Category Archives: Dental

It always happens on a Friday

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.

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Filed under Dealing with stuff, Dental

Red Sky


Yesterday I made a trip to Saskatoon for the White Coat Ceremony for the 2nd year students at the College of Dentistry.  This is basically a time before they begin treating live patients when they vow to practice their new profession ethically.  This year the first class of the college was invited to cloak the students since this is our 40th anniversary since graduating. 

As I pointed out to the other 6 of my classmates who were there, we left behind our own legacy, notably the “Boot Play” trophy which is still passed on to the student who makes the biggest gaff of the year.  Like we did – to the student who left us to join the Med students.  We had other disasters we celebrated later with much laughter – the gold crown getting its final polish that was sucked up into the vacuum system and the long hair that got entangled in the old belt driven slow speed handpiece.  Those were the days!

Our class were the pioneers, making do in temporary quarters, learning to improvise when we lacked some tool.  Good training.  As Jim said we were a “first class” first class.  Yesterday seven of us were there for the ceremony but all ten of us are living and the seven of us that were there still are practicing to some degree. 

I spent the rest of the day applying for a new passport, had supper with Sara and saw her new lodging – way out on the south end of Saskatoon – a place that did not exist the last time I drove south of town.  Then decided to spend the evening with Dave, Annette and kids; watched a movie and slept over. 

Which is why I was up and driving home when the sun came up.  I took advantage of a day with no fixed agenda to drive off the beaten track and snap the red sky as the sun came over the fields and forest.

IMGP0966 second rev

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Filed under Day to Day, Dental, Family, Photos, Travels


I have not dropped off the planet.

It just feels as if the planet has dropped on me some days.  This house of mine has been so busy over the summer that I have scarcely had time to keep track of everyone and who would be here to eat the next meal.  so blogging has been on hold. 

We had great visitors though.  And it was a good summer.  Just busy.

There were Rachelle, Asen and Ronin for a few weeks, Father Marcel who as I write is on a plane back to Belgium after almost 3 months(where did that time go so fast?), Nan who has come to live with us, Christian in and out, soon to be back, Grace and Zaka as their house is renovated.  And then short visits from Faith and Hugh and their daughter Amie, Steve and baby Aya.  Other family members showed up to see them too.

Many, many barbeques have been held in our back yard.  Plus an ice cream social for the whole church.

Yep its been busy.

Now the busyness of class starts again.  Two weeks in already and as essay due next weekend.  Preaching tomorrow.  Internship part time, dentistry part time, full time mom and grandma.  That’s my life.

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Filed under church, Day to Day, Dental, Family, grandchildren

To Treasure

Today is an office day – that is dental office. I began the morning by seeing some patients I’ve known for quite awhile and one woman brought her little daughter in with her. The girl is about 6 maybe. Not sure why she wasn’t in school and I didn’t ask. I didn’t get the sense that she was simply skipping so is likely in Kindergarten.

The little girl piled up a stack of books to look at while she sat in the corner of the room. Then I began my work on mom. Just a couple of routine fillings but the teeth needed to be numbed. It is sometimes hard to predict how kids are going to react when a parent is having treatment. Some freak out. This little girl wanted right in there. From the time we began the injection to the end of the filling she was as close as we could let her get. The books remained unopened in the corner. My assistant let her push the button on the curing light for the fillings. She loved it. Then she wanted to hold the suction and air/water syringe – which we had to say no to. She said, “You have to teach me all the things you do and then I can help and I will be real busy.” Indeed! I think we have a budding dentist here. Her last task was to push the button to make the chair go back up.

Well, actually, the very last task she took on was to choose a sticker and a ring for her mom from our treasure box. She left us smiling. This part of my day I will treasure.


Filed under Day to Day, Dental

I feel exhausted

And I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. 

At 11pm last night I left the office leaving one little girl more comfortable and happier.  I moved a very displaced tooth back to where it should have been before she crashed on her rollerblades.  The tooth beside it had, unfortunately, departed permanently – no one knew where.

Came home to my son and family who were watching a movie.  I was beat so went to bed.  A few hours later my sleep was interrupted by the phone.  I was in a deep deep sleep and woke up thinking that the phone was just ringing.  But was it just a dream?  By the time I was conscious it had stopped but I knew that being on call, it probably was not just a bad dream. So, I got up and just as I was checking the messages Eric called.

Auntie had fallen again and was on her way back to the hospital by ambulance.  Waited up a bit and checked with Emergency – all was under control till morning and if not they would call.

This morning before church I spent some time with her, made it to church, Kieran’s seventh birthday party and then back up to the hospital. 

Sat with my aunt who was mostly dozing – in and out of sleep – me  as well as I sat waiting for some word.  Finally – good news.  Nothing appeared to have broken again.  She was going back to the nursing home – this was around 6 pm.  One last trip up to My St Joes to see her safely tucked back into her own bed. 

Now I feel I am ready for sleep myself but it is only 8:30 and guests are still here.  Chinese food has just arrived.  Who knows when everyone will head back to their own homes.  I think I’ll grab some food and go chill out in a quiet corner with my feet up.

Thanks to all who are keeping my auntie in their prayers.  It seems a bit of a wonder that she did not break anything new.  I was so anxious for her and for our own travel plans only a week away.  Wondering what to do in a worst case scenario has sort of been tearing me apart on top of my fatigue.  I hope this night is quiet.

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Filed under Day to Day, Dental, Family

I sit here

and I ponder; how does one pass on values?  I must pass on a practice.  That is easy enough.  We begin booking patients with the new guy and I cut back my hours so that if they need treatment, they make the next appointment with him. 

But values and the uniqueness of the practice that is linked to how we care for our patients – that must be passed on too.  And can it be?  Is it learned by watching?  Or is this something that is just there inside the individual?

Fortunately, I think I have some good material to work with.  That is one of the reasons we took on this particular young guy.

I suspect there is no clear cut answer.  But it is something I must work at answering. 

So, I sit here and I ponder and pray that somehow it can be done.

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Filed under Dental, Reflections

Reflecting on an ordinary day

It was just an ordinary day at work.  The morning was fine so I rode to work.  It really is hardly far enough to count as exercise but I guess anything is better than nothing.  So 6 minutes ride there and 6 minutes to get home.  That left me with a good 45 minutes needed and not done.  Finished that off on the exercise bike tonight since there was a huge storm this evening.

Well, maybe not so huge a storm in comparison to what I hear is brewing down in the south over the Gulf of Mexico.  But here the sky was wild with clouds and it always makes me wonder if someplace near got hit hard by wind or hail. 

Work really was quite ordinary today.  No great crises.  No emergencies or disasters.  There are many times when I think I am not thankful enough for the ordinary days that I have. 

It seems every day that I am letting someone know that in the fall I will only be in the office two days a week.  I think that I am booking way into October for long procedures.  I guess the time is coming to sit and evaluate what things I will give up doing.  Our new associate is great to have around.  I think he will do well and we’ll feel quite confident to move patients over to his care. 

Well, now, it is time to get to bed.  I could not get to sleep last night so I am super tired tonight.  I am hoping for a peaceful and quiet night with a good rest.

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Filed under Day to Day, Dental