Monday, November 1, 2010

Out There

This is my first lap top post. I am writing this as I lay on a tiny bed in Rockford IL in a dumpy little duplex out behind the Rockford Memorial Hospital. I hate typing on these things. It feels so unnatural and the keys don't have the same feel.

I wonder what most people think of when they hear the word dental student. Hard work? Stressed? Insane? An amalgamation of the aforementioned descriptors (get it?). Or do they picture some dude sitting in his boxers on a bed after pounding down some taco bell typing about dentistry and dental related experiences. Sexy.

These rotations have been great though. The sheer volume of learning is expanded beyond what the traditional school setting is capable of. I mean just this last week at school, I spent about 5 hours of in-school time busting my ass catching up on paperwork and doing lab work that practicing dentists never perform. Why can't I send my impression out with an opposing cast/bite reg and get the bridge framework back? Why do I have to trim my own die and mount the case. Do they realize that this adds approximately 10 business days to the patient's already long-ass wait. I was so excited that I hammered this bridge prep out (my first one actually) in two appointments. But I probably won't deliver it until mid-January because of all the red tape.

I've said it many times, there is a window of maybe 60 minutes each day at school where I am truly learning and perfecting my craft. The other 5+ hours is completely worthless. This is coming from a fourth year student mind you, I would be pretty brash to say the same one year ago.

Did I mention the tuition is insane. My girlfriend and I will be combined over 500K at graduation. That's HALF A MILLION...geeeeh. Granted our combined income will be nice, but not .5 million nice...

Speaking of future. I got my second GPR interview last week. That makes me 2 for 2, not too shabby. I am really looking forward to the interviews which are both in the same week of november. Both programs have their pros and cons, I shall elaborate in future posts.

Back to the rotation. Today I got a great refresher course on emergency dentistry. A patient I was working on started out normal, but just sort of drifted off mid-procedure. At first I attributed this to sleep. The pulse-ox was good and I could get her carotid pulse fine. Still something clearly seemed off. Once the doc came in to check on me, he had me sit her up and verbally snapped her out of it. Now this clinic caters exclusively to mentally disabled patients, so you get some really tough cases. As such, sedation is used as necessary. However, some parents decide to self-medicate and not tell the dentist. As per today, this patient was loaded up on valium without us knowing. Needless to say, the doc was pissed and the mom lied about it. Ugh. Thankfully nothing bad happened, but it got me thinking.

WHAT THE HELL DO I DO IN THESE SITUATIONS!? This is PERFECT example of why I want to do a GPR. I have no confidence in handling emergent situations. Why is it tough? Becuase they are so freaking rare in dentistry that being experienced is near impossible. Thankfully my preceptor is extremely good at walking me through the more medical aspects of dentistry and he really boiled it down to the essentials. Airway, breathing, circulation, drugs, BAM. It is all stuff I've learned, but in a real emergency, the dentist needs to keep it together and know what the hell to do. None of it is complicated, it is a matter of staying calm and acting correctly.

Today was a "slow" day at this clinic, yet I saw 9 patients (4 which required ops/exts). Again, rotations = mondo experience (by dental student standards). It also serves as a blunt reminder that you are indeed "not the shit." I mean, this clinic has handed me my head on a platter more than once. Trying to place 2 back to back MO/DOs on a screaming punching 250-pound autistic adult in 15 minutes is extremely difficult and quite frankly, scary as hell. It truly is great though, because you walk out of there with a new confidence everyday. Even if your work wasn't anything to brag about, the amount of experience and simle comfort level with tough patients earned is unbelievably useful.

Speaking of which, it is time for me to hit the head followed by the hay. Getting up at 6am and working until 6pm is hard.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I passed CRDTS. I know I overtapered the distal of my molar to get the bridge to draw...but was it enough to fail? Gulp? My endo felt meh overall, who knows. I'm mentally preparing myself to retake the whole exam because that way I won't be crushed if it actually happens. And on the flip side, if I passed 1/2 of it or the entire thing, I will be pretty damn sassified.

Here's to good luck!