A Gift is Gone

heart in the sky - saying goodbye

It is with profound sadness that I write this July message.

While away on a summer holiday in June, I received notice that a friend and colleague passed away from cancer.

I have wrestled with whether to even write about this as I do not want to be disrespectful to the surviving family and to the memory of this great human being.  In the end, I figured if I wrote from my heart, without mentioning names, then I could share this sad news and what I am feeling with my family, friends and patients without violating privacy.  This way, those of you who knew and loved her will now know of her passing.

I referred virtually all of my patients who needed to see a dentist over the last eight years to Dr. T.   She fitted them in promptly, staying late if needed and always took care of their immediate needs.  She never over-treated and I trusted her; she cared for everyone with love and respect.

I don’t suppose for a minute that practicing the way that Dr. T did would have been easy!  She cared about her patient’s entire health and well-being, not just their mouth.  She challenged many of the current standards of practice that are prevalent in dentistry today and using true informed consent and consent to treatment, educated her patients about the potential side-effects and dangers of certain treatments.  Ultimately, she challenged us all to be better informed about the choices we make and then allowed us to make the best decisions for ourselves with her help.

In reflection over the last few weeks, I find myself ruminating over a phrase that keeps circling around into my head:

She gave so much to others that there was nothing left for her.

In eight years, I never had one patient who was unhappy with the care that they received from Dr. T.  She was a rare combination of honesty, patience, technical ability and intuition.  Often, we find one or two traits that we desire in one health care professional and then a few more in another, often causing us to flip/flop and move around.  It is difficult to find that elusive package where all of our needs are met with one person.

Dr. T was the real deal, she “was” that complete package – a gift I would say – and she will be greatly missed.

Until next time,

Kathleen