You Never Know What’s Going On Inside Someone’s Head, And You Never Know What’s Around The Corner

When I present treatment to my patients I always present it as diagnosed, without ever assuming whether the patient will want the treatment, accept the treatment, or be able to pay for the treatment.

Because I can’t tell from the outside what’s going on on the inside… of the patient.

I’m not Nostradamus.

I’m not a mind reader or a fortuneteller.

So I do not make assumptions or generalisations…

You see I’ve been “reflecting” today.

About myself.

On the outside I look alright.

I look healthy.

I mean, I don’t look unwell.

But who knows what’s going on in me on the inside?

You never know….

This week I’m seeing the hand doctor, the shoulder doctor and the gastroenterologist.

And so it has me wondering about a couple of things.

Firstly, I’m wondering, if you’re going to be having an endoscopy and a colonoscopy on the same morning do they use the same camera?

And which one do they do first?

To me that’s an important piece of information to know.

It’s peace of mind.

More importantly, with all these medical inspections of my body but especially with the gastroenterologist, it raised the point that looking from the outside, nobody really knows what’s going on the inside of you, do they?


And this raises another question…

What would you do if you found out that you were terminally ill?

You see, nobody really knows what’s around the corner, do they?

Life is about moments.

And it’s about living those moments, isn’t it?

We all remember special moments in our lives, and special events.

But do you remember these special events?
Do you remember where you were when you heard that John Lennon had been shot?

Where were you when you heard about the death of Princess Dianna?

And of course more recently, where were you when you found out about the planes hitting the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre?

Life really is about moments.

All sorts of moments…

And you never know what’s going on inside someone’s body.

Just like you never really know what’s going on inside someone’s head either?

Two of my best friends died [separately] in their early sixties after being touched on the shoulder by the Cancer Fairy.

One was given four months notice, the other was given less than three weeks.

Both had not planned to leave the earth so early.

Though one of them had retired earlier to at least enjoy a few years without the daily grind of work.

The thing is, death was not on their radars when it came knocking.

But who’s to know?

We never know what is around the corner.

And we never know what’s going on inside someone’s body, or their head for that matter.

So it’s wrong then to make assumptions.

When I talk to someone, I always try to find out about them before I begin a conversation with them.

Because you never know.

When I present treatment to my patients I always present it as diagnosed, without ever assuming whether the patient will want the treatment, accept the treatment, or be able to pay for the treatment.

Because I can’t tell from the outside what’s going on on the inside.

I don’t know whether they value their oral health and will accept treatment?

I don’t know whether they want to keep their teeth no matter what or whether their Nan and Pop managed just fine with no teeth for fifty years?

And I don’t know whether their teeth are so important to them that they’re happy to pay whatever it takes to keep their teeth in the best possible state that they can?

So I never assume.

And I never generalise.

I simply present the facts and help the patient understand what’s best for them.

I don’t believe in letting the patient choose an option because that’s called passing the buck.

Allowing an uneducated person to decide makes no sense to me.

After all, dentistry is a long degree and it’s a lifetime of continuous learning for us, as dentists.

How would an uneducated patient lay person really know what’s best for them?

If you had a hole in your roof and it was raining cats and dogs outside would you want the roofer to tell you all about your options such as a plastic tarp, or a canvas tarp, and how long they’ll each last, or would you rather he simply tell you what you need and then go ahead and fix it properly first time?

Do you want to know about patching?

Or do you want your roof fixed properly?

If your tyres on your car a worn and bald, do you want your tyre guy to tell you that you might get another few hundred miles on them, or would you rather he let you know about the best tyres he’s got that will keep your children safe when you need to pull up quickly on a wet road?

Do you want him to tell you he’s going to “watch” your tyres?

Or would you rather he fix them now before they blow out and kill someone?

A patient once told me a long time ago:

“What are you giving me all these options for? You’re the one wearing the white coat. Tell me what’s best and I’ll do it….”

And it was pretty good advice….


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