Saturday, February 10, 2007

It's unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom.

.... this according to Ghandi.

That said, I humbly present this dialogue between myself and a 31-year-old female patient with a sore tooth.

Dr: Your upper right wisdom tooth is both broken and infected. The good news is - It should be pretty easy to remove.

Patient: Right now?

Dr: Probably take about five minutes, sure.

Pt: Hmm. But is it ok to remove?

Dr: Well, if you had a really huge infection then that might complicate things, but I think it'll be fine in your case.

Pt: No, but I mean...it's a wisdom tooth.

Dr: That is correct. And it's basically shot - there is no saving it, only a lot of discomfort if we don't remove it.

Pt: But what about the wisdom?

Dr: (Where? I don't see any...) "Errrr....I'm sorry?"

Pt: It's a wisdom tooth.

Dr. (back on solid footing) Yes!

Pt: So won't it affect...my...um....you know....

Dr: (please be kidding please be kidding please...) "...um.....I'm afraid I don't...."

Pt: My wisdom.

Dr: Like, your intelligence?

Pt: I guess.

Dr: (trying really hard to not be condescending) Um, "wisdom tooth" is sort of an expression - they don't show up 'til you're older and presumably wiser...Not actually tied to any wisdom, uh..... (am I REALLY having this conversation?)

Pt: Oh. Just checking. So, can you knock me out?

Dr: (You're conscious now? Really?) Um we can get you numb...you'll feel only pressure.

Pt: What if it goes to my brain?

Dr: What, the anesthetic?

Pt: Yeah. I don't want my brain numbed.

Dr: I can guarantee the anesthetic is the least of your concerns.....


I am so not making this up.

During the extraction, this lady just about squeezed off my poor assistant's hand and kept loudly exclaiming, "I can't breathe! I can't breathe! I'm dying, I swear!"

Signs of airway distress: Short rapid breaths, physically labored ventilation, sternal retraction, cyanosis.... Hollering "I can't breathe!" over and over: not actually a sign.....

Afterwards, offered her mild narcotic for post-operative pain - "Oh, gosh no... I can't take those! They make me CRAZY!"

Ah.
We wouldn't want that....

3 comments:

jeanie said...

*crying from laughter*

patients say the darnest things!

Dentist Down Under said...

Haha! When I've patients like this my internal alarm bell would go off and I'll shove them off to the oral surgeon :D

Anonymous said...

You are funny! I used to live in Portsmouth I would have loved to have you as my dentist. Laughter is the best medicine!