Have you ever found your self a 'TINY' bit under the weather?
Ever found your self complaining because your nose is stuffy, and you just don't think you can go on?
Well- I know I have! I am like a big baby/drama queen when I get sick..even a little bit.
**that is, until recently**
I've been on OMFS rotation this month (oral and maxillofacial surgery). Eeehhh, it's not a WHOLE lot different than my job as a general practice dentist for the most part. OMFS tends to handle 'more complex' cases of extractions, and larger facial abscesses, they fix broken jaws, and piece busted faces back together (at least in this program). We see quite a few oral pathology patients....or patients who after seeing us learn they have oral pathology (cancers and such).
One story stands out the most to me right now. It goes as follows:
-22 year old patient comes to the clinic about a 3-4 weeks ago.
-Swollen right cheek. (no biggie- that's what most patients look like when they show up... bad tooth/abscess).
- Oral Surgeons go to examine the 'abscess', decided to try to extract the teeth by the 'abscess' and allow it to drain from there.
-teeth came out WWAYY too easy, and no supperation (pus). They got upper level Oral Surgeons involved.
-A portion of the 'mass' was taken, sent for biopsy.
-patient returns 2 wks ago for biopsy results..... CANCER. Very VERY aggressive. (turns out she was sent to the clinic by her ob-gyn. Ob-gyn thought she had a bad abscess also. After biopsy results, it was discovered, she was visiting the ob-gyn for a 'bump/knot' on her hip/pelvic area... which turns out to be cancerous also).
-patient was obviously upset, she calmed down, walked out the clinic quite brave looking. Her mother- seemingly detatched.
-Patient back in clinic for follow up. Swelling 4-5 times as large. Patient in much more pain. Can't close her mouth, can't swallow, can't eat. Losing major weight. STILL in 'good spirits'.
-The chief eventually goes in to the treatment room, I was in there for a little while. The chief asked her, in a not so brave voice: 'So, Ms. X, you have a good supportive family?" Ms. X, says 'Yes sir...see my aunt right there, she been with me from the start of all of this...". Doc says, 'well do you have any children?' Ms. X says, 'sure do...3 bad ones too (LOL)". Doc swallows hard, and asks, 'well, do you have any family who could help take care of your kids..umm, in the event that well... umm..." This is when I walked out, to pick up another patient and was asked to close the door. (Closed door - that's usually signs of bad news to come)
-Moments later, patient's aunt outside my treatment room's door, VERY upset. Hear her ask, 'doc, how much time are we talking?' Heard the Doc say, 'Ma'am, I wish I could give you all a time frame. This thing is just so aggressive, and the very best I can tell you is: any day now.
After all of that commotion was over (the crying and stuff, the motions to have her admitted for some kind of surgery on today...), I went to talk to the Oral Surgeons about what was happening. I asked about the kind of cancer. All I got was 'it's bad... rare, and it's pretty much through out her body...nobody caught it until we saw her last month. Her Ob-gyn was 'watching' the bump on her hip/pelvis, but it hadn't changed in size, so was never biopsied." I then ask, 'so, what's her chances looking like- as far as surviving this thing?' The answer I got kinda chilled me, he said,'well, as the doctor in me, I tell you she's pretty much a goner, we just can't say when, but it's close.... so very close. It's crazy though, because she's so upbeat, and she's not 'sick', just 'hurting in her mouth' a little (according to the patient). As the Christian in me, I'm praying for the kid. I know that as a Doctor, I can only do so much, and I do that with Faith guided hands and mind. I'm not the one who makes the final call, it's God, and I'm asking God to give her some more time...we're trying to remove some of the mass on tomorrow, hoping that may at least keep her out of pain, but scientifically/medically, her prognosis is very poor, she is going to die, and soon.'
**bringing me back to my intro quesitons: Do you ever OVERLY complain about tiny aches and pains? This 22 year old mother (of 3), came in for what was ASSUMED to be an abscess/bad tooth, to get the news 3-4 weeks later that she needs to find somebody to adopt her children because she won't be around much longer... 'any time now'. **
That little sniffle in your nose doesn't seem so bad now huh? Amazing, Simply Amazing how our complaints pale in comparison to other's situations. Why do the complaining? Praise God (or give thanks to your Higher Power) for being able to just sniffle, and recover in a few days...