Friday, June 19, 2009

Dental Boards II


Nothing going on.
The AGD annual meeting is less than three weeks away. If you haven't signed up is time.
I am coming in to Balitmore on Thursday night. Classes all day Friday. I am giving a little thing at the AGD Booth for my council on the Know Your Teeth website. Friday night baseball game and then classes on Saturday. Come home Saturday night.
Now that is how I am rolling now a days. No real time for relaxing. You have to relax in the mits of the rushing.

I think CBS had a left over episode of Worst Week and my DVR picked it up.
I was like, "What is this?" while looking through my DVR stuff. I watched it and I have to tell you I laughed for 30 minutes straight. I love that show.

I still have such a sour taste in my mouth about this whole experience.
I know it is a right of passage but to have to go through dental school and still have to go through this is too much.
I had to go through putting on a good face for my professors for 4 years. I took all their demeaning comments. I had to put up with some professors who didn't give a crap about the deadline you were on and had to finished their phone call. I had to smile and say "thank you" when they were telling my work was no good and to start over.
I had to sleep at the library for weeks at a time studying so much.
I knew the custodians by name. I was in the library so much that I knew where the best place to poo and not be disturbed.
I passed all the tests. I completed all my lab projects. I kissed all their butts and now I have to do this.
It cost about $1500 to take the test (and that was 14 years ago) and don't forget paying the patients. (Also as a side note. When a dentist from another state comes to take the boards he usually takes a review course. It is like a crash course on what the test is looking for. It cost $3000).
Now the patients are who I want to talk about today.
Now as a graduating dental student you have a pool of patients. It is your job to complete certain procedures on the patients that were given to you. If your patient pool does not have the cavities you need to do, you have to get more patients or borrow from someone else.
But when you are graduating you usually have completed all the needs of your patients.
So for the boards you have to find patients that have a certain type of cavity. Your patients that you know and become particularly fond of (and vise versa) don't need any dental work.
Well where to heck are you going to find them?
So my friend and I decided about 4 months before the end of school to start soliciting patients.
We made fliers and put them all over campus of the university and the local community college.
It said something like Free Dental Exam.
Between my friend and I we probably did over 50 exam just trying to find the perfect cavity.
Now let me tell you there were some interesting people that want free dental exams.
One in particular that I will never forget.
Before you do an exam on their teeth you do an oral cancer screening. Well I started by looking at his palate and then his tongue and I started to notice little black flakes in his mouth. Then you go around to the lips and you take your thumb and index finger and rub to make sure nothing is growing where it shouldn't.
This is when I realized the guy was a snuff dipper BECAUSE HE STILL HAD HIS DIP IN HIS MOUTH.
He didn't bother taking his dip out of his mouth for me to do a dental exam.
Real fricking nice.
So as you can imagine this is the type of person that I have to bank on to show up for the most important test of my young life.
Okay so I get a young woman with the perfect "lesion" (this is what we call a cavity). Then I find a person with a really good cavity for my back-up. They both promise to be there at 7am the day of the test.
I told them I would put them up in the hotel across the street if that was more convenient. See if you do this then there is a much greater chance they will show up for the exam.
In the same manner I am also looking for a person to clean there teeth. I find this guy that hadn't had his teeth cleaned in over 15 years. He was perfect. In this test you only have to clean 5 teeth.
But needless to say that he had more than 5 teeth that needed to be cleaned. So I had another classmate clean 5 more the next day on his test. So the dude made $500 to get 10 teeth cleaned. Not a bad gig huh?
So my operative patient, the one with the perfect cavity, was a young woman of about 23 years old. Everything was set.
It is the day before the "filling" part of the test. I had just been through 3 days questions and lab stations and I was running on fumes.
I call this young woman to double check on her and confirm our date for the next day. I get her and she starts to tell me she was having second thoughts. Since our agreement, it seems she had been talking to some people and she now wants the tooth colored filling. Now for the test there is no option...we do the metal filling. I don't make the rules.
Now I try to remain calm. I try to keep my composure. Remember I told you that the test is not about ability it is about who can keep it together.
I wanted to reach through the phone and wring her little community college neck. Inside I was like, "Are you F!@#$%ing kidding me? You have this epiphany the night before my test?!"
So I told her that those are very expensive. I told her that she was making enough money to get this filling then go and have it removed and put the tooth colored filling in and still have money left over.
I then came up with this. I told her that if we do this tomorrow and I pass I would be more than happy to do the filling over with a tooth colored filling at my office at NO CHARGE.
She was good with this.
Now I knew she was a bit flighty so you have to imagine how happy I was to see her there in the morning.
We did the test together. I passed and I gave her all my numbers. My home number and my office number.
She never called. I lost 10 years of my life and she never calls.
I will never forget that woman.

One more quick story.
All your instruments have to be sterilized and wrapped and have your SS# on it.
I asked my friend to pick up my instruments for me. He FORGOT.
It was the night before my test when he told me. You are not allowed to use any one else's instruments. I had to have THIS tray.
I went to the school and everything was locked up.
If I didn't have instruments wrapped with my SS# on it I fail. So I was getting into that sterilization room if it meant me taking the hinges off the door.
Luckily it didn't come down to this. I found an employee that I knew, that could vouch for me. Then I got a janitor with a skeleton key. He opened the door.
It was funny, the room was about the size of your living room and it was filled with shelves.
And the whole room was empty. There wasn't a single thing in there except one tray.
I was never so happy to see a bunch of instruments in my life.
Now to you these stories might not be that crazy but everything in those five days are magnified. Every little problem is a life changing event.

Thats it.

Have a great weekend.

PS. I joined Twitter today. I don't know exactly what I am doing but I did it anyway.


Connie said...

I still have stress dreams once or twice a year when life gets hectic. Always the same one - it's the morning of my boards, and I can't find the "admission ticket." So they won't let me in to take the boards. They don't even have admission tickets anymore, but I still apparently have PTSD.

My BOSS who has been in practice like 25 years had one of these dreams recently! He said all 5 of us who work in this office were going to take the boards. Our boards are on the microscope. The rest of us drove off toward Tampa in this custom-SUV with microscopes built into the headrests/armrests so we could study on the drive. We waved at him as we drove off, "SO LONG SUCKER!" leaving him without a ride.

Your boards were insane. Thank GOD I didn't have to find a patient to bring to my boards, or a freakin' dead boy to bring to do an on-the-spot autopsy or something.


gatordmd said...

Great story Connie,
My father still has dreams too.
His dream is he shows up at school to take a test and he doesn't know there is a test that day. Definitely PTSD.
So long sucker. I love that.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean, but I was nursing during boards and had to pump in the middle of boards. I think the hormones relaxed me and I was very relaxed for the remainder of the day and did very well on the boards. I could never do that again!

gatordmd said...

I am not touching this one with a 10 foot pole.
But I did laugh pretty hard.


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