Adventures or Misadventures---No matter. We're holding-on tight & riding the wind!

5.14.2011

Brought to You Today By the Letter 'V'

'V' is for Victories and Validations  
...small, though they may be, I am still grateful for them.

It's been a whirlwind week as double-validation came in the form of me returning to my old orthodontic office to fill in for what will be the majority of the rest of the month of May.  Every so often when the need is great, I will get the Dr's call, and I step in for a week or so here, and a day or three there.  It's nice that they still remember I'm alive and are desperate enough love me enough to invite me back.  I may fill in at the scheduling desk, or in the treatment coordinator's office, or in the clinic.  All just depends on who's out at that time (illness, family emergencies, training new hires, etc).  I will admit that I love when its a new hire, not gonna lie, cause sometimes I'll overhear stuff like "...and that's LKP.  After 2 fulltime years with us decided to focus on being a fulltime mom instead.  She's done just about everything in this office, and every so often she fills in for us.  So, we LOVE her!"  Even when I'm filling in under other pretenses, I adore seeing familiar faces who are perhaps still in treatment, or their sibling or child is now in treatment.  With those familiar faces are comments like, "Hey, LKP!  So good to see you!  We've missed you!  How is the family?  How is the Ranch?  Little Johnny (or Little Jane, just depends) still says you're his (or her) favorite assistant!"

People, you HAVE to know that saying such things about or to another person REALLY LIFTS them!  So, please, don't hold back with those around you.  Verbally LOVE the people in your lives, BOTH those who are family, and those who are not!  Speaking from experience here.  :)

So the validation of getting to come back to the office for a spell, coupled with the validation of these positive interactions with my old co-workers & patients was yet another gift Heavenly Father knew I'd be needing.  He was right.  Totally fit the bill!

While at the office this week, little victories have come in my remembering along the way.  The last couple times I've filled in over the past 6 months have been brief stints and they've been for the Treatment Coordinator and at the front desk.  Both experiences were great & fun, but chairside assisting is a whole other story as far as the complexity of treatment, techniques, Dr's preferences, and procedures.  Last time I was in the clinic was a year ago. 

Suffice it to say, starting with day one this week, I've been feeling overwhelmed with trying to remember, rusty when it comes to SOME procedures, and inadequate in the few new changes of technique that have been employed since a year ago!  The victories came when I remembered from before, when I was able to perceive & resolve issues BEFORE they became big issues, when I was able to keep my appointment times on track or shorter, and when I was able to master the new approaches Dr has decided to incorporate!

FOR EXAMPLE:  in my prior clinic time, we hadn't a whole lot of patients with genetically missing teeth (as in, there were baby teeth, but no permanent teeth to follow in).  Therefore, I lack experience when it comes to utilizing pontic (individual fake teeth) during treatment (fake teeth are actually attached to the wire with its own bracket).  Well, my last patient yesterday had two pontic teeth attached to his upper wire.  Not long after his last visit, one of them detached from the bracket.  So, there he sat in my chair, with the pontic tooth in his hand and an empty bracket hanging on the wire.  (In the front, mind you!)  First, my heart went out to him, for I couldn't imagine how the past 5 weeks had been for him, without the tooth where it should have been.  I wondered if, for those 5 weeks, he just didn't smile out of feeling self-conscious about it.  Secondly, my heart fell through my stomach, out my feet, and on to the floor as I glanced at my computer screen to realize that ALL other chairs were full, so there would be no other assistants I could call on for help....nor that I could switch procedures with (don't judge--I like a challenge, but I also hate for a patient to have to be there longer than necessary, and in this case without me having experience, I knew this boy'd be spending an extended VACATION with us!).  So, I untied the rest of the brackets & wires, sent him to brush, and went for the Big Brain. 

The Dr was sooooo kind about it, and actually laughed when I told him I couldn't wait for this new adventure!  He also acknowledged that he and I hadn't worked on too many of these situations in the clinic together before, and with that we were back at the chair rolling right along.  He took the pontic tooth and headed to the lab to prep better grooves into the surface, while I sandblasted the bracket.  We met back at the chair for him to bond the two together.  It was so slick.  Seriously, like art!  (It was so rad, since with the tooth AND bracket both in hand,  out of the mouth, we had 100% control!  It turned out beautifully.  Made me wonder if I shouldn't have pursued a dental lab career.)  As the Dr was looking at the rest of our patient's teeth & his bite, it was discovered that one of the brackets was bent, so it had to be replaced.  Of course the Dr was needed everywhere else in the clinic, so he had ME remove the bracket, remove the cement, prep & prime the tooth, and place a new bracket with cement.  (From there he usually will come measure & level out the placement before the cement is cured.)  I had to do all of this WITH THE WIRE STILL HOVERING ABOVE THE TOOTH!  (Normally we remove the wire, but there's was more clearance than usual as the tooth was rotated in.)  I'm so glad the Dr has faith in me, cause I was nervous.  But it all turned out great, and he didn't even have to change the position of the bracket, I got it placed perfectly!!!  (Woot woot is right!)  But my nerves weren't finished yet, as I still needed to steel tie (re-anchor) the wire to that new bracket, as well as re-attach the pontic tooth to the wire.  Keep in mind, the only thing between this fake tooth and the back of my patient's throat was my fingers.  Such a delicate situation, as even the slight mis-balancing or slip would result in great need for the Heimlich maneuver! 

With a little sweat along my brow, I was able to successfully attach the pontic tooth.  It was beautiful, and snug in its place....perfect!  But then I noticed the OTHER pontic tooth was loose & sliding all over the wire and was not as snug.  That meant I had to retie THAT one with new material, otherwise it would've been the next major repair for the poor kid.  Untying & retying that pontic was even scarier!  (Since I hadn't had to UNTIE the first pontic.  I didn't want to slip and gouge my patient's mouth up.)  However, in the end, it was just as snug and perfect as its peer.  And THAT, my friends, was a HUMONGOUS VICTORY!!!

Other victories?  Amidst all this "back to the work force" business, Mini-Me had softball, Mutual, an epic homework load & a talk to prepare for Sunday's Sacrament Meeting. I had a Relief Society mid-week activity to see through, all the ranch critters to take care of, an 8th grade parent meeting, a Grange meeting, a senior portrait package to present, 11pm & Midnight bedtimes after helping Mini-Me with her homework or getting our weekly grocery/critter feed shopping done, AND Mr LKP out of town for work!  All of this happening at the same time was consuming.  I have NO idea how I was able to keep my head above water, except thanks to Heavenly Father.  At the end of it all, I am exhausted, but we SURVIVED!

So, as you can see, mini victories all around. 

Hopefully this momentum sticks around throughout the coming days as we wrap up school softball, start summer softball, head out on a class daytrip to Idaho with Mini-Me, prep for 8th grade graduation (yikes!  Mini-Me will be a high schooler in 16 days!), prep for Jr. Grange camp, start summer basketball, prep for this summer's Trek, and summer volleyball.  Sheesh!  I'm beat just re-reading all that!

Have a wonderful weekend, ya'll.. and KEEP ON going!  Watch for those mini victories & validations.  Before you know it, you'll find yourself on the OTHER side of the conquered mountain!  ::hugs::

5 comments:

M-Cat said...

What an uplifting post (unless you're the dude with the pontic tooth- who knew?)

Love validation AND vitories!

Heidi D said...

Miss Kee,

You are a beautiful person. Not only to look at but in your countenance as well. I only wish that I could spend more time around such a beauty as yourself.

Lurve,
Miss Heidi

Garden of Egan said...

All that dental vocabulary and scary mouth stuff had me shakin' in my boots. Dental anything makes me cry.

It sounds like you've been busier than one human can be, good for you for being able to keep up and of course recognizing the source of your strength.

You are an amazing woman and I totally LOVE you.

Valerie said...

You go girl! Sounds like some pretty big "V's" to me!

How are you at extracting wisdom teeth??? :) My daughter is having all 4 out in a couple weeks.

Have a great weekend!

Lisa Loo said...

THey pretty much have to put me under every time I even walk into the dentist office so I had to skip over all the tooth stuff--sorry.

The rest of your post made me want to go take a nap for you--how you keep up--AMAZING! Glad all is well!

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