Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just another day in the hood...

Well today, wasn't much 'drama' per se...
just a little of my ramblings and what not....
#1- I felt so sad for a patient today who came in for some treatment on the Oral Surgery side. I was writing notes at the desk and heard one of the assistants telling somebody 'well it'll be okay, you can just hold on to my prayer book for a little while if it makes you feel better'. I then hear a male's voice respond, ', it's not that easy, I don't have anything, just nothing...only thing I had was my moma and she don't even like me any more... I just need to end it all'. Moments later, they moved the guy into the examination room. Almost immediately, the treating doctor came out of the room and went straight to the phone to dial for the doctor who was on psychiatry rotation to come up ASAP for an evaluation because a patient in the room was 'asking for assistance in killin himself'.
I dont' know why that still throws me off. I think I'm old enough to know that people have problems. That people handle their problems VERY differently, this was just his way of TRYING to cope. Suicidal patients aren't new to me, but each one still rips my heart out, especially knowing that nothing I could say or do was going to deter his intentions. ANYWAY- that was just on my mind...

Secondly- MY patient today. TINY little guy, really quiet, and very patient! (well you have to be patient in teaching hospitals/institutions because procedures tend to take a bit longer than private practice). Anyway, the only thing I really knew about this guy was that he was a 'trauma' patient. He was being treated for a gunshot wound to the face. He had about 7 surgeries to correct his facial wounds over the past few years. Now, he's my patient and I'm just continuing his treatment plan. Well, I learned at Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry that you 'never treat a stranger'. So I always try to get to know my patients. I like to try to be nice enough and calm enough and gentle enough with my patients so that they aren't so anxious about treatments. (Without being a braggart, I have been known to be quite soothing and fair in my treatment rooms...and I've been known to give 'painless injections). Anyway, well today was a little more 'rushed' than others. But for some reason I took a little extra time to hang out in the treatment room this patient was being seen in. My assistant, was just being her friendly self and asked, 'so, you're getting implants right? What happened, did you have an accident?' The patient looked at both of us and said, in his quiet little voice, 'no, it wasn't an accident, I put the gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger on purpose'. I had my mask on, but my mouth dropped! My assistant's mouth dropped too and all she could muster up was 'are you serious'? He went on to explain that he had attempted the suicide because during Hurricane Katrina, he had lost everything. They came back to New Orleans to try to rebuild but he wasn't able to get a job, so they (his family) went from bad to worse. He said he couldn't take it anymore, not being able to provide for his family. He drank himself into a stupor and shot himself....but didn't die and is ONLY wound was his jaw was fractured! He then went on to tell us how he knows why he didn't die. He said he didn't die because God had a bigger plan for him, and he had accepted that plan- what ever it would be. A few months after his suicide attempt, his daughter-in-law was killed in a car accident- leaving 2 children that his son couldn't take care of (due to his lifestyle). The children had NOWHERE to go, BUT to him (my patient) and his wife. He said that God kept him alive so he could take care of his grandchildren. God wasn't ready for him yet, because God wanted him to work on him self a little while longer, and that his daughter-in-law was an angel on earth and was surely an angel in heaven. NOW- this story (to me) was quite touching, but even more touching for my assistant. She has been going through a bit of trouble with finances and with some things at home. She came to work this morning, eyes red, fatigued, angry, and fussy. I asked if she was okay, and of course she said yes, but went on into what was really wrong. She complained about how bad she had it and how she was tired of trying and how enough was just enough. So, now she's heard my patient's story. By the end of the appointment, she was in tears again. I was worried that she was angry again, so I sent her to the break room and let her have her moment then asked what was wrong. She just simply said 'I always think my problems are big, but then I meet other people with problems too, who can't handle it like I can, and it reminds me of how strong I am and how things HAVE to get better.
That was just on my mind too...how one persons trauma can inspire somebody else to look upwards... and be encouraged.


  1. wow,

    Your madly caring. I look forward to more of these blogs, they warm me like coco (well your caring take, no the poor lost people).

    All the best Mark

  2. I have to agree with the person who commented last, it's really inspiring. And also, I really like the perspective of that last woman who you ended the blog with. Looking forward to more stories!



  3. Thanks so muuch for you comment on my blog. I love reading your blog, what a great story.
    I will be reading and following

  4. Thanks guys. I know I'm a very caring person...and I don't say that to 'brag' or to be a 'smart alec'. I come from a good family and I'm a direct reflection of them... I was loved and cared for, was taught to love and care for people and now I have a job I love where I can care for people! It's a full circle and I love loving my job! It's one of my many blessings I do NOT mind sharing!