepidation that I ask the dental hygienist (someone I realize I hadn’t seen before) if she’s vaccinated, as I start getting into the chair. With the annoyed air of someone who has answered this question more than once recently, she tells me she hasn’t, and would I like her to check if the other hygienist who is working that day is free? Um, yeah (I should have just walked out then and there, but I was still collating data, as Ash told the rest of the crew of the Nostromo).

The other hygienist is not available, at which point the practice’s long-time administrator, with who I have been on friendly professional terms for 13 years, appears and asks if I’ll talk to her in her office. As we’re walking back there she suggests I at least get the x-rays I’m scheduled to get, but then she pauses and thinks for a moment, and then says “wait never mind.”

Great! Exactly how many people are vaccinated around these parts?

Friendly admin then explains that this hygienist isn’t vaccinated because she’s a nursing mother. I reply that there’s no restriction on nursing mothers getting vaccinated. She acknowledges this but reminds me that “it’s still her personal choice.” Then she starts lecturing me that it’s still possible for vaccinated people to transmit the virus.

At this point I start to get seriously peeved, and may possibly have said something along the lines of don’t talk to me like I’m a high school dropout Trumper. She tries to placate, explaining that Dr. Winter, the head of the practice, who usually sees me for a couple or three minutes at the end of routine appointments, has decided that it’s the practice’s policy to not require its employees to be vaccinated.

Like in a cartoon I can almost see the light bulb going off over my head. “Is Dr. Winter vaccinated?” Awkward Goffmanesque pause. “No, he is not.”

I then stand up and tell her that I’m sorry but I have to find another dentist.

She starts pleading with me as if this were a breakup talk about all the good times we’ve had together — I suspect this isn’t the first such conversation she’s had recently — but I’m like yeah no, sorry, bye.

Bleg: Does anyone happen to know if medical providers have ANY affirmative obligation, whether in Colorado or any of the other Several States, to affirmatively disclose anything to patients about the vaccine status of the people who will be providing medical care to them? Because if they don’t that is absolutely absurd and outrageous, although no doubt predictable enough because of Freedom ™. I mean in this particular context we’re talking about somebody being literally a foot from my face for an hour! While jamming sharp pointy things into my mouth. Can surgeons decide that it’s their Deeply Held Personal Belief not to wash their hands before performing surgery? Because how is this different exactly?

Also too I’m just kind of gobsmacked. Forget about epidemiology and virology and all that elitist stuff. What about Econ 101? I mean even in this hellsite of a culture NOBODY is going to REFUSE to see a dentist etc. if the practice requires its employees to be vaccinated. So the costs of NOT requiring that all flow in one direction!

But apparently right wing medical professionals have gone so insane in this country that they’re willing to incinerate real cash money rather than getting the Fauci Ouchie.

So now I have to find another dentist, which will require asking everybody I call as a threshold matter whether they require their employees to be vaccinated, not to mention (but I will) themselves.

What a country.

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