Going Deeper

I’ve been working at a dental office for a few years now. Generally patients come in twice a year for their routine visit. This visit usually consists of an examination, a cleaning and if it’s been more than a year, a set of x-rays are taken.

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I’ve noticed that some patients don’t want to have x-rays taken during this routine visit. I try not to judge, but I do speculate. The reasons some patients refuse x-rays are varied. Perhaps they don’t want to be exposed to the radiation (although it’s a small amount). Then we have some people who not only don’t want to have x-rays taken, but they don’t even want an examination, just a cleaning. The reason could be financial. If they don’t have dental insurance they might want to focus only on getting their teeth cleaned and nothing else. “Don’t examine my mouth and teeth. Just clean them and send me on my way.”

The examination is how the doctor determines if you have any issues that need attention before the problem becomes too complex to treat. The x-ray is how the doctor confirms that diagnosis or judges just how bad the situation is.

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Skipping this process is like going to the gynecologist and saying, “No Pap Smear today please. In fact, don’t even do an internal exam. Just take a quick peek at it and tell me what you think.” Imagine going to the Cardiologist and asking him to put his ear against your chest for a quick listen. “Get that stethoscope outta here Doctor. We don’t need that today.”

Whether its money issues or time constraints that lead the patient to decline treatment, it is their choice and we respect that. However it should be understood that the healthcare provider needs a deeper look to fully understand what’s going on.

The same is true for writing Fiction. The Romance novel I’m working on is told in First Person Point of View. That means the main character tells the story and we see everything from her point of view. So instead of: Jane Doe went to the store to buy milk. It was there that she met the man of her dreams. We have: I went to the store to buy milk. It was there that I met the man of my dreams.

But in order to provide a deeper look at how Jane views the store, the milk or the man we need her internal thought. That’s what I’m currently learning as I post chapters of my novel for my peers to critique. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it: I silently cursed my roommates as I went to the store to buy milk. I was pissed. I wasn’t the one who finished the milk and I certainly wasn’t the one who needed milk. But here I was at Two in the morning, in this sleazy convenience store just because – oh. Who is this handsome specimen behind the counter?

I am still working on mastering this skill. I know that once I am proficient at it my readers will reap the benefits of having a better understanding of my characters. At the same time, those peers who have coached me on this writing technique will nod in satisfaction as they send me a virtual fist bump.

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