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by Abigail Van Buren

Busy Dental Patient Can't Find Time to Brush at Work

DEAR ABBY: The letter you printed from the dental hygienist who was upset because her clients came in without first having brushed their teeth really frosted me. I used to schedule my dental appointments so I could stop on the way home from work, and I was usually the last appointment of the day. There was no way I could take time out from my job to brush my teeth. I had enough to worry about with rush-hour traffic allowing me to just get there on time.

What are working people supposed to do -- go home, bathe, brush their teeth, then go to the doctor or dentist? I'm sure that most people would like to be able to quit their lives in the fast lane, but if that's where the money and jobs are, what can they do?

Abby, while we're on the subject of cleanliness and health-care professionals, I'm sure we all remember our mothers telling us to always wear clean underwear with no holes in them in case we were in an accident and had to be taken to the hospital. When I had a massive stroke last February and the paramedics transported me to a trauma center, I wasn't wearing any underwear, let alone clean ones with no holes, and not one medical professional commented on that fact. They were too busy literally saving my life, for which I bless them daily. -- MAVIS E. WINTER, LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIF.

DEAR MAVIS: Perhaps the dental hygienist was having a bad day, or was daunted by the amount of debris that had to be disposed of before she could get down to serious business with her patients. However, the woman's complaint was hardly frivolous.

Most people have three work breaks during the day, and it takes very little time to brush. In fact, it makes good sense whether a person has a dental appointment that day or not.

DEAR ABBY: You asked your readers to share acts of kindness. I experienced one recently that still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.

My husband had open-heart surgery, lost his voice due to an overdose of anesthesia, and came home a quadriplegic.

Our home became badly neglected because he was unable to do all the "honey do's" he had taken care of prior to his surgery.

My friend Mary came to our home one day and started to help me with the dishes. She soon realized that our garbage disposal didn't work, the dishwasher was on the blink, our sliding glass door was off its track, the lock was broken and the screen had fallen off.

The next week, Mary returned with her husband, Ed, and three other couples. The women brought breakfast and lunch for everyone, and the men brought their tools and expertise. For eight hours they donated their hands and skills.

It was so nice to have everything repaired, and the yard never looked better. Like the song says, "There are angels among us, sent from someone up above."

We live in a world where we can perform acts of kindness every day -- if we just open our eyes and see the opportunity. -- DARLENE GODSEY, KANSAS CITY, MO.

DEAR DARLENE: The last line of your letter says it all. What an admirable principle by which to live.

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