Being Nice Doesn’t Have To Be Like Pulling Teeth

, , , , | Hopeless | April 11, 2019

(I study dentistry in France. Like every fourth- to sixth-year student, I work at the dental clinic. It’s divided into wards like surgery, care, emergencies, etc. This way, although unpractical for patients who have to take like three appointments for something a normal dentist could do in one, we can make sure the same person takes care of their patients if they’re nice and/or interesting to work on. One day at the care ward, I get a patient for something that should be taken care of by the emergency ward. After a brief talk with my professor, he agrees I can just take the patient in so he doesn’t have to wait any more than he already has. The procedure is routine and I take care of it in ten minutes; however, it requires the use of something that has a bad taste. As usual, I profusely apologize about it.)

Patient: “Don’t worry; you’re great!”

Me: “Haha, thanks!”

(I get everything wrapped up and inform him that we have to remove another tooth, and that we may have to remove the one I worked on. He has health issues, and I want a second opinion before subjecting him to a lengthy procedure for a tooth he might ultimately have to have removed. I, therefore, offer to show him where the surgery ward is. On the way there:)

Patient: “What’s your name?”

Me: *pointing to my badge* “My name is [My Full Name]. I can write it down if you want.”

Patient: “Oh, yeah! Perfect, thank you! You’re really the best, and I want you to be my dentist forever!”

(I laugh and write my name down, thanking him for the compliment. As mentioned before, I barely even worked on his tooth, so I don’t know how he got the idea I was so great. I tell him when I’ll next be in the surgery ward and he tells me he’ll be there. Fast forward a few days and, sure enough, he’s here. We get him in the chair and start working on the tooth we have to remove. It’s a difficult tooth and we fiddle around with it for maybe 45 minutes before managing to extract it. For comparison, a regular extraction takes five to ten minutes, tops. I also require the help of an experienced professor to remove it. I tell the patient something to the effect of, “It was hard, wasn’t it?”)

Patient: “Oh, not at all! I knew that you really were the best! As soon as you started working on it, bam! It popped right out!”

(I laughed and thanked him again for the compliment. Amongst all the crazy and entitled patients I get, it really cheers me up when I see someone this nice. It reminds me I’m doing this to help people smile!)

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