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How a patient brought the greatest joy in my life?

Most people think that Dental School is a dragon’s cave; difficult to enter, more difficult to survive and most difficult to escape from.

By Muhammad Hussain Shahid

Most people think that Dental School is a dragon’s cave; difficult to enter, more difficult to survive and most difficult to escape from. It is only the best scavengers that could make it outside and becomes rich by getting the dragon’s treasure. However, my personal take on dental school is that it’s heavenly place as the Cliffs of Moher. A place where I update my memory every next minute in my life’s book.

First two years in dental college here at Multan, contains theoretical subjects. These are bit similar to our MBBS counterparts. However, dental syllabi tends to get more difficult in the following years as we have to study three dental subjects in first two years Oral Biology, Dental Materials and Community and Preventive dentistry in addition to General MBBS subjects (Anatomy, Physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology and behavioural sciences).

After getting through my 1st two dental school years, my excitement raised as I was finally going to treat a patient. Our class had been divided in batches and every batch was given a ward to attend for a period of two months and my first ward was Periodontology ward.

Periodontology department ward was great. Supervisors were very helpful especially Head of department. He was the best choice to ask any query from. My passions were high as my clinical posting started. My time during the ward, spent really fast. Days become weeks and weeks become months, I had completed my manual scaling quota and was doing ultrasonic scaling.

I still remember that on 16th of January, my 24th patient came to me for phase 1 therapy. The patient was little girl of 11 years. I treated her like all my other patients, and followed the protocol. I set the barrier films, placed the instruments in right order from mouth mirror to probe, took her history and explained her that there will be bit of a pain. The entire treatment procedure was normal and ended soon. I then, cleared my chair, pouched my instruments, washed my hands and formally asked her about her condition. To which her reply shocked me from the core. My hands trembled as I was writing prescription at that exact time.

She said, “YOU DID A GREAT JOB AND I WANT TO BECOME A DOCTOR LIKE YOU IN FUTURE BECAUSE YOU’RE THE BEST.”

Those words enriched me with a great sense of gratification. I couldn’t believe few words would leave such an impact on me. I collected myself, greeted her. She then left with her father, but her words stayed.

Every dentist not once or twice but many times in their lives have listened such words from their patients. But to hear those words from a child, makes it more special. Allah Almighty has blessed our profession with such honour that people want to follow us, they see us as their messiah. So, we must not fell short of their expectations. That little girl has now become reason I work harder now. I know I may not be the best, but still struggles to justify the associated expectations.

I have students wasting time in wards, at the end they had a piled up patient load and unfinished quotas. After which they look for ‘short cuts’ to complete their logbooks. Hence this minute act of slackness eventually becomes habit. This at times can even develop unprofessionalism. I would urge my fellow dental students to commit to their dental practice with in spiritual and ethical capacity in the community as we have huge load of expectations weighing on your shoulders.

February 18, 2020

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