Friday, February 10, 2012

Dentistry With Our Hearts (Part II)

Yesterday I spoke, FOR MONEY, for the first time. I drove down to Miami to speak to a study club. I have two words for you: Awe. Some! It was a great crowd. They were very conservative and they loved my stuff. Lots of nods and lots of great questions. Afterwards, lots of people came up and thanked me. I think they liked it. I was nervous as heck, but it turned out great. So, it has officially started (on the drive down, I got a call from the Florida AGD asking me to speak for them. Nice!).

Okay where was I? Dentistry with our Hearts. We started triage at about 5:50 in the morning. We have two rooms designated to seeing people first, talking to them, taking an x-ray of the problem tooth or teeth, and then numbing them up. Then they sit in the reception area and wait to be called. I have always thought that this is the fastest way to see people and it is easier on the treating dentist because they can get started right away and not worry about the numbing at all.

Remember I was telling you about the last minute oral surgeon? Well, she was an absolute superstar. She is 6 months out of her residency and she worked like a dog. At one point, she asked me if it was okay if she got a glass of water.

I gave all my kids permission to miss school so they could be there. My oldest is 12, so I put him in the oral surgery room. He loved it. "Dad! Did you see how long that tooth was?"

I overbooked the dentists. I did this because things come up and inevitably someone has a family crisis or something. But everyone came, so in the morning, my dad and I did not have a specific job. I walked around saying I was “eye candy” for the event. I made sure everyone was happy and had all the supplies they needed.

As I was walking around, I realized that it was really happening. My friends came and were thrilled to be there. Patients were being treated and they were thrilled to be there. People were outside working and serving and they were having a good time. My staff also realized how awesome this event was. To me, this is what heaven is going to look like: all of us working to help each other.

The dentists and people that were working were hearing the stories of the patients, hearing their pain, sharing in their lives. The patients were so thankful. It definitely warms the heart. I can't tell you how many times the volunteers came to me to say, "You HAVE to have me back next year."

We saw 60 or so patients before the afternoon break. We were cranking. Lunch was brought in and everyone took a break to eat. Some guys worked through lunch because they didn't want to stop. We ended up seeing 112 patients and had to cut off the line at about 11am.

It was an awesome day. But it wasn't over. We decided to have an after party this year. One of my staff members made about 50 JELL-O shots that we started on during the clean up stage. Then we crossed the street to have a beer or two at Chili's (thanks to Captek). Then, the aftermath.

We saw a ton of people and the oral surgeons were doing some serious cutting and bone removal. Do you know how many calls I received that weekend? None. Are you kidding me? My cell number is on the machine at work so people know how to get a hold of me. No calls. Crazy.

I didn't any get calls during the week, either. I got cards that were full of thanks I got emails and calls from people I don't know thanking me. It was awesome. There were patients patting me on the back.

The utopian feeling lingers and it is really nice. Are you thinking about doing it? You really should. Write me and I will tell you how to do it.

Have a great weekend.


Kallie said...

Congratulations on your first time speaking gig!!!! Exciting stuff :) And, loved reading about Dentist with Our Hearts...amazing!

Jesse Hake said...

It's good that there are dentists like you who are always ready to help those in need, even through simple cleaning. You've taken good care of your patients and treated them very much like they are a part of your family. I hope you repeat the same event next year.


PLEASE NOTE: When commenting on this blog, you are affirming that any and all statements, and parts thereof, that you post on “The Daily Grind” (the blog) are your own.

The statements expressed on this blog to include the bloggers postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nor do they imply endorsement by the AGD.