This One Story Will Transform Your Day, if not your life

Hey there!

Whatever you are doing right now, stop. Pull up a chair; put on those reading glasses. Maybe grab a cup of tea. Let’s just have a chat, friend-to-friend.

I know; I know. We barely know one another. I’m a dental student typing from Boston, Massachusetts, you’re a blogger off on the other side of the country, if not the world. But trust me. This moment matters.

Because I want to tell you a story from not too long ago; in fact, this was just a few days over a week ago. Iarrived in clinic ready to meet a new patient; we’ll call her Lailah. She was 5’7 and calm, and really just wanting relief from her pain. When she sat down beside me, so much was going wrong – in her medical condition, in her dental health – but she was just so optimistic.

 

“I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving,” she told me, describing her large family. “I don’t want to be in pain on the holiday.”

 

“I don’t want you in pain, either,” I answered, reading her radiographs. “Let’s see what we can do together before then.”

 

Lailah let me know about a few of her medical conditions, the cancer for which she was receiving treatment, the congenital heart disease that didn’t seem to worry her cardiologist any longer, the hypothyroidism that seemed to be under control. Through her full story, she was radiating with the warmth of a smile.

 

“I promise,” I told Lailah, “to do what I can to move your treatment forward in time for the holidays. We can’t do everything by then, but we’ll work together here.”

 

The minute Lailah left my office, the work began.

 

I called every doctor she named, spoke to every dental advisor I could reach. I carefully, and with haste, developed her treatment plan, and prepared for the next stages of her care. And when I spoke with her oncologist, my heart sank.

 

“Lailah has 6 months to live,” her oncologist boldly introduced. “One year at most. Unless we find the cure for her type of cancer in the next year, I want you to understand, we are not doing normal dentistry here. Extract the infected teeth. We start chemo on the first.”

Now take a deep breath for me, perhaps a moment pause. I’m not telling you this story to catch your breath. And my intention is certainly not educational, though I can’t help but notice just how impactfully this story demonstrates the intersection of medicine and dentistry.

But I am sharing this story with a goal.

smile changes life.png

When Lailah and I met, I knew her care was important. I knew her healthy smile mattered. It’s the same approach I have with each and every patient in my chair. Even if my job is to simply guide the patient to a specialist or someone who can offer the needed attention, I give my time, heart, and growing knowledge and experience to that patient. Every patient matters.

Knowing Lailah was going to die didn’t make her matter any more or any less. She was still a patient. She was always important.

And, in so many ways, she reminded me of what really matters:

  • The opportunity to share the warmth of your smile with everyone around you, even the dental student you just met.
  • The gift of spending the holidays out of pain and in the embrace of family.
  • The hope that our actions today will make for a better world tomorrow.
  • The faith that everything will be okay.
  • The courage to move forward no matter what weight follows us from our pasts.
  • And the joy of knowing we have made an impact in this world, whether within our own families and communities or on a larger scale. We have mattered.

In Kabbalah, in Jewish tradition, Lailahel is an angel, one who comes to the world with a message to share. My patent, Lailah, is just that, sharing with us, each day, her beautiful messages of hope, faith, and gratitude. This holiday season, let us all try to have a touch of an angel – a touch of gratitude and optimism – in our hearts and minds. No matter what has happened today or this year, all that matters is now, and how, even with a simple smile, we can choose to make a true difference,

All names, characters, business, places, events, and incidents have been changed for privacy. As a compilation of many patient experiences, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.  

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Advertisements

Where Have I Been?

Hey there! It’s been awhile.

And I know some of you may be wondering … where has Mirissa been?

The simple answer: Dental School.

dschool.jpg

The real answer: home.

In my absence from blogging, I have been

  • Learning to drill.
  • Meeting with my very first patient (where I was the dentist!!)
  • Volunteering as a pediatric dentist for the greatest of kids ♥♥♥
  • And studying oral health, systemic health, mental health, and everything in between. You can’t separate a smile from the rest of the body and mind!

In a nutshell, life’s been busy. And I’m going to be honest: I didn’t always stop to take the time for myself. I was:

  • Tired
  • Overwhelmed
  • Perhaps a little bit driven 😉

And I let excuses carry me away from my writing!

To be fair, though, I still made time for:

  • Friends
  • Laughter
  • 5 am sunrises
  • And the walk around Cambridge

btown

And I have had the most fulfilling, incredible time working with my patients, and learning a new set of skills. The challenge is never-ending and the reward is so amazing! 

Every time a patient sits before me, I think, “Wow. What an honor to work with this individual – child or adult – to bring a healthy smile to his/her life. Could I be any more fortunate?”

But life isn’t getting any quieter…

In the next few weeks, I’ll have a new schedule of patients, a new course on my calendar, and a new journey in drilling. Things will get busy – they never stopped! But stick around, because I’m still writing through this journey, sharing my inspirations along the way, and reminding us both that self-care should never get the back-burner … but occasionally, it will have to take a side-burner when a patient’s health and smile is in my hands and the drill is moving at high-speed.

Feel free to share what brings you joy and purpose in life … but first, set your cleaning with your dentist. It’s the greatest gift you could give the both of you!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

 

 

10 Lessons from 10 Dental Specialties

Open wide’ to the possibilities in the dental profession, and do please keep your jaw cracked open, too. We’re almost done with the soft tissue exam.

open-wide.jpg

We can learn so much from the many specialties of the dental profession!

CLICK HERE to read my latest Huffington Post article and to find out if you have the chutzpah of a prosthodontist!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

This Just In: 10 More Reasons To Smile

Have you seen the latest and greatest from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine? That’s right! I’m talking about a music video parody of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” that is bar none, the best parody of the year!

There are so many reasons to love this gem of a video, and this Huffington Post article shares just 10 of the reasons you are sure to smile with this video.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE HUFF POST ARTICLE

The Harvard goal: 1,000,000 youtube views! Help your future doctors get there and share this video with your friends and family!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Set Your Oral Health Goal of the Day!

What is your oral health goal of the day?

It could be…

– Brushing your teeth twice tomorrow!

– Pulling out that floss.

– Leaving the toothpaste in your mouth without rinsing after you brush.

– Drinking fluoridated tap water.

– Switching the sticky candies for some cheese and nuts.

– And so much more!

Whatever goal you set, FANTASTIC! It is sure to keep you smiling … in that orally healthy sort of way!

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.

Find a splendid way to get lost in the moment!

Today I Love…

Getting lost in the moment of drilling! What is your splendid way to get lost in the moment? Write it. Share it. Embrace it this next moment!

Today, I love drilling ivory. I love watching the beige tusk spin out from a millimeter of depth. How it rolls and collides in a dance of freedom. I love creating that freedom. And I love taking a deep inhale through my yellow mask, breathing in the burning ivory. I love the scent of burning ivory – like the gift of fresh-baked scone. And I love that the ivory burns less every day.

Today, I love remembering. I love wondering how it felt to first hold the drill. Not too long ago. The day when my hand first met metal. I remember, how I was so clumsy. And I love that I was so clumsy! My lines skidding into a path of improvement. I love that I can see such improvement.

Today, I love finding balance, my fingers resting steady, guiding my drill no deeper than dentin. I love the softness of dentin, and how I can create such precision with my hands. And I love that I now know where to place my fingers, when only two weeks ago, I did not. Today, I love learning, and I love how the challenge of the experience becomes just an afterthought.

Today, I love the serenity in the moments surrounding afterthoughts.

splendid lost.png

© 2017 Mirissa D. Price: A Dental Student, A Writer, A Journey to Share.