This morning I woke up with a tooth ache. No biggie except that this was the same tooth that was being really sensitive to cold last week and sending shooting pain through my mouth. When we were home at Christmas we did the dentist run and got our cleanings/check-ups. The dentist phoned at the end of the day to tell me that he found a cavity on my x-rays. It was the day before their office closed for two weeks over the Christmas holidays and I had plans the next day, so we just decided I would wait to get it taken care of this summer because it hadn’t been bothering me and I didn’t really think about it until last week.
We decided that it was finally hurting bad enough that we should try to find a dentist. We started calling friends, other missionaries and friends in Port, to see what they recommended. We got names, we got numbers, all was good. We found out that there was a visiting medical team in Lester, about an hour from here, and they had a dentist with them that had everything there to do fillings etc. We called and he told us to come right over.
The clinic by American standards would have probably scared some people away, but we know better. We know what a Haitian clinic looks like. We were happy with what we found. They’ve got a good set up there with private examining rooms and everything. Dr. Mike has been working to get a full dental set up with the chair and all the necessary equipment and I give him and the others that he’s worked with kudos for everything they’ve done.
We had to wait a bit which is fine. I hate it when people push us to the front of the line because we’re white. Unless it’s hot. Then it’s not so bad. Dr. Mike has been working with Dr. Miguel, a young Haitian man that has recently graduated from dental school. They’re getting an office set up with all the needed equipment in Gonaives so that he can have a proper dental practice and give people cheap dental care.
I got to be a practice case today which was kind of fun. The cavity that I had was pretty deep. Dr. Mike was concerned that they would have had to take out some of the root, but I was lucky. It was just a filling. Yay for me! After too many shots of Novocaine to count and a lesson in installing a rubber dam, and then another few shots of Novocaine we were off and running and things were moving along nicely.
As always, things are interesting here. Today I was the interesting thing. When the rubber dam went in everyone, including the ladies in the hall, got excited. They’ve never seen anything like that little contraption. It was actually kind of funny to be the one just lying there watching everyone else. Eventually I had Dr. Mike, Dr. Miguel, Chris, the translator with the mask and head lamp, another translator and three Haitian woman all in on the action. Too bad my camera batteries were dead. It would have been a priceless photo opp.
It was really cool to watch Dr. Mike work with Dr. Miguel and to see Dr. Miguel’s enthusiasm as he was shouting out times for the filling material to sit and for shooting it with the fancy light thing. When all was said and done I walked out with a shiny new clear filling that’s apparently much stronger than a silver one and the same quality that Dr. Mike uses back in the US. When we asked what to pay Pastor Pierre told us “Nothing, it’s a blessing to be able to help you.” To get the filling in Canada would have cost us about $150 so we thought it was an incredible blessing for us.
So, here I am, slowly unthawing. Do you call it unthawing if you never actually get frozen, but more incapacitated? Chris is starting dinner and most of the Novocaine has worn off, but my muscles still aren’t all working right yet, which means my lips aren’t all working right yet. This also means that it’s entertaining to smile at my husband, mostly because it freaks him out… Bwa ha ha ha…
~ Leslie the drooler
PS – For the record, the picture is NOT Dr. Mike – he was much sweatier – AND I apparently have beautiful teeth.