Thursday, September 10, 2009

growing up with a little less

This week I had a patient who was new to the office, he recently married a current patient of ours and needed to have a regular six month cleaning. I introduced myself, welcomed him to our office and directed him to my operatory. Before he sat down he took out an upper and lower denture. This shocked me because this gentleman is only 41 years old. He has eight remaining teeth, 3 top and 5 bottom. I take them to the ultrasonic bath in hopes the years of tobacco stain would be removed. I hurried back to my room to finish up his x-rays and began his cleaning. (Yes even 8 teeth need cleaning).
This man was so humble and kind, his 6 year old daughter joined him today and waited patiently for him in the corner chair. As I clean his teeth, I find out that he grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountians of NC, his parents were both alcoholics. He lost most of his teeth within the past 10 years due to poor health care, both dental and medical. Oral cancer was removed twice from under his tongue and upper right gum tissue. He began smoking at the age of 10, currently smokes about 1/2 pack per day, has cut back from 1 1/2 packs per day. He was brought up only taking a bath 1 x per week, brushing his teeth 1 x per week, and wearing the same clothes for more than seven or eight days. What ever he wore to sleep in, he wore the following day to school and so forth. He knew that's not what other kids did, but his parents were not able to take care of him nor his siblings. He currently works/lives in the Garner area working a full time job. He moved from the mountains in order to provide a better life for his darling little girl (whose mother left when she was only 2 wks old). All of this tugged on my heart that I could not put in to words how I felt. As I cleaned his teeth I silently prayed for him and his daughter not knowing where or if they went to church then out of the blue, at the end of the appointment he told me how good God has been to him and his daughter, blessing him with a wife and her a mother.
Just another reminder to me how faithful God is.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us
 and make his face to shine upon us."  Psalm 67:1

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