Monday, August 29, 2011

Pretendodontics

This post will be like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that I used to read in grade school...

OK, how did this book ever get published?!? Someone thought, "Oh, sure. A book for kids called You're Going to Die and a picture of a precious, crying 6 year old...fantastic idea worth printing."

If you've never read this blog before, go to #1. If you read this blog a lot and are tired of hearing me complain about dental school, go to #4.

#1--Every procedure in dental school has a point value, and every dental student needs a certain amount of points each year to graduate. With all the talk about points and such, sometimes it feels like a giant game at Mr. Gatti's. Other times it's a little more like being trapped on a twisted carnival ride. I digress...today my patient no showed for the second time. Do you know how many points a no show is worth? Zero. Sometimes a sad student like myself can finagle her way into some points on no show days by helping in the emergency clinic or the oral surgery clinic, but today they had both clinics under control. If you like happy endings, go to #3. If you like realistic endings, go to #2.

#2--Know what else is worth zero points? Doing root canals on extracted teeth. Root canals have a fancy name--endodontics. (Get it? That's why it's funny to call this post "Pretendodontics," because I did endo, but it wasn't on a real patient...it was pretend.) I crack myself up. Anyway, I did exactly three root canals on three extracted teeth for exactly zero points. Technically, I got good experience out of it, practiced for when I do endo on a real patient, and completed my requirements for my molar endo selective by doing this, but it still felt like a skee ball right in the gutter since no points showed up on the board. Go to #4.

#3--Then I went home and played with my dog. Yay! Go to #4.

#4--So today was point-less. But tomorrow is a new day, and someday soon...May 27th to be exact...there will be no more points. I will be a real live dentist and every day will be...umm...pointless. Ha!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Borderline Insane

Well, I'm back in San Antonio after my little hiatus in Harlingen...and here's what I learned while I was down there:

1) My friend Lacie wasn't joking when she told me, "There's a border patrol station as you drive from Harlingen back to San Antonio. If you're white, they just wave you through, but if you're Mexican-looking they stop to check your trunk." It really happened just like that.
2) While in Harlingen I worked on lots of kids--I learned that kids will do almost anything for a sticker, including stare down the barrel of a 2 inch needle without flinching. It's kind of scary what they'll tolerate for such a small prize. Then again, it's a little scary how much adults will tolerate for a little bit of money.

3) I'm really ready to be a dentist. A real one. Not a pretend one at the school who has to get checked off on each step of the procedure. Yes, it's a little scary to be the one completely in charge of treatment, but I'm feeling more ready after getting my feet wet in South Texas. All students are required to track the number of patients they see while on rotation--I saw 97 in my two weeks. Compare this to the 12 or so that I will see in the next two weeks at school. The pace was so nice down there!

4) I am NOT cut out to be a hermit. After two weeks of living alone in apartment, I was literally begging people to go to dinner with me. Anyone. Including the greasy old man at the Redbox at the gas station who rolled down his window to blow kisses at me. (That really did happen--the blowing kisses...not that I invited him to dinner with me.) Seriously, though...I almost went insane.
**Note: This is not an actual picture of me. What gives that away? Someone else would have to be in the apartment to take the picture...but I was alone. Totally. Alone.

5) I'm kind of interested in working at a community clinic. I was completely surprised at this feeling--I had always pictured myself graduating and going into a private practice somewhere, but there are some really nice advantages to working in a community clinic, and although it is a different style of dentistry, it's one that is in supreme shortage. Something about that made me really feel like I was doing something worthwhile and noble, and I liked that feeling.

So now I'm back, and Dorothy was right...there's no place like home.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ice Dream Truck


You've heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I just couldn't get my camera out fast enough...so a few words will have to do.

I kid you not--two days ago I spied with my little eyes the most incredible ice cream vending cart in the world. Driving around in my little apartment complex's parking lot were two adult men in a golf cart. Instead of having a back seat in the golf cart, the men had torn it out and cut part of the roof off to make space for the oversized, stuffed arm chair they bolted to the back. On top of the arm chair was an 8 year old girl. At her feet was a large cooler. On the side of the golf cart, in crooked, black letters it read: Julio's Ice Cream Truck.

You can't make this stuff up, people!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paw-sitive Attitude

Hi, Blog--I'm still here in Harlingen--banished for two weeks away from my friends, my family, and my school. (I'm not so upset about missing school...more just the friends and family.)

During my isolation time down here, I've been flipping back and forth in my mind between positive attitude and Oscar the Grouch.

When I wake up in the morning:
(+)Ahhh....I slept so well!
(-)Oh....there's no one here to tell about it.

When I'm at the clinic:
(+)This is so neat! I don't have to set up or take down equipment, I always have an assistant to help me, and that's letting me do so much dentistry.
(-)If I were at school, I'd be getting so many points for all this dentistry I'm doing.

When I leave the clinic:
(+)No construction on the roads going home.
(-)No Dixie dog waiting on me at the door when I open it.

When I go to sleep:
(+)So much extra space in the bed when there's only me.
(-)So much emptiness in the bed without my Jeffrey and my Dixie.

All in all, it's going pretty well for me, but there's been a doggie injury back home in San Antonio. All the great-grand(dog)parents and grand(dog)parents may want to sit before reading this: Dixie has gotten a boo-boo on her paw.<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-F77LwTw-Gsk/TkHhd5sPdAI/AAAAAAAABKM/tTBPyIS816s/s1600/paw%2B1.JPG">
Don't worry, like a good (doggie) mom I immediately consulted the authorities, AKA Google, regarding the recommended treatment for paw problems. Google states that injured doggie paws should be coated with neosporin then covered with a bandage of some type to keep the dog from licking it (and I concur).

I swore I would never let my dog wear those silly little costume/clothes they sell at Petsmart, but...

We had to put some socks on her. Black tuxedo socks (it's a fancy injury, apparently). I know that it's not really en vogue to wear black socks with shorts (or, in this case, nothing), but at least she hasn't put on sandals over the top of them...Dad, remember when you thought that was ok to wear in San Francisco? It was NOT.

Anyway, Dixie does not like it. I told her that even though it's a little weird to wear one black sock, it's still lots less weird than any outfit Lady Gaga has ever worn.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

South for the Winter

With the temperature hovering around 105 degrees every day in San Antonio, my school decided to send me further South for the Winter...er...Summer for a South Texas rotation. My assigned clinic is in Harlingen, Texas.

On this map, they've tried to hide the fact that Harlingen is about 5 steps away from the drug wars of Mexico by pretending Texas is bordered on the South by ocean. (It's not.) Never mind the fact that our school made us sign an oath saying that we wouldn't cross the border due to "dangers" on the other side. Do you think they made the drug lords of Mexico do the same?!?

Anyway, the accommodations here are about what you'd expect--run down, paper thin walls, a BYOTP (Bring Your Own Toilet Paper) establishment, and not a decoration in sight, except for the framed "Rules and Regulations" papers from apartment administration.

And here's where the fun begins...

The following are quotes from the apartment's framed rules:

The gate will automatically open Monday - Friday at 5:00 pm. And close for the evening at 7:00 pm. The gate will be close on the weekends.

(The gate is going to be close on the weekends? Close to what?)

Regarding the pool: No profanity, loud music, or Excessive Noise.

(When did the word "excessive" or "noise" become a proper noun deserving capitalization?)

The swimming pool is for tenants and two (2) guests per apartment only. I understand that we all have company from time to time and the numbers may exceed this amount. However 2, 3, 4, kids and "Aunt Sue" who does not live here is considered breaking the rules.

(Take that, Aunt Sue. Busted!)

If you walk your dog at the park. The dog needs to be on a leach.

(I'm going to leave that prepositional phrase as an independent sentence alone for now, but seriously, a leach? A dog wouldn't even fit on a leech. That's just silly.)

Regarding window coverings: You can put up curtains if you wish. No foil paper on windows allowed.

(This rule was listed in two different sections. Apparently they've had problems in the past. Just another way The Man keeps our creative ideas for window dressings squelched.)

Garbage bends are located thru-out the property. Please deposit your garbage in the bends.

(Garbage bend: Not to be confused with a back bend.)