Friday, February 27, 2009

Good day

I had two patients tell me today how much they liked me and that they want to be the first to know when I set up practice after graduation. That I "Can't work in Iowa City because that is too far away." That was nice to hear! Sometimes I feel like I am getting cranky when I see patient after patient who just doesn't care, comes in tooth after tooth after tooth on emergency without making any changes or being grateful. Maybe I am making a difference for some people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Give Kids a Smile

Today was GKAS day on our rotation. We provided free care to children all morning. It was one of my most challenging days with two very difficult patients. Despite having to literally wrangle a few to get the treatment done, I feel like I handled things very well. I left very sore and exhausted after wrestling a girl for a tooth extraction and after being one of 4 adults to restrain a 5 year old boy while my pediatric dentist instructor finally finished the work I unfortunately could not do myself.

The local newspaper was there catching the story. They caught me in a few pics. The first picture was before the wrangling rodeo work we had to do to finish our treatment. Notice the anesthetic syringe in the foreground (the SHOT). This was obviously before he noticed it, as well; otherwise, we would have a very blurry picture.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wisdom Teeth

Today I extracted my first impacted wisdom teeth! They were the challenging encore to the removal of the remaining upper teeth on one of my patients today. They were soft tissue impactions, meaning they were covered by gum tissue but not bone. So, they were not as tricky as they could have been by any means, but they don't let us do those at the dental school. So, yay for me. A little preview of what I will be doing starting July 2009.

I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating about my OS path. My rotation here in Des Moines has had a lot of OS procedures and I find that that is still my favorite thing to get in and do. I don't mind fillings or root canals, but I feel energized to begin rather than dread and I like sticking with it until the tooth finally POPs out of its socket, even if it is a challenge.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I have been in Des Moines on rotation with limited computer access. A lot has happened since I started 2 weeks ago.

We went to Utah for my sister's wedding.
We made an offer on a house here in IC only to lose the deal in a bidding war.
I have been sick for over a week (and missed another day at school--all in all, I will miss almost a full week of my rotation when I am not allowed to miss any time)
I have just over one week to prepare for an oral presentation I give for my research (again, a problem with limited computer access).
I worked out the problem with my computer test for boards and finished the first section without any glitches.

Boards is one month away. I still need at least one more patient.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Turns out I wasn't the only one who had a problem taking my test on Sat. My classmate did the exact same thing less than an hour after I did. He spoke with WREB without a resolution. They did not answer when I called.

At least it obviously wasn't just me being dumb. It makes a better case being 2 of us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dental Depression

I have not been feeling like myself lately. Instead, I have been feeling like a dental student.

Somehow, despite its demands, I have managed to keep a relatively normal lifestyle. I keep busy but usually have time to pursue things I enjoy or need to do to stay sane. On the other hand, a good deal of my classmates have hated the dental experience 100% of the way. The seem very stressed, sleep deprived, overwhelmed, and sometimes depressed.

Recently (and for how long I can't quite say) I've been feeling the dental student inside me rearing its ugly head. Staying up long hours, eating quick (and usually unhealty meals), neglecting exercise, being moody, overwhelmed, frustrated, and full of complaints. Despite the coveted extramural experience where for the most part I am away from the dental dungeon for 10 weeks, I have felt more stress the past 5 weeks than I have at least since 2nd year.

For example, tomorrow I have a test worth 50% of my grade in one of my few classes of the year. I also have a jurisprudence test in the afternoon which must be passed to receive my Iowa license. After the school day is over, I go directly to a root canal practice session for my WREB exam until 8pm. When I get home, I will gather up my things (5 weeks worth of clothes, utensils, etc + clothes for my trip to Utah for Brenna's wedding), and make the 1.5-2 hour trek to Des Moines. When I arrive about 11pm I need to find the Emergency Room to collect my apartment key and then find my apartment and get to bed. All of this while Abe is at home feeding the missionaries and going to his intramural basketball game.

Somehow I also need to fit in talking to the WREB people about rescheduling my botched test from Saturday.

I'm not meaning to complain (something I do all too often on here) but I want to let you know why I may be a little less than myself. Combine this new rotation schedule and living with roommates again, missing Abe, exams, finding patients, Brenna's wedding, potentially making my bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding, 2 ward activities I am in charge of, stress about graduation/internship, and looking into potentially buying a house, I finally know what it feels like to be a typical dental student.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Computer Glitch

This morning I went to take one of two computer exams associated with my licensure exam. Without all sections of this exam successfully completed, I will not be licensed to practice dentistry in Iowa or in any other state.

The 70 minute exam began with a 15 minute tutorial. The tutorial outlined the basic layout of the computer exam proctored by Pearson Vue, including using the mouse to click on various aspects of the test and how to use a scroll bar. After less than 2 minutes, I was ready to proceed to the test. I clicked, "Next," multiple times only to be told by a pop-up window that I had to click and scroll through ALL of the buttons of the tutorial. I felt that was silly, that I was forced to practice clicking on every icon but tried to do this and proceed. Again, the pop-up window.

I then saw a button that said "exit exam." Without thinking, I clicked the button, thinking maybe that was how to proceed. While clicking I realized this probably was incorrect but within seconds, I was logged off of the test.

The politics of the licensure test are up for dispute. There are many ways to fail that are often out of your control (patients not showing up being a big one). I think I may have found another! I was not able to return to the test since it had already been sent to WREB. I have to wait to hear back from them hopefully on Monday and try to sign up again.

I was very frustrated but mostly I am concerned about rescheduling. Almost every member of my class of 70 will be trying to take this exam in the next 4 weeks. Because I am on rotation, I am not allowed to take any time off of school. That leaves Saturdays, which may already be booked up. I had trouble getting the days scheduled in the first place.

My big question: why the warning for moving on to the test, but no pop-up warning asking if I wanted to quit the test before beginning. No, "Are you sure?" or "This will end the test and all chances of becoming a dentist."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I received some good news today. I have told a bit about the research project I have been working on. My mentor notified me today that the American Dental Association is excited about my research and have mentioned interest in our paper. If we can get it completed soon, they plan to rush it through the selection process and print it right away in the Journal of the American Dental Association! This would be a big deal, to be printed in this journal as an undergraduate dental student.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bored Boards

So I have confirmed with 2 patients that they will sit for my boards. So, unless the examiners don't like them, I'm 2/3 good.

However, it seems like I keep finding out about more and more things I have to do before the exam or as part of the exam.

Jurisprudence test Feb 9
Computer exam (10+ day before WREB)
Endo practice --Feb 9
Prepare for my endo practice--(I need to now go in to the school and pick up teeth, get them mounted in my plastic mouth which is still on order (very helpful), take x rays, etc, etc--again, when am I at the school?)
X rays on one of my patients
Find one more patient
Find 3 back-up patients, just in case

It seems every other day there is something new I have to be working on/figuring out/taking care of, all while I am away from the hub of knowlege, understanding, and ability to get this stuff done...the school!

Somehow everyone gets this over with, but I've been really wondering how.

Wacky Medicine

Believe me, I know what taking teeth out is like, and it is nothing like this!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy (Lame-O) GroundHog Day

Remember my last post, about the sunshine and having a good attitute about life. Well, I changed my mind and it is all about a special day called Groundhog day (and the return of sub-zero temps).

Mr. Groundhog seems to be a scaredy cat. I can't remember the last time he didn't decide winter would be another 6 weeks.

Why do we let a groundhog decide, anyway? And what is it about Feb 2 that every year he wants to come out and see what he can see (and only on this day of days?), tempting the ghostly shadow to scare him back into his den for another dreary month and a half? It's like he thinks he is being chased by an evil (black and little) twin. Don't be afraid, or don't look, or something!

I prefer to celebrate Abe's birthday instead. Lousy groundhog! Abe is much more reliable and certainly not afraid of a shadow.