Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big Boy Toys

Hello all. This is my very first endeavor as an official blog writer. I was never the best writer in school; my transitions were not good, grammar, intros and conclusions were poor. Not to mention the punctuation and spelling, ugggggh. Fixing teeth is much easier for me, and more fun. I have enjoyed being an occasional ghost writer in the past. I have always told John how much I enjoy his blog and how it always seems so similar to what I am dealing with at my practice - almost Twilight Zone eerie, things were so similar. So I thought I would give it a go!

And now, little about myself. I am a 1999 graduate of the University of Florida. GO GATORS!!!!! I then joined the Navy and did two combat tours: one in Fallujah, Iraq, and the other in the Persian Gulf. I completed a two year comprehensive dentistry certificate program at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School at Bethesda, Maryland. I had the stress and challenge of running an AEGD program while in the Navy (teaching is no easy gig!). While in the Navy, I had the privilege of earning my Board Certification by the American Board of General Dentistry. My family and I go this summer to San Diego to receive my AGD Mastership award. After seven years in the Navy, I wanted to move home to north central Florida and settle down. I am now in a two-doctor partnership trying to raise three little boys. Life is busy but blessed! I like the challenges and variety that general dentistry holds. And now, on to my blog!

I have three boys: 15 months, 8, and 10. The older two are finally getting into cool stuff that, as an adult male, I would actually want to do. Like remote control cars, video games and Airsoft. I am not sure if everyone knows what Airsoft is. I did not know much at first. Well, my older son has been begging for one of the toy guns. His friends have them and he wants one as well. It is hard sometimes telling your kids NO when all of their friends are doing it. Oh, the responsibilities of a parent!

I told him first he has to pay for it, so he has been saving his allowance for months to get one. These “toy” guns shoot 6mm plastic BBs that weigh .20 or .12 grams. There are different types, ranging from $10 into the thousands. You have to be 18 years old to buy one but not to own one. Well, I decided to research these things before I created a mini “Rambo” and released him on the neighborhood to terrorize the squirrels and birds and, more importantly, his little brother.

My town has one of the few indoor Airsoft arenas in the southeast. I went over to investigate. There are adults dressed in full combat SWAT gear with these mega guns. I am into fire arms and recognize some of the scopes they have on these “toy” guns as being close to $1,000 - just for the optics! Man, these people are serious. I talked to the owners and decided to give it more thought. Of course, I go to the great wizard Google and find out all about them. I finally decide on the one I want to let him get and all of the safety gear.

I had one of my teenage patients come in for a hygiene appointment. Of course I do a soft tissue exam and notice this red and white crater-form lesion on his face and immediately begin to do my differential diagnosis. So I ask him “How long has this been here?” He replies, “A few days. I got shot during an Airsoft game.” Wow! That looks like it might hurt!

After that encounter, I decided I better do some first-hand research. One of the office hygienists informed me that her son has a gun he is trying to sell and that I could try it out. Great! The next day I took a look and it looks just like an M-4 carbine that I saw in Iraq. The gun is very realistic in appearance, aside from the bright orange tip.

I wanted to experiment and find out how it feels. So I “locked and loaded” and went out and asked my partner to shoot me in the back at about 20 yards. I stressed, “Just one time!” A few seconds later, wabammmmmm! I am jumping around and my back is on fire! Holy @##$@ @##@ @# that hurts. I knew immediately this was not going to fly with the kids or, most importantly, my wife. This thing could crack a tooth (see picture below of an actual Airsoft injury) or take an eye out. I do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a gift that will not get used after the first impact.

Some might call this child abuse or cruel and unusual punishment, but I decided to tell the kids, “If you want to have and shoot one, you have to get shot by one.” I lined them up, firing squad-style, put them about 20 yards away, and gave them each one to the back. The older boy wants one of these guns so badddddd! He barely flinches and turns around fighting back the pain I see in his eyes and acts like it was no big deal. He realllllllly wants one, so he is toughing it out big time. The other kid is jumping and hoping around like a jack rabbit. “Ouch, ouch, ouch!”

A little later, we were eating dinner and began to talk about the Airsoft guns. Both very quietly said, “Dad, I don’t think I want one of those guns like that anymore. That hurts.” We lifted up their shirts and saw a 1cm red and white crater-form lesion. Of course, my wife freaks out, asking what I have done to her “babies.” I proceed to tell her the story and that this is how a Dad teaches his kids a hard lesson. Both of the boys said they were glad to get shot with the Airsoft gun and they would not want to shoot or get shot with that. I felt it was a mission well accomplished.

So, if you see an 8-10 mm crater-form lesion, you might need to add Airsoft impact to your differential diagnosis.

Have a great week.


ex-Navy too said...

Welcome, Dr. Joyce! I enjoyed your first blog post and think you are a good writer. Thank you for sharing what you know about Airsoft as I had never heard of it. Sounds like an interesting hobby but it's not for me and, apparently, not for your boys, either. Good thing they found out the downside before a significant outlay of cash changed hands.

Again, thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

good post. i think if i were 10 again, i would be getting one of these airsoft guns for sure! what's a couple of welts for hours of fun shootin' your buddies with near-real guns...ahhh, to be 10 again.

gatordmd said...

Reminds me of that Modern Family episode. I can't remember exactly what happened but the dad,for a punishment, took the kid outside and shot him with an airsoft bullet.
Trust me it was funny. Just like this blog.


Anonymous said...

Yeah the expensive AEGs can hurt a lot but I think you should start over and see what kind of guns their friends have so that your not comparing a walmart gun to a $150 dollar gun. I'm 14 and have been playing for a few years with my friends the best gun I have is just a $60 dollar m4 but I still use my walmart guns and they hurt a lot less. for the younger kids a paint ball mask might be a good choice. I've lived on a farm all my life so at a young age I was taught gun saftey and not to shoot somthing that you can't kill humanelly and eat but your the dad so you call it p.s. GO DAWGS!!! and by the way my grandma raises the UGA mascott bull dogs happy airsofting!

Finland Airsoft said...

I'm feeling like a necroposter, but why not.
Here's my story of airsofting for a few years in Finland.
We do not have any restrictions for the guns when we play outside. There are players ranging from 12 to 50 years old and accidents by guns/bb's are very rare. Most accidents come from slipping in wet surfaces, tumbling down from hilltops, snapping ankles in the rocky places etc. So when people ask how dangerous airsoft is, we usually say that in ice hockey there are far more actually bad accidents and injuries compared to airsoft.
The guns we use, have muzzle velocity in range of 300 to 550 FPS. The most important thing in airsofting is proper protection and proper range limits when using any weapon! When using good whole face covering mask, you will NOT have any broken teeths or eye injuries. Also thick clothes sure dampens down the impact power and usually you don't even feel the hit in the heat of the action. You usually just hear the bb's hitting you.
And the proper minimum ranges with certain FPS are vital. You do not shoot anyone with a 550FPS weapon under a distance of 60 feet. Usually they keep the FPS limit in about 350FPS, and that kinda weapons has minimum firing range in 30 feets and we always encourage people to fire head shots. Center mass is the safest bet when it's available.
So try to actually play few games youreselves before banning this contact sport from your children.


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