This past weekend, I took my daughter to help volunteer for the Convoy of Hope event in San Jose. As one of the three planning committee members, I was so elated to see more than 30 dental team members show up to donate their time, skills and kindness. We had specialists, hygienists, new grads, students, foreign dentists, assistants, and community volunteers serving at the dental section of the event. Our team spoke 7 different languages and had translations for our guests of honor. Everyone was working tirelessly to provide the best possible care from what we can offer. We were in constant motion to keep the line moving.
Over 106 organizations stepped up to donate supplies and equipment for participants. With approximately 1000 volunteers from 50 different churches and the surrounding communities, 4000 attendees were given over 4500 bags of groceries, 7000 meals, 1600 pair of shoes, 300 family portraits taken by 8 photographers, 157 haircuts by 25 hairstylists, and so many more to ease the stress of the everyday life around the holidays. Hundreds of people were given counseling spiritually, professionally and emotionally. The event also provided professional help with writing resumes, applying for jobs and connecting people to the right resources.
Our dental team was able to screen for oral cancer, demonstrate proper home care instructions and apply silver diamine fluoride to over 200 attendees. We also gave away more than 300 bags of dental goodies of toothbrushes, full size toothpastes, rolls of floss, and proxybrushes. With everything happening so quickly, I didn’t get to fully take in the impact of this event. I saw the hundreds of grocery bags piled up on the tables, the pink group of people consulting and comforting people with (potential) breast cancer, the thousands of lunch bags, and I was still in work mode. It didn’t hit me until I saw the young boy in the video saying how his mom was in Mexico and they were left alone hungry. Yet he still had a smile on his face because a shoe company donated 1600 pair of shoes and he got a pair, along with his brother. I remember the father of 7 getting a dental screening for all of them because he was laid off. I helped him sign each one of his kids up. We split them into two groups next to each other to finish the family screening faster. There was a prosthodontist standing next to me in amazement as he watched the 6 kids walking in front of their parents so obediently. The 7th was in mom’s arms. Here is the link to the video from our local tv station: https://cbsloc.al/35moDgu
I see that every little action of kindness helps. Families were so happy just to get an extra bag of dental goods. A woman told me she had 2 sons and a husband who couldn’t make it to the event. She wanted a bag for each of them. I handed her 5 bags and she was so grateful. Another family came along but didn’t want the screening. However, they wanted the dental bags. I gave each a bag and they were so surprised. I reminded them we were there to help in any way possible. The grandparents ended up wanting a dental screening after all.
All in all, it was hard work because it was practically nonstop. The day started with just 35 degrees but the sun came out and burned my nose. My daughter stood in the front with me to register people and direct them to the appropriate chair to be screened. We exchanged paperwork with each volunteer and manage the line of attendees. She even explained to the registrants what they were consenting to and described what silver diamine fluoride was. I stood in astonishment because she listened to me and my colleague when we were lecturing about SDF to our peers before the event started. After the event was over, we helped to clean up. She passed out in the car on the way home. I was exhausted but beaming with pride as I looked at my sleeping daughter. She held her own at the event. Doctors were calling her over to translate for them. I hope she will continue to do charity work throughout her life and I don’t have to remind her about it.
5 portable dental chairs and units supplied by AG Neo dental company.
The Vietnam vet in wheelchair along with his friend, getting their check up. The funny stories they shared about their time in Vietnam were entertaining because they told part of the stories in Vietnamese. Even after decades of being in Vietnam, their Vietnamese was still pretty good.
Most of the dental team for Convoy of Hope 2019. Thank you for all you do.
This week, I have to apologize to patients who were rescheduled due to my schedule. My youngest broke his arm in gymnastics and we were at the ER, then the doctor's office, and finally the surgery center...all 3 days in a row. Surprisingly, the ER was so busy on a Wednesday night. The doctor's appointment the following morning was also busy. Then the surgery center was horrific. They did not have clean instruments for my child's surgery. The charge nurse tells me there will be at least an hour delay. That was followed by the surgeon coming by to say..."a longer delay" because he has other surgeries that he has to do as well that day and took off. He was upset.
The facility manager, Steve, tells me they're humans so they make mistakes. But he will "take it for the team" as I'm sitting there questioning how a surgical center was not prepared for a surgical procedure that was set a day before.
Steve: I'm not directly involved but I will let you take it out on me.
Me: You're the manager, right? You manage the facility?
Steve: Yes, but the charge nurse was supposed to take care of these things. I'm trying to protect your child. This is implant surgery. We need the instruments to be sterilized. Dr. Kanel doesn't use this facility regularly so we need the instruments to be brought in.
Me: You don't think I want to protect my child? I know how implants work.
He continues to talk down to me like I don't know what implants are. Only after I told him I was a dentist, placing implants in the jaws, did he start to tone down his aggressiveness.
I don't understand people. Why do some think they know more just by assumption? I saw the guy delivering my son's instruments to his surgery. Does that even look safe to you as he walked across the parking lot and into the surgery room? The room, in theory, was supposed to be "sterile", instruments coming from the parking lot and through a room filled with people kinda take that sterilized factor away. Ugh! My point with Steve was: I understand mistakes are made BUT your facility made the mistake. First, the anesthesiologist was late. He ordered the medical assistant over the phone to administer the oral sedation dosage. Then the nurse wasn't informed about the instruments so she had to push my son back after she started to take him to the OR. The surgeon came in upset and walked right back out after 2 minutes with us. The instruments arrived through the parking lot and across a reception area. There were so many places to correct on this day. Don't tell me you're protecting my child when I'm trying to make sure everyone knows what they're doing on him because of all the things I saw in 3 hours of being there. It is disheartening and the surgery has not even started.
In the end, the surgery was done and his bones have rods in them. For that, I am grateful to the surgeon who made it happen.