First Patients

Things were super slow the first two weeks my doors were open. It was hard not to take it personally and remind myself that I just started, that being slow right now did not fortell the future, it did not mean the practice is doomed to fail. It is difficult to remain positive when things are looking so bleak at home. I try to put everything aside when I walk in the doors here but I think it would be easier if I actually had a steady stream of patients. During the first week, it was not uncommon for me to let everyone go early. I would just sit at the desk and stare at the empty appointment calendar, waiting for the phone to ring.

Luckily, during the second week, it did start ringing and I’ve been able to start doing what I do best: helping bring their smile back to people. It has been a huge relief to get back into the swing of things.

Today, I completed my first surgical procedure here in Chile. There was a young man who had been hit by a baseball that had bounced up from the ground and caught him under the eye. He didn’t go to the doctor at first, which I cannot believe because it must have been excruciating, but finally decided to see his regular doctor, who recommended he come to me. I knew it would pay off visiting all the primary care doctors in the area. The procedure took several hours but I am very happy with the results.

I have also seen a little girl with a cleft palate and lip, who will be coming in for to have what will be the first of several surgeries next week. Based on all of her images, I do not forsee too many problems and I am confident that things will improve greatly for her each time. I do not anticipate too many follow up surgeries once the cleft issues have been corrected.

The dental side of the office has been steadily increasing in pace as well. That has been nice. My partner likes it too. Any surgical procedures necessary are handled by me, which works out well. I will be extracting some wisdom teeth early next week before they erupt and misalign everything else in the patient’s mouth. Her jaw’s not all that big, and it would end up being a huge issue.

It is peculiar having everyone pay up front, though. I mean, it makes sense, but it isn’t how I’m used to doing things. Constanza is excellent at the front desk and I am very grateful that she’s on my side. I have seen her be firm with patients and although I don’t always understand everything they say, I know she is always trying to do right by me and the office.

So things here, at least, are looking up. It’s really nice to feel like I am helping people again.