Teeth: They’re Taking Over My Life
I know, I know. I asked for it.
I went to school for 22 years to become a dentist. Then, after dental school, I chose to do a residency rather than immediately go into practice. Just because I asked for it doesn’t mean I appreciate the teeth taking over, though. I’m just sayin’.
So every day, I go to class from 8 to 9. Then I work in the clinic from 9 to 5. Two or three nights a month, I’m on call, so I’m at the hospital until 10pm and then I take the beeper home. Some of those days include weekends, so I’m at the hospital all day Saturday or Sunday.
That’s a lot of teeth.
One of the points of my residency is to learn how to treat patients who are medically complicated or otherwise difficult to handle. It doesn’t mean all my patients are difficult to manage in some way, but a lot of them are. Is it violating HIPAA to give you a short, anonymous list of the craziness I deal with on a daily basis for your entertainment? We’re about to find out! I’ve had a patient who claimed he was abducted by aliens and had his entire skeleton replaced with steel (do I have to premedicate for that?), a patient who faked a code blue (life-threatening medical emergency) in order to get out of having a filling done, a patient whose “chief complaint” was clicking and popping of her jaw during the performance of, ahem, certain personal activities. I’ve been sprayed with pus while treating abscesses, accidentally stuck myself with a dirty needle, and on one memorable on-call occasion at around 9:30pm, pulled half of a fingernail out from between someone’s two front teeth.
Yup, I said half of a fingernail. I suppose it’s better than half of a toenail.
It’s not all craziness, though. I actually got to place my first dental implant all by myself this week:
And I get to do all kinds of things that I didn’t learn about in dental school. And it’s great to have the supervision and help there if I need it, and pretty much total independence and autonomy if I don’t need it. Of course, the best part of it all is… there’s never a dull moment!
Anyway, back to how teeth are taking over my life. Caroline is getting her last two teeth in, slowly and painfully for both of us (can I get a hallelujah for being almost done with teething?!), and she informs me daily that she, too, is a dentist:
She must have done some kind of accelerated degree program. I should have looked into that.
Do you ever feel like your work is taking over your life? How do you get back on track to a more balanced lifestyle? Right now I feel like I’m totally drowning in it!