Monday, January 5, 2009

A Potpourri of Nothing

I have been officially crowned (and of course billed). It is so neat to chew again. Might even be worth all it cost.

I was talking to a colleague as I left the dentists office, and we shared the observation that there are few things that can hurt more from less damage than teeth. He is even older than me (geologic time maybe?) and he has both implants and a bridge. His bridge had started causing problems over the holidays, so he was waiting to get in to see the dentist and hoping that it wasn't going to be a problem with his anchor teeth.

The whole conversation led me to consider the history of dentistry. What prompted the first person who figured that they could try to do anything other that just remove a hurting tooth? (Go here to see a timeline of dentistry. ) I figure it was either an accident ala "hey, since I stuffed that mud and leaf mix into that hole in my tooth, it doesn't hurt as bad!" or it was a sadist who wasn't real good at the concept or maybe just liked to string the pain out. In any case, it ranks right up there with the idea of primitive brain surgery in oddness. I suppose one shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. In the ancient days, people eventually wore their teeth out and starved to death when they couldn't tear and grind food anymore. At least today there is a fix. I literally cannot imagine what it would have been like to have an impacted tooth prior to about 700 AD when the Chinese write of the first amalgams ("silver paste").

Onto more breezy subjects. Today was one of those days where the temperature itself wasn't too bad, but all day long there was a stiff breeze that made it feel down right cool if you stepped out of sheltered areas. I find that harder to handle than days when it is just brutally cold. When it is like this, you look at the thermometer and it says 30+ degrees and then you step outside and out of shelter of the building and ... BRRRRR. But at least the day did have some redeeming qualities. I got to use my Christmas present of a new pair of sweat pants for my walk. That was pretty comfy. And the sun was out so that it was not depressing like the other day. Hooray!

Well, time to do my homework for the meeting tomorrow morning. I have a 7:30 breakfast meeting of the physicians recruitment committee at the local regional medical center. We've been successful in recruiting physicians for most of our needs except for full time ER doctors. The medical center has used locum tenens physicians to staff the ER for the past while, but the real goal is have regular full time staffing. (For those whose Latin is a bit weak and don't hang with MD speakers, locum tenens means temporary at this location or place-holder in the sense of lieutenant.) 

We of the committee try to put the community and area forth with all the bells and whistles to aide in recruitment. We usually have representatives from the county government, the city government, the local community college, the Welcome Wagon, the banks and local business, and the local school district. It seems to be a unique approach. We often times get thank you notes from the visiting physicians and their families, thanking us for making it easier to get a feel for the community and noting how unique it was. The whole idea is to get questions answered right at the source. Seems to work well.

Rural areas like this one have several specialties where it is hard to recruit medical personal. Number one is for appropriately trained and certified ER doctors and number two is surgeons. Both are hard to recruit because the successful candidate is going to have to do a wide range of procedures without the nearby presence of specialists in many areas. Modern medical training tends to specialize the med students so finding wide ranging ER docs and meatball surgeons is harder than family practitioners, etc. I suspect with time and the pending nation wide shortage of physicians, the models for rural medical centers may have to change or else medical school curriculum will need to be revised once more.

Back to the football game ...


  1. There is nothing like dental work to send shivers up the spine!

  2. Committee! I detest committees. I am not that sort of animal at all. You have my admiration!

  3. Sheesh, I need to get to the dentist.


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