Sometimes a story can be summed up with just a picture. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to a Leadership Development Symposium put on by the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry) in Chicago. There, I met other dentists volunteering their time for the betterment of our organization and advocating for policies to advance community service and general dentists. There were young and old faces, people who have been doing this for at least 30 years. As a new leader in organized dentistry, I met and networked with dentists from all over the country. I even found a dentist for my patient who is moving to Austin, TX in 2 weeks.
The AGD fosters a reunion mindset at their conferences. Everyone is family. We learn and eat together. Here in this picture are the representatives from California, from north to south. We were dining with the current AGD president at dinner. He said he would pay the bill so naturally, we welcomed him. But our regional director ended up getting the check. Maybe at the next meeting, we will give him the bill. During the conference, everyone was in the mode to learn and share ideas. We were all focused on how we can contribute more and better guidelines to our constituents. But at dinner, it was different. We were cousins getting together and catching up. Of course, there were lots of harassment and jokes. The funniest comments came from the head of the table, yes, that guy sitting all by his lonesome self. The same guy that will be paying our bill at the next dinner.
The 2 days symposium was a great experience. We all share the same goals and were able to discuss strategies together. Making new friends is also great. Supportive new friends are even better. That’s another beauty to this symposium. The camaraderie was amazing. In the real world, dentists don’t support each other enough. At this symposium, I am thankful to the AGD for its investment in its members and leaders. I am also thankful to my colleagues for the fun and learning opportunities. Like old friends, I miss them already.
It's only March and already I'm done for the year. Some say bad luck comes in 3's. Well, this week, I paid my dues. My luck has to get better now. After dealing with a scam two weeks ago, a trip down onto the concrete sidewalk literally the day after and a tremendous heartache this week, I am done. Initially, I thought dealing with sexism was my third but I was wrong. The male ego was too easy to handle. It was a problem that was quickly dealt with. My final task had to be a heartache, as it is the only thing that would bend me.
This weekend, my family experienced a medical emergency of life and death. Everything is fine now but going through the first two days was heart wrenching. I think anxiety would be an understatement. Then to deal with tweenage hormones. God, help me. The latter was the lesser evil of the two but both were potent. My mind needs an emotional break. I'm told every once in a while, you have to deal with drama to balance out life. With happiness, there's sadness. Honestly, I think I can be balanced without the emotional high swings. In fact, I prefer to be pretty boring, mundane really. I like the happy medium. That is my spot, it serves as my point of reference. I don't sway easily but I was on bent knees. It's quite humbling.
I carry no elitism but confidence. I try to teach that to my children, but sometimes I fail. Other times, I succeed. That's a tough lesson to teach anyone truthfully. Today I interviewed a doctor who cried on the phone. It took me by surprise. Then I later found out she was going through some tough changes in life. As an older person, I advised her to just breathe and not try to grab anything in thin air in hope of catching something new. Desperation is an abyss. As I'm going to Chicago next month for a leadership development symposium, she asked me to meet her for more career advices. I reiterated that she had a great resume. I don't think she believed me wholeheartedly. Her lack of professional confidence resulted from a failed personal goal.
Ahhh... life. Sometimes you just want to whack it in the head. But then it whacks you right back. I'm still learning to take it in stride. Fight only when necessary. Not doing anything just means peace for the moment. Silence is golden. As I reassured my older patients who dislike the idea of me going to Chicago for a "re-programming" of Vu, my edge will always be there. They can't take that. But learning how to fight better is what I'm going for. Maybe next time my bad luck will end at 2, not 3 as I would know how to strategize better.
Funny Story of the week
One day I answered the phone to help Daisy as she was busy on the other line. Immediately on the other end, a patient asked, "Dr. Vu?"
Me (surprised someone recognized my voice so quickly): Hello?
Patient: Dr. Vu? Is that you?
Patient: Maybe, Dr. Vu?
Me (recognizing the voice now): Yes, maybe Dr. Vu
Patient: It's me, David.
Patient: Yes, David. Maybe, David?
Me: What? (smiling now)
Patient: No, wait. It's not maybe. It's definitely David.
Me (laughing): What?
Patient: It's definitely David. I need to see you soon.
Me: Okay, when can you come in?
Patient: After lunch.
So the patient came in after lunch, sat down in the chair to show me his concern then turned to me and said, "Okay Maybe Dr. Vu, I'm Definitely David..."
So funny. I have some of the funniest patients. I think I will have to call him Definitely David from now on. He has been my patient for over a decade. We have a long history together. A few years ago, he said some people have cigarette addition, alcohol dependency or waste their money on junk. Him, he just lacks proper dental hygiene at home so his "vice" is to pay me to clean his teeth every 2 months. Therefore, it's a "good" bad habit to have. Also, it's a good excuse not to floss or keep up with nightly home care (according to Definitely David.) Silly guy. here to edit.
Today we had a young man with a broken heart come in. His cheerful demeanor was a distraction to his sunken heart. Our normal cordial exchanges took place and something was admist. As I laid him back to start my exam, tears started to well up in his eyes. Slowly, he closed them only to let one run down quickly to his cheek. I stopped for a second. Not wanting to make the obvious evident, I continued my exam calling out the pocket numbers and anything else I would see. As I was only half way done, a smile suddenly came across his face as I took another moment before proceeding again. I couldn't help but asked what he was thinking.
His replied left me laughing so hard I couldn't continue for a few minutes.
He said, "For some reason, Dr.Vu calling out the numbers is so soothing."
Bobbie: It's probably not her voice but just a sound of a woman's voice being so gentle and not screaming at you is soothing.
We all laughed. Of course I couldn't be soothing anymore. I gave him a hug before I continued. Another tear followed the release of my arms. As an older sister, I reminded him to always try to be kind even to mean people. When he finally left, he was thankful for the 2 hours of therapy and support, along with some dental treatment.
Our patients are like family to us. We know them for so long that we exchange stories and information throughout the years. When one is hurt, we all gather to form a pillar of support. This is why our little office is so unique. We embrace all kinds of pain and will help you work through it slowly. We will also find a song to sing to cheer you up. The singing may not be good but the intention is pure love and greatness.
Last weekend my family was asked to foster 3 weeks old puppies. As my youngest had been asking for a dog, we thought fostering would be a good option in lieu of actually getting a dog. It's a win-win for everyone. So we got these two little ones. They are sweet. They comfort each other and play together nicely. I'm looking for a nice stable home for these little guys. They will be returned to the humane society if I can't find someone for them. My hope is not to have them stay at the shelter as they are so young. It could be intimidating for young pups at the shelter. I also hope someone can take them together so they don't have to be separated and be alone. They're joyful now, I would like for them to remain that way. So, if you are interested in adopting these little guys, please let me know. I will help you get all the adoption papers done.
FYI...there are more dogs out there who could use a loving home. Please visit www.hssv.org to see all your options.