Monday, April 19, 2010

Hopes and Dreams

So after the ba-lay at dinner, Joey and I were talking about our 'hopes and dreams.'  I use this expression all the time - like I'll ask Joey what his 'hopes and dreams' are each day in terms of what he needs to get done with schoolwork, calling patients, etc... and I'll jokingly lay mine out on a daily basis as well, which usually adds up to hoping I can stay on schedule with my patients, and that no one freaks out, making dinner, and working out. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't always view hopes and dreams as a far away and distant aspiration, but more usually as a to-do list.
I was telling Joey that way back when, as a young thing, I reallly wanted to be a ballerina, as I alluded to before. I'm not super sure how I thought I was going to do this. I didn't go to a major ballet school, and I was pretty mediocre out of the gate. That's okay though, I guess I was a kid, and kids want to be ballerinas, or the like. Then I began to grow into the more pragmatic person that I am now (as afterall, I am my mother's daughter,) and by my late teens it was my dream to become a dentist. I know, weird right? I didn't have any dentists in my family, but I really wanted to do it after a couple of major procedures I experienced as a patient. I wasn't sure if I could make it, and it seemed like something really far away. When I got into dental school at Baylor I couldn't believe it, my dream was coming true.
I originally wanted to become an endodontist, because I thought it was the most super cool amazing specialty, in theory. That bubble burst slowly over a month long period in the winter of 2006, in the simulation laboratory in the basement of one Baylor College of Dentistry. I am not blessed with the gift for cleaning and shaping, and as much as I love root canals, (in theory,) I hate doing them. These days I am so grateful to all of the endodontists out there. (Holla back endo!)
Moving on, so next in my avoidance behavior from the rest of dentistry, I wanted to be an oral surgeon. I was fueled with this pro-'woman in a man's world' mentality as a Wellesley grad, and I wanted to blaze new paths and be amazing at something that people didn't expect that a woman could. Well the fact of the matter is, these paths have been blazed, and at a come to Jesus moment with a woman who heads an oral and maxillofacial surgery program in Boston, I realized what my life would be like if I wanted to go this route. She told me I would miss my kids soccer games, and that it would be harder for me than it would for my male colleagues. It wouldn't bother me if it were just a challenge, but it made me question if I wanted to do this for the right reasons. And well, I didn't. I wanted to be an oral surgeon because I wanted to be cool. Rarely did any man insinuate I couldn't do it because of my gender, and in fact, I was very encouraged by the oral surgery faculty and residents at Baylor.  It came down to the fact that its a long hard road, and not one that should be ventured by the faint of heart or people that just want to defy what they think are people's expectations. One of our best buds Todd, is in OMFS at Baylor right now and I'm so proud of him, he's awesome at it and he really loves it.  I'm so grateful that I got to spend a lot of time with that department at school because it was the kind of place where you can really learn so much from willing teachers if you are willing to put the time in, and I'm glad I did because it really comes in handy on occasion in Dorchestah.
My group leader (main clinical instructor) at Baylor told me I should be a pediatric dentist at our first meeting. At first I wrote him off as a chauvanist, (of course he thinks that because I'm a woman) because  well, I guess I'll weakly try to blame Wellesley, but really it was that I was so ignorant to that whole aspect of dentistry at the time. Now a couple of years later I love seeing kids the most. I don't know if I'll be a pediatric dentist, but I'm glad that I get to see so many kids at one of my offices.
Sometimes I spend so much time thinking about the next step, if I'll go on to specialize, where we'll move when Joey is done, that I forget that I'm a dentist, which is what I always wanted to be. And being a general dentist is awesome. At Baylor our faculty put emphasis on general practice, and for that I am so  appreciative. A lot of kids, like me, wanted to jump into specializing because they thought they should,  and a lot of schools put pressure on students to do so, but now that I'm out as a general dentist I'm sure glad I learned how to be one. And general dentistry is hard. I'm not afraid to say that sometimes I wish I was a specialist so that I narrow my scope. Its hard to go from one procedure to a totally different one in an hour, but that's why a lot of general dentists enjoy what they do so much.  In other hopes and dreams past, I always wanted to meet a wonderful person and have a great life together, which I did, and we do. Sometimes I feel silly that I had all of these other hopes and dreams that didn't come to fruition for whatever reason, that I forget that the bigger ones have come true. I'm so fortunate that I had the ability to work hard and become a dentist, and I'm lucky to have the jobs that I do and work with such a great group of fellow dentists - so thanks to you guys if you're reading this, because it makes going to work awesome. Mostly though, I'm so lucky to have my Joe Joe to share my hopes and dreams with.
In the future I want to continue working in a health center or hospital, make a nice living and be able to buy cute outfits and go on vacation.  Maybe we'll have kids somewhere down the line, that's a more vague one at this point. I also want to make sure I never become a pompous ass. If there's one thing I can't stand, its a pompous ass.
Well, that was super long and maybe quite boring, sorry friends. I think I may have had too much coffee on this blessed day off and too much time for caffeine inspired pontification.
Today my hopes and dreams are to wear perfume and go to the Container Store to try to find some magical storage solution for our paper clutter.  Later today I'm getting my teeth cleaned by the best perio resident in town, I can't wait.
Have a great day!

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