Dental story : Surgical strike

Surgery classes were a terror. Our blood froze, mouths dried and muscles paralyzed at the thought of going for the weekly mockery that was surgery lectures. Wading through musty, sickness-laden, phenyl swabbed confines of the government hospital, past rusting stretchers with groaning faceless bodies covered with off-white, crumpled sheets, trying to avoid inhaling the stench of urine, vomit, raw wounds and dried blood in the ‘apatkaleen’ department was a challenge in itself. Uniformed Mamas on duty who looked into police cases like suicide and dowry deaths ignored us as we walked past the emergency department. Compared to the sanitized confines of the dental hospital, this was where the real action took place. It was grim, hard-core real medicine, real life and death scenarios playing out without the glamour seen in air-brushed serials on television. The fatigued nurses in their pristine white knee length frocks, tights and caps looked as if they had stepped out of the era of the British Raj. The doctors looked calm despite their surroundings. The one similarity between dental and general hospitals were the paan-stained corners at the top and bottom of every flight of stairs. It was hard to distinguish the paan from blood; it could have been both.

Surgery lectures were held after the daily dental lectures for the day were over. Groups of us students walked in, heads lowered, trying to keep as low a profile as possible. To describe the lectures as a spectacle was an understatement. It was more like a circus performance with us dental students playing jokers for the entertainment of the surgical registrars who stood against the wall at the back of the room enjoying the show as we trembled wondering what new insults would be hurled at us and what comic fun we would provide. Surgery class seemed to attract more students than our usual cohort of 70 something. The aged, ‘experienced’ faces joining us for this weekly session of shame were the ‘chronics’ who had suffered a ‘KT’ in surgery for more years than one.

To preside over the show, the sadist would emerge tall, lean, hunched, bespectacled. With a long finger he would point randomly at one of us. “YOU” he commanded in his quiet, refined voice. That’s it, the humiliation would start.

“What is the nerve supply of back of hand?” he once asked.  Shuddering we collectively tried desperately to extract a piece of information that had never been fed to our already exhausted brains. What does the back of hand look like? Yes, there are 5 digits. That’s as far as our knowledge went. How were we expected to know when our anatomy cadaver in first year dissection had no hands at all? Remember, we had only head, neck and torso; no limbs. Of course, we didn’t know. So, one by one we stood, clueless, mortified, embarrassed, blank. Like a pack of dominoes we fell, one at a time; what was left of our self-esteem shattered to a million pieces.

DENTAL STORY : YOU KNOW YOU ARE A DENTIST WHEN…….

 

YOU KNOW YOU ARE A DENTIST WHEN…….

  • You know you are a dentist when the first thing  you notice about anyone is their teeth.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when RIGHT is always ‘Patient’s right’ and

LEFT is always ‘Patient’s  LEFT’ …….. Basically Right is wrong!!

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you look at a pretty model’s teeth and instead of admiring the photo shopped / airbrushed face, you wickedly concentrate on the  posterior metal fillings, black rimmed margins of crowns and so on.

 

 

  • You know you are a  dentist when you think of Alginate when you knead chapatti atta dough.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you have delightful dreams of removing chunks of calculus( ahhh the pleasure)!!!

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you spot calculus , plaque, materia alba and stains  in the lower incisors of hot hunks .

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you can spot a smoker by looking at his/her lips.

 

  • You know you are  a dentist when you become highly suspicious when you see a perfect set of teeth in an elderly person and look closely to make sure it’s not a denture!!!

 

  • You know you are  a dentist when you figure out a  person is a gutka eater from the way he speaks

 

  • You know you are a dentist when  you are never bored in a train or bus; you just amuse yourself diagnosing Class 3s , anterior open bites, bimaxillary protrusion and so on. Throw in a mesiodens and your day is made!

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you sincerely wonder when MS Dhoni is going to having his missing upper premolar replaced.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when u are still trying to find out who did  Kajol’s orthodontic treatment.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you describe people whose names you don’t know by their teeth- ‘oh the guy with the missing laterals!’ Or ‘hmm the girl with the buccally displaced canines’

 

  • You know you are a dentist when your kid, in his mothers day card, thanks you for making him brush his teeth everyday..

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you eat most of your kids’ Halloween candy under the pretext of saving them from cavities.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when the smell of good old Zinc oxide Eugenol smells better than any balm on this planet.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when nostalgia means fondly remembering the days of triple arm slip joint, extra extra low snail speed ancient hand pieces, chip syringe and other such wonders

 

  • You know you are a dentist when your patients bring you chocolates

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you sit at a dining table, listen to someone’s jaw clicking and diagnose TMJ dysfunction

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you see a person you know who used to have a missing premolar and ……there she has it now. ‘Ohh she didn’t come to me for treatment’.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you can identify a person who has had Orthodontic treatment even as a first year dental student.

 

  • You know you are a dentist  when instead of saying  “say cheese” while taking a photo, you say  “give me a molar to molar”

 

  • You know you are a dentist when extracting a tooth even a wobbly third degree mobile one, successfully, gives you a HIGH!!- every time!

 

  • You know you are a dentist when, at a party, you always dread the moment when somebody asks you what you do.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when the person in front of you  says, ” Nothing personal but I don’t like dentists” and you just smile and say ” I know, I know.”

 

  • You know you are a dentist when new acquaintances who have just found out what your profession is, cover their mouth, assume you make a lot of money and get a free consultation there and then.

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you just hate it when people ask how many months it took for you to do the dentistry course!!!  As if it’s some kind of sewing/ embroidery class

 

  • You know you are a dentist when you hate it when people ask ‘what made you take up dentistry?’ As if implying  ‘why on earth would someone want to be a dentist’

Can’t reveal the secret that actually I wanted to be a doctor but kya Kare, that 0.01 mark changed my destiny (for the better!!!).

 

You just say ‘I always wanted to be a dentist’. After all, dentistry contains  ‘destiny’!