A couple of days ago, I was sitting in my dentist chair having a bridge placed. I had to have this done due to a tooth I recently got extracted. After three surgical attempts to save the tooth, over a five-year period, it had to be removed. Over the last two decades, I’ve been visiting my dentist far more than I would like. I can remember the days when each checkup was a pleasure, no follow up visits for fillings, root canals and the like. Unfortunately, my diagnosis, almost twenty-two years ago with Multiple Myeloma has brought with it more dental issue than I care to enumerate. The chemotherapy and other treatments have brought with them more cavities and necrosis of jawbone tissue. (Thankfully, the latter is in less amounts than with some Multiple Myeloma patients.
I won’t bore you with a litany of all the visits to my dentist I’ve had over the last two decades. No. That’s not the focus of this blog. What I do want to share is the number of people, professionals and non-professionals who have been in my life over these past seventy-one years, who’ve been bright points of light. People, who if they hadn’t been there, I might have experienced a different outcome.
My dentist is a highly skilled, knowledgeable professional, who is comfortable at acknowledging her short comings. I have every confidence in the treatment she provides; however, she’s never hesitant to refer me to someone else for a second opinion whenever she’s meandering into an area of practice, she’s not familiar with. I remember my first visit to her office. She was young, not as skilled as she is today, starting a small business. She mentioned to her assistant, while placing my bridge that she and I had grown old together. Two years ago, she sold her business, because she was tired of all the responsibilities that come with running a business. However, she decided to remain in the practice, because of her patients. She didn’t want to leave them to the care of someone they didn’t know. I’ve had other medical professionals mention to me the excellent quality of the work my dentist has performed on my mouth.
My optometrist, mush like my dentist has been with me for decades. He was a young professional the first time he examined my eyes. A much more knowledgeable, older optometrist had hired him. As time went on, he bought the practice from this older fellow. His resume is much the same as my dentist, even to the point where he sold his business three years ago and decided to remain in the practice because of his patient.
My oncologist who diagnosed me with Multiple Myeloma has retired. His world-renowned research has advanced the treatment of people with Multiple Myeloma to the point where life with this horrible disease has become much like living with a chronic health condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The doctors and advance practice nurses and other health professionals who took the baton from him have continued to provide me and others with a quality of care that, not only treats the disease but encourages patients to do all we can to live life to its fullest.
The teachers, the professional associates, the family members, the friends (an accumulation of brilliant stars) too many to mention, who’ve lifted me up in ways too tremendous to describe have been there for me. Some have been paid healthy sums of money, others have received nothing in terms of monetary value, but they all have extended to me themselves. They’ve been real, caring people, who appreciate the importance of relationship. I thank God for all of them!
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.