I have come across the biggest breakthrough in my life. I have realized that the “tingle” I get when I meet a new patient is actually a sign NOT to work on them. I have been misinterpreting the tingle as an adrenalin rush or an excitement for dentistry. The whole time, it has been some kind of (dare I say Divine?) prodromal sign that something bad was going to happen. It is the same type of sign before a big cold sore pops up on your lip! It is the same sign that some people get before they have a seizure. Even animals get it before a huge storm is about to threaten their existence!
How could I have been so naïve as to think the tingle was a good thing? Am I the last one that knows what the tingle is? I have already called a few friends and asked if they ever get a tingle when they meet a new patient. They all said, “Yes, that is the sign to send them somewhere else.”
How come no one told me? Everything is so clear now. The patient I had talked about in my last blog gave me the tingle. If I had only known! For those of you that read my last blog, I am still working with the patient. I received good advice from many people and I decided to talk it out with her. She seems to be receptive and things have been going well so far. I actually think I can pull this off, so I will update everyone as this saga continues.
Now, back to the tingle. I hope everyone is happy for me now that my eyes have been opened. I feel like Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz” when she stepped out of her house and everything was in color. It’s like I’ve been living in black in white until just recently. Or the moment when Bruce Willis realized he was dead the whole time in “The Sixth Sense” (I hope I just didn’t ruin the movie for anyone). I even had the cold chill like he did with this shock of reality. Now I know how Christopher Columbus felt when he realized the world was round, and how Charlie felt when he opened up the candy bar and saw the golden ticket. This opens up a whole new world of dentistry for me.
I might be mistaken by assuming that I am the last to know about the tingle. Maybe there are others and I can use this opportunity to enlighten someone else! For those of you who don’t know what the tingle is, this is what happens. Basically someone walks into your office for a new patient appointment. As you are talking and trying to build a little rapport, they may say, “Doctor, I have never been happy with the way my teeth look, and I heard that you are the one that can make me smile again.” What happens first is a little strange. Your toes will go slightly numb and a cold sensation starts to creep up your calves and into your thighs. Don’t be afraid; this is normal.
At this point you starting thinking to yourself, “Wow! I AM the only one that could make this person smile again.” You will later learn to resist this thought. From the thighs, a little stabbing sensation starts to attack the stomach. It is not painful, but you are aware of it. Within an instant, your chest and fingers start to tingle. This is where all your mistakes are made. Do not consider this euphoria. This is the dreaded tingle! This is your sign to bail, and bail quickly (run Forrest, run!).
I am new at this myself, but what I hear from the people in the know is that resisting will help you sleep much better at night. Now that I recognize the tingle, moving forward in my life will be a little easier. I kind of get a little tingle just thinking about it (the good kind).
Have a great week.