Every now and then, I’ll be busy with one thing or another and suddenly think about someone whom I haven’t seen in a while. It might be a friend; often, it’s a patient.A month or so ago, I realized that I hadn’t seen Alan in the office in quite some time. Alan and I go back a long time and over the 25 years that I’ve cared for him, he has been regular as clockwork keeping his 6-month check-up visits. When I looked up his records, I saw that I hadn’t seen him in over a year. I grew concerned and gave him a call to find that he, like so many others, had fallen prey to this horrible economy. The company he had been with for some 2 decades went out of business and Alan has been unemployed for a year.He shared with me how difficult it’s been both professionally and personally. Being out of work for such a prolonged period of time takes its toll financially as well as emotionally. He expressed disappointment that so many people that he had helped over the years didn’t reach out to him in a meaningful manner, as he most certainly would have were the circumstances reversed. Alan is the type of guy who goes out of his way to help someone in need. Ask for an inch, he’ll give you a foot. So when hardship fell, he didn’t just feel deflated from having lost his job, he was hurt by the lack of support from those he imagined he could count on.We spoke for quite a while and I shared with Alan two important lessons I had learned about human nature and myself: 1. People can’t read your mind: if you want or need something don’t assume that people, even those close to you, know what it is unless you come right out and express it. 2. Don’t expect people to respond to something the same way you would, and don’t be disappointed when they don’t. We are all uniquely different.At the conclusion of a very heartfelt conversation, I invited Alan to come in for an appointment – as a favor to me and in the spirit of friendship.- Michael
DISCLAIMER: The advice I offer in response to your questions is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. Namely, I am in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation. My intent is solely educational and my responses to your actual questions serve as springboard to discussion of a variety of dental topics that come up in day-to-day dental practice. Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.