Chuck has been going to the same dentist office for over thirty years. Not long after we were married I switched to his. We always had our teeth cleaned by a dental hygienist named P. She was very understanding and sympathetic. The dentist, Dr. W., was also a good guy and very skilled. But when he first tried to work on my teeth to repair a tooth which had previously had a root canal and was now snapped in two, he found the tears streaming down my cheeks and my constant trembling somewhat disconcerting! He immediately wrote me a prescription for Valium/Diazepam, which I took faithfully in advance of all future dental appointments. But as the years went by, I was able to stop medicating in advance and became pretty comfortable on my twice a year visits to see P. for a cleaning.
Then P. retired. I’ll admit I was scared. But I managed to show up for my first appointment with the new dental hygienist N. sans medication. (Yes I am patting myself on the back.) Turns out both Chuck and I had been very happy with P., but N. was a revelation. She was terrific - pain free, friendly, outgoing, gentle and extremely knowledgeable. And she was perfectly happy to continue the practice begun with P. where Chuck would stay in the room with me while I was in the chair. In fact, N. invited me to stay in the room while Chuck was in the chair. It works out great because while the patient has dental tools in their mouth the “guest” can continue the conversation with N.!
So on Thursday, at some point during the nearly two hours of dental attention and conversation, we got to chatting about Law & Order. All three of us are fans and we all agreed we liked the late Jerry Orbach in his character as Lennie Briscoe best of all. That was when N. told us her husband had once cooked for Jerry Orbach. Now, just to prove I must still have some residual dental anxiety, it wasn’t until much later, when Chuck and I were in the car, that the penny dropped and I realized that thanks to N., I’m just three degrees of separation away from Jerry Orbach!