My first two patients of the day were already seated and the “problem patient” was in the waiting room. He wanted to see me for another bite adjustment on what he called “our” recently cemented crown. My two dental assistants were talking with the patients seated in our two operatories. They were answering questions, reviewing why the patient’s dental treatment was necessary and explaining how long the appointed procedure would take.
I overheard one of the patients complain that he had not been previously informed about the extent of the work and could not afford the time it was going to take. He had a meeting at work and would have to reschedule. That bit of news was actually a relief to me, as I would have a better chance of staying on time and getting out of the office at a reasonable hour.
I entered my small private office and closed the door behind me. On the top of a week-old pile of papers was the day's schedule. I had crowns and final impressions in the late afternoon. Having these later in the day would help, as I needed time to review the case and determine whether to do the upper or lower first.
There was a sharp knock and the door suddenly opened. My receptionist had a worried frown and voice. "You are already behind schedule for today and it looks like we may have a big hole in tomorrow's schedule because Mr. Smith wants to cancel. He doesn't understand why you want to do more than one tooth. He keeps saying he came in about the one broken tooth. I think you are going to have to talk to him yourself. He’s on line one."
Whoosh. What tiny reserve of buoyancy I had was rapidly deflating. I tried to look on the bright side. At least my first patient of the day would be easy. She had chipped her front tooth for the third time. Probably some moisture contamination, I thought, from the repair I’d done the week before. This would be quick and, well, three is a charm.
Hours later, the day mercifully ended. As I slowly slid into my car, I realized how mentally and physically tired I was and it was only Tuesday. As I glanced at the tattered book on the seat, I contemplated going straight home and postponing the bookshop visit. I also felt myself becoming apprehensive. I didn’t know anything about bookbinding and I wondered if I could trust the bookbinder. How much would it cost? How long would it take? Would it look good and last?
I had asked around and found that others had been pleased with his work, although I was also told he took his time and to be patient. As I drove closer to the shop, I overcame my apprehension. After all, the book repair shop was on my way home and the book was important to me. I wanted to have it in good shape for my lifetime.
As I pulled up to the shop, I was impressed by the neatness of the grounds and was struck by the wooden sign above the front door. On a field of deep green, raised gold letters created a sense of permanence, as they professed:
Bindings for Life
Harris Tautell, Bookbinder