Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Best Name Ever for a Dentist

Franklin went to see the dentist for the first time yesterday; he was referred to us by Maggie's sister Ivy--who, as a nurse, also has an appropriate name, I've always thought. When we walked into Dr Chu's office, we were not immediately struck by the pediatricnicity of the place, which, with the exception of a few colorful Disney figurines on each of the examination lamps, looked much like any other oft-visited dental clinic in Taiwan. There was the high counter with its receptionist perched behind it, and a row of about six dental chairs lined up like a barber shop all the way to the end of the clinic. No beanbag chairs, no copies of Highlights magazine, no slides, no ball pool. What the hell kind of pedatrics joint is this guy running?

When the doctor came out, he wasn't wearing a clown nose--not that I could see anyway, he had a surgical mask on up to his lower eyelids. He didn't have on Mickey Mouse ears, or even a Hawaiian shirt. There was nothing superficially pediatric about the dentist at all.

Then, he asked Frankie, sitting nervously on my lap, if he wanted to see a shark (At first, I thought he said "Do you want to have a shot?") and reached around into his cabinet and pulled out a surgical glove which he then inflated with the air thingie until it was about the size of a baby watermelon. Dr Chu held the wrist shut and pulled on the ring and bad fingers and stretched it out long enough to where it didn't take much imagination to know that it was a shark. The kid loved it.

The doc turned around, and Frankie hopped down and found a box of blocks that had been lurking just to the side of a section of hardwood flooring. He emptied the contents onto the floor and began inspecting them. Maggie and I watched the doctor go over and sit down with him and play with the blocks, too. He pulled a dentist's mirror from somewhere and let Frank look at it from every angle. Almost without being asked, Franklin opened his mouth, and the dentist made a big show of counting his teeth, counting his cheeks, counting his tongue, and touching the surfaces of his mouth with the mirror all the while keeping up a steady commentary in English and Chinese.

"That was fun," he said. "Would you like to take a picture?" Frankie took his hand and they walked over to a little machine with all kinds of wires and tubes where the doctor took pictures of Frank's fingers, lips, face, and two front teeth. Frank: "Wooowwww!"

From there, it was back to the chair, where the doctor went on again with the shark business. This time, he let Franklin hold the air thingie and press the button to inflate the shark to the size of a mutant grapefruit. Dr Chu drew great big eyes, and great big gills, and huge flapping pectoral fins that didn't flap actually because they were only drawn on but that's how realistic they looked.

Then the doc told me to hold Frank facing me, and slowly lean him backwards until his head was on the doctor's lap. He was nervous, but he complied, and the doctor scraped a couple teeth, and tapped a couple others, and blew Frank's hair with the air thingie.

He asked us to come back next week, explaining that the visit was only intended as an orientation to all the fun things the dentist's office has to offer. I looked around expectantly for some whippits before realizing that's not what the doctor was talking about. Frank walked out of there with a new toothbrush, two stickers, a rubber glove shark, and the dentist hopes, a long life without fear of the dentist.

Pediatric Dentist in Taichung, Taiwan. Dr Chu (honest!) 47 SanMin West Rd, by the corner of WuChuan Rd. I have the phone number around here somewhere if you need it.

No comments: