|Teresa and Allan see their first dental patients.|
We pulled 10 teeth our first day! We didn't even leave any roots behind! Months of planning really paid off.
Now if any of you are wondering what in the world I am doing as an ob/gyn doctor pulling teeth, I know it seems strange. I knew, however, that there would be four or five of us teaching the Community Based Health Care and Village Childbirth Attendant class, and that there would be at least two of us that could work in the medical clinic. Jonathan Kopf had asked me months earlier if I could bring a dentist with me to do some extractions. I asked a friend of mine who is an oral surgeon if he could teach me how to pull teeth prior to our May 22, 2012 departure, which he did.
|Teresa demonstrating the functionality of our |
jungle dental chair...a modified wheelbarrow.
We were so glad that the oral surgeon that had providing my training had talked about pediatric patients and the limitations of dosing of lidocaine. We gave Juice some oral valium before lunch and told them to come back after lunch. He had several of his baby teeth that were infected and irritating the gums adjacent to his permanent teeth coming in. We ended up extracting three of the infected baby teeth that way. The only person in the room that didn't have tears streaming down their face was Juice's mother. She kept saying that this was a good day because God had brought us to this place to relieve Juice's pain. Juice was such a sweet boy that his cries of fear and pain (hopefully more fear than pain) made everyone else shed tears.
Afterwards Teresa gave Juice a brand new orange shirt because he had been so brave. Several days later Juice showed up again as a repeat customer. We had used all of the lidocaine that we could use on a pediatric patient and we were not able to remove a fourth stump of a tooth that was bothering him. The second time he came back we had to not only give him oral valium, but we also gave him an IV sedative that is orally active and masked the taste of the medicine by mixing it with pancake syrup. He loved it and kept sucking on the syringe for hours afterwards. We also felt as if Juice was part of the reason that God had brought us around the world and deep into the jungle to relieve the suffering of this sweet little boy and to be the miracle that his mother had been praying for. One of my greatest joys in life is to be the answer to someone else's prayers.
|Teresa and Juice after his first dental extractions.|