Whoa! What just happened?

Five days ago I published a blog post that turned out to be, well, quite a surprise.  I thought my 50 friends, family, and new blogging friends who followed me would see it, get a little chuckle, maybe comment and click the like button, and I would be on to the next post.  Just as I have done for the past year.

But I guess I said something that struck a chord.

As the hours went by, I saw that the usual 80 hits I get on my publish day were growing… rapidly.  When I watched my stats barely go past my all time high of 121 hits in a day, I got really excited.  Then it just kept going… faster and faster.  By the time I went to bed that night, the hits were at 800!  I was ecstatic and couldn’t believe that so many people were interested in this topic, and I was sure it would probably die down overnight.  But I couldn’t sleep.  I was too excited.  I kept getting up during the night, curious to see what was going on.  By midnight, it had reached 1839 hits.  Surely it couldn’t get any better than this.  I unintentionally happened to check it right at midnight, and it showed the hits at 0.  Seeing the 0 made me nervous.  Would that number stay right there?

But it didn’t.

  At one point the next day my blog was the #1 growing blog of the day.By the way, I had never even noticed this list before.

So after 6 days and over 280,000 hits to my blog, I had to ask myself… why?  What was it about this post made people go so crazy?

Here’s my take on it.

Every person in a service industry feels similarly about a very small percentage of their clients.  This is the first time in which I’m aware that a dentist has so brazenly spoken up about some of the things we go through.  In our business, it is always about the patient, as it should be.  As a group, we have been made fun of forever– all over the world.  Now that one of us (that would be me) turned the tables and started making fun of “You”; dentists all over the world felt a little release, and many patients welcomed this perspective.

Finally, it was our turn to have a laugh.

Case in point: the “10 Reasons I Hate The Dentist” post was a post that I had found on a WordPress.com blogging feature called Freshly Pressed.  On Freshly Pressed, they feature posts that “represent how WordPress.com can be used to entertain, enlighten or inspire.”  That means that even the powers that be at WordPress.com, who see thousands of posts a day, believed this to be a worthwhile topic– from the patient’s point of view, of course.  This post peacefully came and went, probably gathered a lot of readers, and was something that gave a lot of people a good chuckle– because it’s nothing new, and it’s an already accepted perception.  We have all watched movies and TV shows that have portrayed dentists as some pretty kooky characters.  So for some reason when I reciprocated, it caused quite a stir.  Some people didn’t know how to react.  It made many people laugh, shocked others, and even angered a few.

   I heard from dentists in the UK, Ireland, Egypt, India, the Middle East, Chile, and more who said they could relate to all of this.

People used Google translate to read the post in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Vietnamese.  I figure there must not be any hatred in Vietnam, as there is no translation for “Hates You Too.”

You know these experiences are universal when dental websites from all over the world have linked to the article.

As you can see from many of the comments, every dentist has experienced all of the things on this list; and we’ve never said a word.  It’s been decades of a sort of repression for some, because as professionals who care about our livelihood and who care about our patients, we try to avoid conflict and stay respectful of those that keep us in business.  Based on the hype, I can safely say that for many it felt good to let off a little steam.  And as a result of the weird stuff we do in our jobs and all the jokes made about us as a group, we have developed a quirky and sometimes twisted sense of humor– in a good way, and all in good fun.  After all, what is all of this if we take ourselves too seriously?

I feel the need to remind the readers of something, dentists included.  The post is titled “10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too.”  It is not titled “10 Reasons Your Dentist Hates All Patients.”  If you managed to read all of the nearly 800 comments, you would see that most dentists, including me, love most of their patients.  In fact, this list wasn’t really about anyone, just about some of the things people do.  It was a play on the statement we so often hear in and out of the office: “I hate the dentist.”  If you were one of the people who took this list as an insult to you, and you lashed out with nasty comments, then maybe it was about you.  If you were one of the people who felt like this list was about you, and you politely explained why you were offended by me, this post was most definitely NOT about you.  If you were one of the people who stated that you think you did some of the things on this list, but were going to try to be nicer to your dentist, this was also clearly NOT about you.  Dentists everywhere appreciate that you have listened and that you want to improve your relationship with your own.

The discussions that this has opened up have been amazing.  There were long, thoughtful posts between people communicating opposing opinions in a civil, but passionate manner.  Many laughed along and even added their own lists.  And then there was the name calling.  There were about 100 comments that I couldn’t approve because of redundancy or maliciousness.  Someone else said it best in his/her summary of my post.                      PLEASE READ THIS.

I have been called an a**hole, whiny, babyish, unprofessional, bitchy, bitter, and I’m sure a few more.  Fair enough.  If I have to go through the transient and mild discomfort of being insulted by a few to in turn get to hear that this made hundreds of people’s days; or hearing from people who felt stuck and alone and scared to make a move out of a profession that isn’t right for them; then I will take it.  Seems like a fair trade to me.  The post felt like a snippet of any moment in time in a dental practice: you connect with and touch the lives of most, but there are a few that just don’t get that.

Newsflash: You can’t please all of the people all of the time!

I can’t express my gratitude (somehow it now oddly sounds as if I am making an acceptance speech for an award) for feeling like I now have a bunch of cheerleaders, supporting my difficult decision to give up a life in which I have invested so much time and energy.  Or for knowing that there are people out there who might just feel a little less trapped, armed with the realization that they are not alone while unhappy in their profession; now able to hope for a future that fits their dreams.  Or for the many dental patients out there who laughed with us and reminded us why we chose this profession by telling us how much they love their dentist.  Or for hearing the many dentists out there that absolutely love what they do.

So what now?

My husband seems to think you can’t top this, and I should leave on a high like George Costanza.

Nah… how could I do that now?  Instead I plan to do what I have always planned to do: write what feels right at the time.  This blog is a bit of an open journal for me, and the next logical step has always been to keep writing about my career change: how I started in dentistry, how it came to evolve into something from which I needed to walk away, and how I actually made the move into a new career.

Please continue to join in the discussion.  I welcome challenges and opposing opinions or beliefs; but please know that moving forward,  I will not tolerate hatred on my site.  While I want everyone to have the chance to be heard, mean-spirited comments do not serve any of us, and I will reserve the right to send them straight to the trash bin.  Let me know if there are any topics you want me to discuss in the future.  My travel and food topics may take a slight detour for a while as I jump into the process that has led me here.

I have added a contact form, so if you have sent me a question, and I haven’t responded, please email me.  I would love to hear from you.

After a very interesting week, I can say that my life now feels a little lighter knowing that dentists all over the world have breathed a collective sigh of relief.  And the biggest reward I get to take from this experience is that I’m reminded that there’s more compassion in this world than there is judgement and hatred.

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53 Responses to Whoa! What just happened?

  1. MyRCode says:

    As a dentist, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and am amazed at how many hits you got!

    I actually followed a link from an old classmates Facebook page and ended up on your blog…which I’m not following btw.

  2. underseadoc says:

    Lolabees…your post went viral on social media sites like facebook. I know I reposted your blog and made sure all my friends in the tooth profession gave it a look-over! I must say, as a career-changer in dental school, I appreciate your point of view as well as your determination to be happy in your career. As an English major in undergrad, I appreciate your gift for storytelling and use of alliteration, “write what feels right” – awesome! As an individual who has a self-diagnosed case of wanderlust (one of the reasons why I serve/served in the Navy), I appreciate your travel posts and constant state of planning for trips. Finally, as someone who LOVES to eat (and cook), I appreciate your quest for the perfect meal.

    I will probably delve into the “blogosphere” with a dedicated vim and vigor after my course load gets a we bit more manageable. Writing is very cathartic, and blogging for some has taken on a modern virtual look of the age-old bound journal.

    Ultimately, people are reading your posts (especially about hunting down your passion) since it is inspirational for anyone not happy with what they are doing. Most people would think being a dentist is a great gig – good hours, great pay, prestige, etc., and knowing about the field you can appreciate the time and effort associated with this task – so leaving to find your destiny takes on a whole different level of commitment to the unknown.

    I say Bravo, lolabees. Stay true to yourself, and I look forward to more of your postings as you transition to greener pastures!

    • lolabees says:

      Wow, underseadoc! Thanks for spreading the word! I never thought of myself as a good writer, so it’s so nice to hear that too. As I’ll write in future posts, the blogging is part of what helped me “find my way.” It’s been amazing. Looks like we have a lot in common! Looking forward to checking out your blog– looks like you made the first step of actually getting one! Good for you for also following your passions– when you say career-changer in dental school, does that mean you changed to or from Dentistry? Thanks again– it’s much appreciated!

  3. underseadoc says:

    Lolabees, I changed TO dental school. I spent a decade drilling holes in the ocean as a submarine officer…and soon, I will begin drilling teeth. :-) I changed careers for a number of reasons – too many to list, and some too personal to post on a public forum…for now (Maybe this will be part of the blogging catharsis when I start?) I definitely would like to start once 2nd year releases its stranglehold on my time. I would need to think of a good overarching topic, though. Hahaha

    Being a bit “seasoned” (read: older) in dental school provides some unique challenges, but one of them is definitely not perspective, which ultimately helped me decide on a way ahead with my career. Of course one of the challenges I am facing is getting that damn “gravatar” to post right on my profile…sheesh!

    Now, off to tackle to challenge of studying for finals…bleh.

    Cheers!

    • lolabees says:

      Looks like you got it! Nice work. Congrats on switching to dentistry– it is a great career. With your perspective that you have, should be even better for you. Good luck on finals!

  4. Kristen says:

    I’m another one guilty of reading then sharing your blog post on FB. And I’m so glad I did! We must be living parallel lives, albeit 10 years apart. I’m a dentist and decided to “retire” about 10 years ago under the guise of staying home with my kids. After 7 years of practicing dentistry it never felt quite right for me somehow. During my “retirement”, I searched for my passion and what career would best translate that into a paycheck and guess what? I’m a dentist again! (And yes, I even had to take boards again!) LOL Although I must say I have a much different attitude about it than I did the first go round. Now I’m more concerned about helping the underserved community than obscessing about what my daily production numbers are. I am one of your new followers and am interested in reading about your journey! Good luck to you!

    • lolabees says:

      Kristen, that’s so cool that after much soul searching you went back to dentistry but found a way for it to fit into your passions. I do think some women probably leave under the guise of staying at home with kids. I will always keep my license– no more boards again, ever! Who knows, maybe I’ll be like you and go back for more! Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks for following!

  5. Nomi Waters says:

    Warren Woodruff posted your blog in my FB group, dysfunctional dental stories, not long after you posted it and from there it spread like wild fire on FB. I personally think that Warren Woodruff is the one who started this viral craze for you!!

  6. magsx2 says:

    Hi,
    What a fantastic result, congrats on the hits, I thought it was a great post. It seems a lot of people are very passionate about dentist. :D

  7. nsdastockton says:

    I laughed and laughed, all through your last post. I am a practice management consultant and have seen it all. Now I have a small dental assisting school where we teach People HOW to be a good assistants, to work hard without complaints, to cover their Doctor’s behind, to work a an integral part of a team etc.etc. Dentistry is a rough field in which to function and obtain a sense of worth and gratification. I commend those who are tolerant of John Q. Public. I had just discovered your post and managed to tweet it to all my followers and posted it on FB, and Healthy Teeth 4 U as well. Keep on keeping on. I’d love to hear how the career change came about!

    • lolabees says:

      Thank you so much for sharing the post! I’m so glad you laughed and laughed– that is what it’s all about! Thank you for doing what you do because the assistants are such a valuable part of the practice, and without a good one, the whole office suffers. Much luck to you, and there will be a lot more on the career change!

  8. Stace says:

    Hi! I Just want to say “Thank you so much”! I’ve been a dentist for 5 years already, and like you, I don’t like dentistry. However, unlike you, I don’t have the courage to leave this career. I’m sure you’ve heard this hundreds of times but I’m just going to repeat it: Your post really made my day and your post still cheers me up every time I have a bad day. Thanks!

    • lolabees says:

      Thanks, Stace! I could hear it hundreds of times more, so thank you. You never know how you might develop the courage. It took me 10 years. Ask yourself, “do I want to wake up one day when I’m 65 and look back on my life wondering what I did all those years?” Yes, it is much harder to leave, but for me, it was well worth it!

  9. martineden says:

    That is crazy. I am always surprised to think of all the people deluded enough to think that everyone likes them (doctors, dentists, plumbers, whatever). Our society has a big issue with civility vs. friendliness and what they expect. Nice post though and I am still proud to say that I only had a one thing on that list so I am still on the nice and not naughty list.

  10. amira says:

    Wow! A whopping 1839 hits!!!
    I can’t even start to imagine the thrill you would have got out of that.
    on my best days I rarely get over 100 – and even then I feel ecstatic :D
    i am trying to imagine what that multiplied to 20 will do to me … lol
    anyways, that was one great post, totally deserving all those hits, and more.
    I started following after reading that post on freshly pressed

    • lolabees says:

      Amira– Exactly! I knew all bloggers out there would get that. Imagine how it felt to reach almost 100,000 in one day! I’ll never top that, but what a ride! Thanks you so much! Haven’t had the chance yet, but can’t wait to visit your blog.

  11. aFrankAngle says:

    Simply a feather for your cap!

  12. paolo says:

    i rally enjoyed your list on why we hate some patients , so true
    paolo american dentist in italy ciao

  13. ThatGirl says:

    Bravo! So glad to see recognition where it is deserved. It was a well thought out, humorous post that made me laugh and made me appreciate my dentist at the sametime.

    • lolabees says:

      Thank you so much, ThatGirl! It’s great see it open the lines of communication… especially since we both sort of need each other ;) Thanks for having such an open mind. Your dentist is very lucky!

  14. A. J. Bennett says:

    You are some wonderful, Lola, and I may be the only one of your admirers who knows how beautiful you are. grampa Jim

  15. ddstobe says:

    Lolabees,
    Hope you get back to Dentistry. Some patients make you crazy, but to tell you the truth, I say some of your comments indirectly to my patients and I tell them to leave my office at their will. I did once told my patient that you only want to pay a price for Hyundai, but you want to drive your car like Mercedes. I did say it and It felt good. Same thing for grocery. When patient refuse to pay after service is complete, I told her, “You can’t get a carton of milk without paying at Jewel, but why makes you think it’s okay not to pay us?” We live in a strange world or maybe there are too many spoiled americans and immigrants; maybe that’s why another reason our economy is rock bottom. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!!

    • lolabees says:

      Thanks, ddstobe! Hilarious! I love your replies to people, and sometimes they do just need to hear these things to understand. I may get back into dentistry someday, but this list is not why I left the career. For now, it’s just not the right career for me. Since I can, I was mostly making a comedic response to that one phrase we have heard over and over: “I hate the dentist.” Sounds like you love what you do. That’s great, and thanks for sharing YOUR thoughts :)

  16. Hey Girl. You are handling all of this beautifully. I just wanted to leave a note here saying so, but I’ll try to reach you privately as well. I’m sure you are overwhelmed there as well.

    I’d say hitting a nerve is an understatement. Like I read above . . . you went viral, for sure. You make me think of dentists in a whole new light. Both posts are impressive and I think your blog is fabulous.

    Good luck coping with all the attention and feel good about what you did . . . you deserve to be very proud of this accomplishment. It is so good to see someone rewarded for their bravery in speaking up.

    • lolabees says:

      Thank you so much, Miss Demure! I responded to this a bit on your blog. I never thought this would hit such a hot button… and just when I needed some advice, your blog came to the rescue! Looking forward to exploring your blog!

  17. ddstobe says:

    Lolabees,
    You should write something about Medicaid patients. They don’t pay a cent but expects nothing but the best. Live in a mansion but have a Medicaid. Driving Lexus and brand shoes and clothes but they have medicaids. They can’t start a treatment or pay for it because they have a vacation in carribean. How do these people get medicaids? Any ideas??? Kids teeth are falling apart but they refuse to take them to specialists because it’s too far. Should we make fun of the government or is it simply stupid uneducated peoples behavior? How about this? They demand us to provide care as pro bono because we have to help those needed when a patient needs a full mouth reconstruction. Why did they do meanwhile? I wanted to say you should have brushed. There are many who really needs them but they can’t get Medicaid because they are not qualified. Where is justice on this? It just makes me mad and furious. Please make us proud and let these patients know we are human beings with feelings. Thank you for your great post!!!

  18. Renee in Washington says:

    I’m a phobic patient, not a dentist, but could see how funny this post was. I shared your list with my dentist and hygienist friends who absolutely LOVED your blog post. I just got back from my son’s pediatric dental appointment and shared with their office staff as well. Super funny. I am guilty of saying I put my dentist’s kids through college (I think he knew I was joking). Good luck with your career change, love the new hair!

    • lolabees says:

      Thanks, Renee! Sounds like your phobia hasn’t prevented you from having a great relationship with your dentist. In fact, I bet your dental offices are thrilled you shared a laugh with them over this! Thanks for laughing with us!

  19. Like others who visited for the first time to read the Dentist post, I followed a link on a friend’s facebook page. It’s not something I normally do, since I usually do a brief, obligatory whirlwind round of reading friends’ statuses, liking their pictures, and talking to my mom. In and out in five minutes or less. Reading the first couple lines that were displayed with the link, however, intrigued me because of the quality of writing. Plus, my friend is really smart, so if she took the time to post it, it must be good. I enjoyed the Dentist post and a few others. Refreshing style and fun, interesting topics– glad I found your blog :-)

  20. fantastic stuff. I wrote an entry on December 4th that got 112 hits in a day and I was geeked about that, can’t imagine how you feel! Congrats

    • lolabees says:

      I knew all bloggers out there would understand this! I was pretty geeked out when it went past my all-time high of 120 hits, so, yes, it has been quite a ride! Thanks, Dave. If I haven’t yet, I will def have to check out December 4th.

  21. It was certainly a great article! I laughed so much. Do you mind if I use it for our work (dental) newsletter?

    • lolabees says:

      Thanks! I don’t mind at all as long as you give the credit to me and reference my blog. There is a copyright icon with info on the bottom of the page. Thanks for asking.

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  23. Haha, wow! You deserved it… I just read the post and it’s really funny, in a very apt way!

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  25. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    What a great post – and how fantastic how the hits rose & rose … but how more fantastic you got all that dialogue going on something not the common person knew about.

    This is just fantastic, Lolabees. Really great.

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  27. Dr Jen says:

    Hi! Two friends from dental school recently shared a link to your article and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Like many others, I too am a dentist. I just had a crazy day at work today and your article was just what I needed. Thank you!!

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