Connection: Enduring and real connections are scarce these days, and conceivably unfamiliar. Real connection is eye contact in an age of downcast, mobile-addicterd eyes. Real connection is smelling the imminence of a downpour. Real connection is stopping a car encroaching on your crossing path with the palm of your hand, and feeling the air molecules vibrate around you. Real connection is real life.
Recently, I met the coolest little patient ever. This kid – let’s call him Cooper – was the kind of kid who makes you tell their parents: “Seriously, I need to know what you are feeding him, or telling him because I want my kid to be just like him!”. Despite the invasive nature of our first treatment together, and having come to see me with pain and palpable edema, he handled it like a champ. Four appointments later, we managed to finish everything he needed. And for those of us, who treat many children, seldom are you able to describe the encounter as “delightful”. Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that most children make for horrific patients. I am only suggesting that most children treatments inevitably have, at least, passing tension. I was so impressed with Cooper that I decided to send him a thank you card with a personal note addressed to him.
Fast forward a few months, and I am delighted to see Cooper in my schedule booked for an exam. After re-connecting, I was dismayed to determine that the pulpotomy we did was not successful (success rate depends on type of pulpotomy and often drops significantly within 6 months of treatment) and that he had recurrent infection. So now I am thinking to myself “Great, there goes my rapport with him”. Well, I was totally wrong. After telling Cooper what we had to do, and answering all of his anachronistic questions, we booked his extraction appointment.
The extraction was on a Friday I recall. When they arrived his mother informed me that he was chomping at the bit to come in for his appointment. And later she revealed that he divulged a desire to become a dentist on the way in.
If that is not connection, I don’t know what is