Yesterday, Nancy, an RDH at the CDHA (Canadian Dental Hygienists’ Association) conference told me how much my my presentation, “Tongue-Tied’ meant to her. I always try to ask what resonated most about my presentation. Often I hear the part about my children or the theological part….but today, I heard something quite different: the tongue tweezing! She went on to say how much dignity and comfort she provides the older oral cancer survivors who have had tongue reconstruction from a hairy arm or leg, and how she tweezes their tongue for them in addition to providing dental hygeine care.
For those readers who don’t know that part of my story…here it is:
“There was a suture toward the back of my tongue that scraped my throat with every word. I had to contain my thoughts and choose words carefully. Would I ever speak articulately again? Would I find something to replace the work I love so much?
A very different question consumed my thoughts; would the thick black thigh hair would now grow on my inner wrist! Or even worse, would the black arm hair now grow on my tongue? This is a hairy story. I’m someone who takes care of unwanted hair, and I wondered if NOW I would have another couple of areas of unwanted hair to deal with! I got up the nerve to ask my surgeon. He chuckled telling me he had seen it in some men. I knew he was looking at his first female specimen.”
I always get some good laughs on that one because so many women have unwanted hair…and more and more men, too!
Anyway, getting back to Nancy, I asked her where she was from. She said ‘Canada.’ I said, ‘I know, but where in Canada.’ She said, ‘Canada.’ So I said, “You live in Canada, Canada?” It started to feel like Abbott and Costello! I will never forget Nancy from KANATA, Canada. What an honor to meet dental professionals who are making such a difference in their patients lives.