The Doctor Is In (At Last)

I always wonder if people can tell it’s my first time.

Come on, not that kind of first time.  (I have a child.  I think the jig is up.)  My first time with dental stuff.  I’ll never forget my first patient, my first injection, my first filling, my first extraction, my first crown, and so on.  I was never sure if they could tell it was the first time I’d done whatever I was doing on a real live person.  It was probably pretty obvious when my hands would shake or I would stumble over my words.  Luckily, the patients I had in school were nearly always very kind and patient with me.

Yesterday was my first day treating patients as a real dentist.  I didn’t think too much of it until I actually got into my operatory and then I realized how nervous I was to finally be treating patients without supervision… and about the expectations my new patients would have of me now that I was no longer a student.  (Let’s be real, I’m no more of a dentist than I was three months ago, before I had the official title.  In fact, I’m probably worse off, since I haven’t held a handpiece since April!)

But it went surprisingly well.  I don’t think they knew that they were my first, and introducing myself as “doctor” is definitely gonna give me a thrill for quite awhile, after all the hard work I’ve done to get here.  I can tell, though, that being a resident is going to be an interesting experience:

First patient: “I hate these dentures I have now.  They’re so ugly.  Can you make my new ones look like yours?”

Me: “Um, oh… no, these are my real teeth.”  (File that under Things I Never Hope To Say Again.)

Second patient: “I came here to the university hospital because my dentist has been practicing for thirty years and he can’t figure out what the problem is with this tooth!  I hope you can help me.”

Me: (thinking) Well, I’ve been practicing for all of, uh, ::checks watch:: 45 minutes, sooo…

But overall the day couldn’t have gone much better.  I finished up and tore out of there at top speed (as I usually do) to get to daycare on time.  I haven’t quite gotten a routine down yet, so I’ve been doing a lot of rushed daycare dropoffs and hasty meal preps and just generally racing around in my scrubs with Caroline on my hip and all of our bags flying out behind us.  That’s to be expected, though, I think.  I’m gonna get there.

Of course, I haven’t had to be on call, yet… but I’ll figure that out, too.

Add a Comment
Back To Unexpectedly Expecting
  1. by KatieH

    On July 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Dr. Julia you got this. In a couple weeks you will find your routine. You are doing a great job..and I love the denture comment LOFL!

  2. by MJS

    On July 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Those patient interactions quite literally just made me laugh out loud! Amazingly funny!

    As a new lawyer, I can sympathize with the uncertainty of (finally)practicing “for real”. It’s both really cool, and always something new to face!

    Keep it up, it will only get better! :)

  3. by Nick Shell

    On July 12, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Julia, I received the August issue of Parents magazine today and saw where they featured you on page 16. Congrats! :)

  4. by Julia

    On July 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for the support, ladies! And thanks, Nick! I got a bunch of texts and FB messages last night about it… I feel all famous and stuff. :)

  5. by Berit Thorkelson

    On July 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Congrats on doctorhood! (The feature is pretty cool too)