That is when the really interesting cases show up. Or the ones that have not come for the past eight years.
Today was about bleeding profusely. Now some bleeding is normal after an extraction but it should not keep up for three days. Everyone was quite concerned. I was too. And I was very happy that I had not done the surgery. That had been the oral surgeons job.
So I called him and got the usual advice about pressure, etc and packing the socket. Stuff I already knew. I was hoping for some magic trick. Instead I did pretty much as advised. Removed suture, packed and replaced suture. Perhaps it was the adrenalin in the local anaesthetic, maybe the tighter suture or even the firmly held pressure, but it did finally stop bleeding.
Then we went on with the rest of our backed up day.
It reminded me again of working in the Congo. I learned the hard way to stop bleeding one night. The extraction had been difficult and some tearing had occurred down on the inside of the last bottom molar. It was nicely stitched back up but that night I got a call from the clinic nurse. — was bleeding, please come. So off I went and by lamp light examined my patient. Indeed there was blood! The nurse set up an IV of saline. That time I also had to reapply sutures and lots of pressure. I recall sitting there with my finger on the bleeding wound like the Dutch boy holding his finger in the leaking dike. And praying. For all I was worth. And we all survived.
Bleeding can be scary. I learned to be very cautious if I had a lingual tear. I learned that a patient can lose a significant quantity of blood from a tooth socket. I learned that pressure can stop most any bleeding. And I learned that God hangs around while I learn my lessons and lets me lean on him.
And those scary lessons learned have over time transformed into confidence which lets me in turn calm the anxieties of my patients. Maturity has got to count for something.