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!

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  1. by Jen

    On September 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    An eye opening moment for me was when I was on the phone with a parent (I’m a teacher) during Matthew’s bath. I’m trying to get him to stand up so that I can wash his “undercarriage” while listening to a parent tell me about her son’s disabilities. I am not a good multi-tasker. Plus, toddlers know when you are on the phone and demand your attention. Needless to say, I had to end the phone conversation- the woman being a mother herself was very understanding.

    I haven’t figured it out, so I really cannot help you.

  2. by candy

    On September 25, 2011 at 7:22 am

    As a dental assistant, I love reading your blog….I LOVE dentistry, so reading about a woman dentist is awesome!!! Plus I’m a single mom too…so basically, we’re like sisters…LOL!! Kudos to you for placing your first implant….that’s one of my favorite procedures…I’ve been an assistant for almost 9 years, so I feel I can do these procedures since I’ve watched them a million times…keep the dental updates coming…I’ll live vicariously through you! :)

  3. by May (Amy)

    On September 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    When I was working (as a clerical assistant at a law firm) I was only working part-time. So two days out of the week I was able to be at home with my son. On those days off at home, we did walks in the morning to the park. We ate snacks and took naps. That was easy getting used to. Then I lost my job and became a full-time mother. That was hard getting used to. Now I enjoy it and I appreciate all the attention I get from my son. In Oct. I will be going to school full-time to become a medical assistant so it’s going to be hard to get in the hang of being away from home, again. It’ll be a change to get used to but I hope I can find a balance between school and home.

  4. by Laura

    On September 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

    I’m a young mother and I feel my work is taking over also! I’m in training for front end manager at foodlion (I know but it put food on the table!) I feel like I’ve put so much effort into what I’m doing that I don’t have as much time as I want for my son. On my days off me and my son go for wagon rides and play as much as we can before naps! I miss staying at home but I know when he needs me to be there I will be now matter what! What you do is such an inspiration to me to know I can make a better life for me and my son! Keep up the good work and always PLAY :)