Day 1 after the power press system was chest pain, Day 2 saw tricep pain to the point that flipping my turn signal was painful, Day 3 (today…yes STILL in pain) is whatever the muscle going from my armpits to my elbow and pecs are. I didn’t work out last night because the pain was real haha. Whatever gain I thought I’d accomplished is NOTHING. Must continue to work hard to get this body into shape!! Need to find some leg workouts!

Today because we’ve had a record number of cancellations, no-shows, and people rolling in 30 minutes late despite the reminder system, I won’t be going into work until 11. Whoo! Also M is coming to get his teeth cleaned. :) I know he hates it, but like I’ve said in the past, it’s the people who are terrified and hate it but still come regularly that have my respect. On top of it all, he just got off shift work this morning around 6.

I think I’ve figured out why I have trouble sleeping at night sometimes: I’ve been ingesting lots more tea lately and as much as I like to think my caffeine tolerance (it’s just green tea…) has increased with age, I’m wrong.

Yesterday was very depressing to me at work. I come in and my co-worker comes up to me and tells me that one of my patients passed away. I quickly jump on the computer and it begins to grow clear to me who it is. I do a vigorous online search coming up empty for any obituaries, but managed to score a single picture of her on a Facebook account that has literally nothing but a picture. I’d already had an inkling of who it was but my heart sank heavily when it was confirmed who she was. She was only one year older than my mom…one of those patients that you’d have no doubt you’ll see again in 6 months. She working in a medical office, nurse herself, and I remember liking her a lot because every time she came in we would talk from beginning to end about things, like dogs…I think she had one. I tried to scour the internet again, but still nothing. I don’t think she as married or had kids as far as I know, and her sister called in the news. I couldn’t dwell on it, though, because I was working and needed to remain upbeat. The next blow came when my 3 month super sweet dementia patient comes in and it’s readily obvious that she has declined significantly. I JUST saw her 3 months ago. Cue more heart sinking. I almost couldn’t get her to open her mouth to take xrays. Her oral hygiene had tanked tremendously. The most interesting thing is that when I lay her back to do the cleaning, there was a moment when she reverted back to how I knew her, but the instant I sat her up again… I went out to talk to her daughter, discussing with her my observations and confirming that she has indeed declined… it was heartbreaking and I felt like a doctor coming out with bad news. Her daughter told me that she doesn’t know if this will be the last time we see her given her state, but is thankful that she has remained so very sweet. At this point I don’t know what’s worse: sudden death, or watching a slow trek there with no hope.

So very depressing, but the more you treat regular patients (and given how much time I spend with these people and even their families) the more this is a reality. I have others on my list that I haven’t seen and it worries me. Just like this patient, maybe there is no obituary and I’ll just never know. Sometimes we are all they have when they have no living friends or close family. Patients will see dentists much more often than their medical doctors and it’s tremendous, the level at which you can know one and connect.

It’s just scary the rate at  which our patients are passing from us. Count in Tristan the dog from last year and Gable’s death scare in January and I’m afraid these are all warm-ups to the first major death I’ll have to deal with in the near future…my grandpa is turning 90 this year. As one of my patients told me, I’m about the right age for experiencing death closely. I know it’s an inevitability, especially with old dogs and aging relatives, but…gosh it never gets easier.

Similar, but not so depressing, one of our most volatile patients (besides the doctor I’m the only one who’d been seeing him) has decided he likes me quite a bit. Oh MAN he went on and on about animals which is fine with me because that’s a subject I can go on about too. And if he’s not complaining at me about something that’s a major plus. I’ve grown to like him, myself, in a wary, hands off way, but he’s a prideful, prideful old man and for him to ask me how to accomplish something (in this case clean dog teeth) is extremely significant. It means that I somehow managed to earn his respect. Feels good. I’m sure one day I’ll say something wrong, but for now it’s good.

Ah healthcare. I never thought I’d be anywhere long enough to experience such a bond with my patients. Just like I never in a million years thought I’d make it in a romantic relationship with another person.

I guess I should go eat since I actually do have to go to work even if it’s later.



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