Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We traveled about and hour and a half north of San Pedro de Maquoris this morning to the small village community of Palmar de Gallo where we set up shop again in a small church. We cleared the sanctuary of all of the benches and transformed the building again into one big treatment room.

With not quite as spacious accommodations today as we had yesterday, we set up the hygiene area on an old patio to the side of the building. We have three, free-standing awnings that are part of our equipment that we set up to shade the patients and the hygienists. While patients waited look on, the hygiene team went to work and did a great job in their open-air treatment area!

Dr. Consuela Coby is one of the local doctors who has been a huge help to us this week. With 12 years of private practice experience, she has been a big help to the new dentists from the Dominican Republic as well as to the Crown Council dentists by tackling things that are her specialty and her favorite. Thanks Dr. Coby for all of your help.

We were also joined today for the first time by Dominican dentist, Dr. Jonathan Nicolas. Jonathan just stepped off a U.S. Naval Hospital ship on Sunday where he has been working as a dentist in a different port every 6 days since April. Jonathan has also studied and practiced in Spain. His family maintains a very successful private practice in Santo Domingo, and his mother is the director of the dental school here in San Pedro.

Other highlights during the day were the numerous new smiles from patients who were obviously thrilled with their new dental work. It was fun to watch several patients who expected to only have a tooth filled or extracted when they understood that they were going to get a bridge. At one point, Dr. Dennis Wells attracted quite a crowd of nearly all the Dominican dentists as his patient turned into a teaching moment for all as they crowded around Dr. Wells for an explanation of what he was doing.

It was also amazing to watch the expertise of those like Dr. Tom Pekar and Dr. Ken Hovden who both did some difficult procedures for patients who were in dire need. It is not likely that these patients would have received or had access to this kind of care anywhere else.

You have never heard a more fun-filled treatment area until you have heard a song and dance by Dr. Charlie Schneider who favored some of his patients with a performance from time-to-time just to keep things interesting!

Just two of our remarkable team members this week:
Lance White who is the husband of Trish White on Dr. Pekar's team is a steel worker in Canada who has proven to be an invaluable engineer in our set up each day. Then he transforms himself into a great dental assistant. He's picking up on the dental lingo pretty fast and his always upbeat attitude has made the entire team smile throughout the day. Thanks Lance for making such a difference on our team.

High school biology teacher, Christal Duggar has very capably assisted Dr. David Dykes. The two make an unbeatable pair who are willing to take on any patient, no matter the difficulty. This team from Tennessee is picking up the Spanish language quickly and giving the locals a run for their money with their Tennessee accent twist!

In each village where we work, the local women are so kind to cook all of us lunch. Esperanza is careful to make sure everything is prepared safely. We ate lunch again today as we did yesterday in the home of one of the local families which gave us even more insight into the local culture.

And finally, our thanks to an essential member of our team. Without him/her we would have no drills or air. In fact, it would be impossible to do what we do each day. Perhaps he/she/it should be given a name? I'll leave that up to the Crown Council members everywhere to pick an appropriate name and post your comments on this blog! Let us hear from you.

Finally, Dr. Roy Hammond was surrounded this afternoon by many of his Dominican mentees. Dr. Roy is a great teacher with a huge heart. These students and dentists are so grateful for his generosity and sharing.

We look forward to another great work day again tomorrow. Stay tuned for more details.

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