Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I've been working (and working and working) on lately

Things I learned last night:

Cooking Spanish rice at dinner time smells delicious. Cooking Spanish rice at bedtime smells weird.

Don't ever start dental school projects at 10 pm.

A watched project never drys...and neither does an un-watched project.

I like sleep.

I stayed up way too late, and I had some bumps in the road along the way, but with a few "band aid fixes" to my project this morning, I got it all done just in time. Wanna see what I was working on?

This is a cast of one of my patient's teeth.

The green wax is an example of what her tooth will look like after we do the implant. (Except it won't be green...unless that's what she really, really wants.)

This is the thing that wouldn't dry.
It helps the surgeon to place the implant in the right place.

Since my guide never dried, it helps the surgeon to place the implant in the wrong place. (Just kidding--I'll remake it before the surgery.)

I'm not sure what grade I got on my presentation, but my classmates gave me lots of encouragement about my work, and that's worth a lot more than a good grade!

The Wee Hours

It's 12:20 am on a school night and I am sitting on my red antique couch wondering, "Should I turn on the TV, read my book, or make the rice for the luncheon tomorrow?"

This begs the question: But, Lauren, why not just go to bed?

I'd love to go to bed right now, but I have a presentation tomorrow that requires a lab material that is quite easy to make and therefore was left to the last minute (10:00 pm the night before). As is always the case with dental school lab projects that are left to the last minute, catastrophes both minor and major are sure to occur.

And occur they did.

My lab project requires me to mix a special powder and special liquid together which then hardens into a guide that may be used for an implant surgery. It usually takes a few minutes to harden.

Problem #1: When I got home tonight, I realized that the bottle the liquid has been kept in for the last few days was leaking, so I only had enough for one try--no room for error.

Problem #2: For some reason that surpasses all understanding, my mixture is still not dry. It's been 2.5 hours, and it still feels like play-dough instead of rock solid plastic. I've worked on several other projects over the last couple of hours until I found myself literally watching the material dry at midnight.

That's just pathetic. (And anyway, a watched project never boils.)

So I can't get it to set, can't start over, and can't get any more materials until tomorrow morning at 8 am...exactly 1 hour before my presentation is due.

*Sigh. Whose idea was it for me to become a dentist? Was it the same person who thought it was a good idea to save this project until the night before it was due?

I think I'm going to go make the rice for the party tomorrow. Nothing says slumber party for one like a batch of Mexican rice, right?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Decorating for Fall

This is the way we decorate for fall...

And this is how we decorate after a weekend trip...


Just to let you know--tomorrow is Jeffrey's last day on surgery rotation! Yay!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lookin' Good

Last weekend Jeffrey and I went to Abilene to watch his sister perform in Freshman Follies at ACU and to visit our families. The trip could not have come at a better time because since school started the first week of July we hadn't been more than 15 miles from our house. Impressive, huh? Not as impressive as our friend Chris (who is an Ear, Nose, and Throat resident right now in San Antonio). Chris told us a few nights ago that when he was a first year med student he only put 81 miles on his car in the entire first semester of school!

Anyway, Abilene was great. Freshman Follies was a strong year with fantastic "filler" acts and Rebekah's hall's act was really unique and fun. It was great to see my parents and talk with them, although their hot water heater rusted out the Thursday before we got there, so they had no water use downstairs. Usually Jeffrey and I stay upstairs, so it was no big deal for us except that we didn't get to have any of my mom's good cooking since her kitchen was out of commission.

We got to see lots of old friends at ACU stuff and at church. One thing bothered me, though. People kept saying, "You look great" to me.

My thought process is this: I look great? Awesome! I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts! Wait...does this mean I didn't look great the last time I was here? No one has said that since I left Abilene...have I not looked good for 2 years???

I asked Jeffrey if I was crazy to worry about this comment that was said over and over again to me throughout the weekend, and he said no. Then he said, "Maybe they think you're pregnant." (I'm not. But there's nothing like your husband explaining away your fears of looking bad by implying that people think you're preggers.)

I still don't know why people kept saying that I look great, but I'm choosing to believe that 5'4" girls with pasty white skin and really good dental hygiene are totally "in" this year. Don't try to convince me otherwise.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In the dental clinic at school, patients are "required" to pay for dental treatments before or immediately after the treatments are done. To guard against patients running up high balances, our schedulers will not schedule a patient for their next appointment until they have paid for the previously rendered services. Occasionally, though, (and by occasionally, I mean most of the time) someone slips through the cracks in that system and ends up successfully making an appointment even though they have a balance.

New rule this year--patients who have a balance will have their electronic charts "locked," so no one can access their health information or continue treatment until the charges have been paid. Our schedulers have encouraged us to look on our patient's charts to see if they have a balance so that we don't get into that situation.

Let's break this down: Schedulers encourage us to look at our patient's charts to see if they have a balance. Schedulers lock us out of our patient's charts if they have a balance. Therefore, the only way we know if our patient has a balance is if we cannot look to see if they have a balance. Oh yeah, and if they have a balance they'd like to pay, we can't tell them how much they owe...because that information is listed in only one place: the patient's (locked) chart.

Just another way The Man (Dental School) is keepin' me down these days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Overheard in the clinic

Student: Have you ever broken a bone?
Patient: 165 of 'em.
Student: Wow. That's a lot. 165 broken bones, or 165 fractures?
Patient: It's real easy to remember. I broke everything on my right side in two places. I also died twice on the way to the hospital and died again at the hospital. They were wheeling me down to the morgue when my mom came in and demanded that they work on me some more. They didn't want to, but my mom argued with them for a long time and then filled out some paperwork and so they worked on me again and I came back.
Student, thinking to himself: None of this makes any sense.
Student: Ok, great. Let's move on to your teeth...