Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The D-4 Experience I

A little over half-way through my first semester as a D-4, shall I elaborate? I summed up the major feeling of fourth yearness in my “lords of the idiots” post – so just go back three posts and poof.

The curriculum at this point is one giant garbled mess. We have the most useless course in the world still chomping at my toes (comprehensive care IVa). I seriously need to explain the evolution of the comprehensive care class. I have had it EVERY semester. So this is my 9th go around. The class has progressively gotten more and more useless each and every semester. At the beginning it was great – it focused heavily on all of our pre-clinical perio and restorative, the kind of stuff we need to know. Now it has simply turned into a stereotypical college level class that revolves around regurgitating paper after paper that do not stimulate any sort of joy – but rather decreases your brain matter as your bullshit your way through one double-spaced, font twelve, times new roman page to the next.

Case in point – I am required to right a progress plan for June that discusses all of the things we have been doing reports on since last year. Things like production, unpaid treatment, unapproved notes, ect. OK. Fine. I can do that, not a big deal. But we have to do ANOTHER one that is due 4 weeks after the first. I am on rotation (and MANY others are as well). This means I will be in the clinic seeing patients a total of eight days (prosth exam and holidays account for weird number) before the next one is due. How much do you think will change in these 8 days? Will I somehow increase my production by 5k? Will I end up having tons of unapproved entries? Will the same dead patients that didn’t pay before, magically come in and pay now? I’ll probably see about 10 patients and six will fail/cancel. Not much to write about there.

We have some “delivering bad news” presentation later this week as well as some other portfolio assignment that I haven’t looked at yet.

Now in our restorative class – we have to write some silly paper that involves, you guessed it, EBD. Thankfully it is short and we simply fill out a template provided.

None of these assignments are bad on their own – they just snowball when you add it to the massive pile of crap I already have flooding into my summer free time. Gets really tough to keep everything straight.


Getting my GPR application put together through PASS (letters of rec, personal statement, transcripts, etc)

Going on rotation for 2 weeks a month

Studying for NBDE II (failure rate about 30% last year due to random increase in difficulty)

Attempting to schedule all my requirements around my rotations (implant cases, limited ortho cases)

Doing TONS of lab work

Practicing for prostho exam

Scheduling performance exam patients and praying they don’t fail

The list goes on

Apparently, based off of what one of the head honchos told us today at our ‘town hall meeting,’ the comp care class will be obliterated in the new curriculum. So I guess this point will be irrelevant to the entering classes.

We also have a mock mock prosth exam next week. Why two mocks? Because the real mock exam is September. We have to prep #9 all ceramic, and a 3-5 bridge (3 as FGC and 5 as PFM). The catch? There aren’t enough manikin heads and equipment to go around so we can’t all practice at the same time. The problem? A lot dental students are assholes and will hang on to the equipment for way longer than necessary – screwing others over in the process. I am taking this test next week and I hope to practice this weekend…assuming I can actually check out the right stuff. I haven’t cut a plastic tooth in a LONG time, so I feel like at least one practice attempt is mandatory.

OK, enough bitching. What do I like about D-4 year? I like knowing the end is near. I like that the faculty in general treat you with a lot more respect. I like going on rotation and being treated like a full-fledged dentist. I like feeling extremely confident with tons of dentistry.

There isn’t much more to it. I’ve entered my 7th week of studying for boards and I have increased my correct percentage from 50% to around 70% which should pass (yay me). I’m taking the test in early august so I still have plenty of time.

I just am tired overall. Obviously deciding to take boards has destroyed any semblance of “summer” very much like part I did oh so long ago. I don’t regret it though. Assuming I pass – my life in the last two semesters will be just a wee less stressful.

What else can I address? I have become a little more jaded on our society in general the last two years. I see so many people that want something for nothing. People that are single, have no job, have five kids from three different fathers, and get pissed at you when their free insurance doesn’t cover the cleaning and they have to pay a whopping thirty dollars. Then they get on their blackberry in their SUV and speed off blabbing to all their friends about how shitty this clinic is. Their free insurance that MY taxes pay for essentially rewards the socially and financially irresponsible sect of this country whilst punishing the responsible. Now granted this is an extremely generalized statement and abuse of the system goes both ways no doubt. I’m just getting wearied by it all, especially as I see my debt piling up. I won’t even pretend like I know anything about our current healthcare system or politics in general – but I have noticed my interest and knowledge base slowly increasing – which can’t be a bad thing when I am so close to graduation.

I do like to counter-balance negativity with positive stuff. There have been plenty of ‘feel-good’ moments. That one smiling kid, grateful parent, or patient that brings you a sponge cake are all great things. Experiences like these make me thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the profession. I only keep my fingers crossed that there will be more of these to come in the future and less of the ‘other.’

Life is just helter-skelter right now. I am bouncing from one thing to the next with little time to breathe. This post obviously reflects my current scatterbrained thought process (and it wouldn’t be the first time). That is why I sometimes like posting when I am completely exhausted or frustrated or exasperated. I capture that pure emotion in this little time capsule and can read back on it years from now and think…daaaamn was I strung out! Or wow, look how ignorant I was about THAT. I would also like to emphasize that my life is great and I really am a whiny bastard for complaining at all. I have been lucky with my life – great family, great relationship, great friends, great profession, great everything. Anything I manage to gripe about can’t really stack up to that at the end of the day. How’s that for inspirational? Did I mention I have to write tons of bullshit papers where you just make stuff up that sounds good? Lots of good practice.

Kidding, kidding, kidding!

And holy crap, the scary part about summer in Chicago is that I cannot tell the difference between fireworks and gunfire – but there is definitely something going on by my house!

Time to hit the MOSBY review again with my 12 year old glen Fiddich. Still got to have some luxuries right?