Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How the crazies be drivin' me to the drink

Whelp, I've just about lost my damn mind.

That's right, I said damn, and I'M NOT SORRY.

Today I told myself I would not get upset when:

1. We got started late because my assistant is in the hallway talking instead of getting our patient for 8 minutes.
2. An assistant tells me she's won't be here for the entire afternoon for some nebulous family health problem/doctor's appointment/not for her.
3. Patients get their tough street "oh no you did'n!" attitude when I tell them they're here for an exam, not a cleaning.
4. Our compressor only works at 50% making fillings take for.ever.
5. I can't put our x-rays onto a CD for a specialist, and can only give him non-diagnostic quality copies on regular paper.

I said I would not get upset because I clung to the idea that during my lunch break, I would go to Target and get a new hair dryer. And I would be so happy with my new hair dryer and the promise of shiny hair so it would be OK. And I hung onto that like my patients' babies cling to their bottles full of Hawaiian Punch.

I went to Target, and the hair dryer purchase was not to be. They didn't have the ones that were online that I cross-referenced with Amazon reviews, and well, I can't just be blindly buying hair dryers. Oh well, I thought, at least I had the hope of it when I needed it.

I returned to work and saw a 14 year old patient who is known to our clinic for coming in only for emergency exams with her mother, and never receiving treatment. This happens because she comes in with a swelling and prescribe antibiotics (because anesthetic does not work well in the presence of that type of infection,) and appoint her the next day for treatment. The mother never brings her back.

Too bad for that mother I didn't get my hair dryer.

Her daughter has an infected tooth in her lower jaw, the left side of her face was very swollen. She had an acute abscess associated with her molar. According to her mother, she was recommended to have a root canal over a year ago, but she knows "she can't take that kind of pain. I would rather her have it extracted."  Oh yes, I reckon with that kind of reasoning you also thought she was a dentist, but no, she isn't. Shocktastic.

I know she saw my coworker  in March with the exact same presentation. I asked her why she did not pursue treatment, which at this point, is limited to extraction because the tooth is now non-restorable. She claimed to be in Florida for a month because her grandmother passed away.

Isn't that always the case? I mean, dad-gum, if I had a nickel for every patient who needs percoset/vicodin/you name it because someone has just died in Florida and they can't/don't/won't be able to get treatment and you HAVE to help them... then I could fill up my bedroom and swim in them DuckTales style.

I told her she last saw the dentist two months ago, and that her daughter needs regular dental treatment to prevent this types of emergency. I looked inside the patient's mouth, and she had/has multiple carious and non-restorable teeth. A total disaster. The mom claimed that she does have regular dental care. I asked her who and where, and land sakes if she couldn't remember the name!

What a pity.

So then I took the high road and yelled at her. Not my finest moment. I told her that this was neglect, and that it was the worst infection I've seen in a child, (which is true.) I told her I was worried about letting her leave with her daughter because this type of infection could become life-threatening. Her response to that? "Why would you even SAY that to me?" For my health, lady.

After we both calmed down, I explained the treatment that needed to be done. I wanted to at least I&D the infection on the spot. She refused, (because then the infection would be in her MOUTH.)  I gave her antibiotics and told her to go to the emergency room if she would not let me treat her here.  She then took it upon herself to call her sister (not a dentist either, would you believe it?) on her cell phone from my operatory. She even held her finger up to me while I was talking so she could hear her on the line. I was not able to accomodate this request.

Allegedly they have an appointment for another dentist on a day that I'm not here. If she doesn't bring her in it will be my pleasure to call the department of social services.

That same sister came into our clinic not one hour later and demanded narcotic pain medication from my coworker. Oh my god.

Then our computer software shut-down after our last patients so we called it a day.
Well, at least I have the big money from toiling away at this place. That makes it totally worth it.


  1. Um, you don't make "big money" there... you're just a better person than most. xo

  2. Holy wow! I cannot believe that mother! Poor kid :(

    And you don't even have a hair dryer to make the day better :(, lol!

    Hope today goes better for you!

  3. Thanks lady. The money there is actually terrible. If I worked there full time I literally could not pay my bills.
    I took the job there because I needed one and I knew I'd see a lot of kids. Also because my boss there is one of my biggest heroes.
    This last couple weeks has just been really tough down there, and I'm burned out.

  4. Good call on chewing that mother out. I'm sure it was the first time someone actually had the guts to call out the situation. That poor child.