“Dude, you are going to be a dentist. Don’t you know that everyone hates dentists?”
This was the encouraging affirmation from one of my best friends the day that I received my dental school acceptance letter in 1998.
I was blessed to have been too narcissistic and hard headed to have listened.
I love being a dentist!
While I understand that people would prefer to spend their time and money most anywhere but the dental office, I feel like I made the right choice for me.
Our patients make this so.
We have patients that bring cookies for our team when they have appointments. Sometimes fresh eggs, or cakes, or kolaches show up. In the spring, we often get garden vegetables. A few juicy rib-eyes made it in the door one time. On another occasion, an extremely nervous patient brought in a bottle of bourbon. We did not imbibe in the office but enjoyed a nip after hours. We have some patients that occasionally stop in just for a visit or a hug. Really. A hug. We have been blessed with advice, prayers, throw pillows, baby presents, paintings, thank you notes, and even a homemade quilt. And the biggest, tastiest carrot cake you’ve ever seen!
I have gained more knowledge from the people that I have served than from all of the books in all of the schools and classes that I have ever attended.
We have patients who are professional cowboys, teachers, writers, ranchers, doctors, and poets. Even a retired treasure hunter. As if treasure hunters ever really retire. We see kids from the age of toddler to the age of “know it all.” On any given day, our sitting area may house a mom, a lawyer, a preacher, and a politician. There is surely some joke about that group somewhere.
We have been inspired by patients and friends who have beaten cancer and those who just love life and inspire others with their aura. We’ve seen patients overcome horrible accidents and crippling loss. Quite often, their stories of life make what we do seem small in comparison.
Most importantly, we have made lifelong friends. A lot of them.
We’ve heard stories of traveling the world and camping and graduations and hunting and family reunions. The longer we practice, we get to see kids grow up and move on and move out. We get to see pictures of grandkids and trophy deer and pet fishes. We get updates every 3, 4, or 6 months. Most of the news is good. When it’s bad, we hug some more.
Yes, dentistry is a rewarding profession. The rewards have little to do with fixing teeth, though.
The rewards are the people that share their lives with us.
Until next time, please, keep on smiling.
-Questions or comments can be sent to Dr. Chip at DrChip@ParrishDental.com.