Yesterday I was serving in the clinic as the dental hygienist. I was seeing a patient for the second half of his deep cleaning. Scaling and Root Planing if you will, but that just sounds scary so I like to call it a "deep cleaning" like it is. :) I learned my patient was a sheep farmer. And that each day, the flock is moved to a new piece of ground. The reason is because the ground fills with parasites if they stay in the same place. The sheep shouldn't come back in less than 30 days but for good measure, my patient usually keeps at least 50 days between returns. As I got to know him more, I realized that it wasn't just with his sheep that he goes the extra mile. He shared about the his years serving in his local food pantry. At one point the pantry had a huge donation of frozen, whole chickens. "What a WONDERFUL donation!" he thought. But he watched the chicken nuggets fly off the shelves instead of the chickens. Why would anyone choose chicken nuggets over actual whole chickens?" he wondered. And then it dawned on him that the majority of those coming in there did not know how to prepare or cook chicken. So my patient gave cooking lessons in his food pantry. That is going the extra mile! He also goes the extra mile when he drives here, literally! Having an affordable option for dentistry is the reason he drives over one hour each way and that he's back in the dental chair after several years of neglecting what he knew he needed to do. We're so happy to have him and all the other farmers and wonderful people who go the extra mile!
It seems like an appropriate question to ask today being May 1. But that question lingers among the staff here at ADC as we think about one of our paitents last week who came in just a couple hours after receiving the hard news of a cancer diagnosis that day.
Catching glimpse of him while I walked down the hall, I watched my doc's eyes tear up just a bit . I heard him ask, "Do you mind me asking, are you a man of faith?" This patient is a man of few words in general and it was his second visit with us. "No" was all I heard as I finished my way back down the hall. Our doctor asked his permission to share the circumstance with some family and friends who he assured him would be willing to pray for him. And we did just that over the weekend. Today, Dr. Fisher called and left him a voicemail just to say we were thinking of him and praying for him. He left him his personal cell # in case he needed someone to just talk to.
Aside from how proud I am to work with a doctor like that, I just love the avenues that dentistry brings to get involved in peoples lives, at some of their hardest times, to just be there for them- not with all the answers, just there.
Having lived in Wisconsin all my life, I know April is does not qualify for "hardest times", but certainly the extra rain can be a downer. The question is, poetry aside, do the showers really bring the flowers? Well, that is our prayer for this special patient. That these hard times would allow something greater than he could have imagined to blossom. #hopehealthandopportunity
In early 2018 Jane Smith was a recipient of an Agape scholarship through Affordable Dental Care. Because of this, she received a root canal at no cost to herself and has chosen to share her story.
Jane has been in an abusive relationship for the last 30 years, but over the last 15 years has become increasingly conscious of the true nature of the relationship.
“Everything is in his name,” Jane said, “the car, bank accounts.” Because of that she was unable to get transportation on her own, arriving at the clinic via an Uber ride provided to her by a friend, let alone pay for the procedure to be done. Besides this first procedure, additional follow-up procedures will be necessary and in the near future she will be able to receive them.
She has done research on her situation and others similar to hers and has found that many of these abusive relationships often boil down to one person excising control over the other.
Due to the fact that Jane is not married to her partner she is unable to get on his health insurance plan. When asked about whether she would marry her partner she said that, given the abusive nature of the relationship, she doesn’t want to make the relationship any more permanent.
Since she is first and foremost a stay at home mother and puts the needs of her children first, Jane gave up her health and dental care after the oldest of her four children was born 21 years ago. Affordable Dental Care was able to handle the emergency procedure that she needed.
Initially Jane had some doubts about the program, saying that Affordable Dental Care and the Agape scholarship program seemed “too good to be true”, especially since she had been told that a root canal would cost $1,300 at a regular clinic. She seemed to understand the importance of having the procedure though.
“When the teeth start to go, the rest of your health tends to go next,” Jane said, adding that she needs to be there for her four children. “Without me they would be lost,” she said.
The procedure itself went very well. Jane tolerated it well, trusting the two people who were performing this procedure. Afterwords she was sent home with a special medication to act as damage control to combat the infection.
This root canal ended a year of physical pain, as up to now she had been relying on household remedies to keep the pain at a manageable level.
“Every time it started hurting I put salt on it,” she said. “That is why I probably made it a year.”
It was not only the pain that signaled the need for this procedure, she had seen for herself the damage on the tooth.
“The inside of the tooth started to crack, I could see it in the mirror,” said Jane. She noted that when she saw a part of the tooth come loose, she took a pair of tweezers and pulled it out.
Having this procedure done was the first step in Jane’s effort to put herself first and to work herself out of the situation that she is in. Jane has already begun to reach out, reconnecting with old friends and repairing relationships. She hopes that these efforts will enable her to regain control of her current situation.
The help she has received thus far has really meant quite a lot to her. She described how tears came to her eyes as she saw the people there to help her.
“We need to help each other, as humans,” she said. “If I was ever in a situation to help, I’ll be glad to...they say it takes a village.”
Jane’s name has been changed due to privacy concerns.