Please Know...

As I come to know the men and women of Kensington, specifically the homeless and addicted, their stories become increasingly sensitive and personal. Their collective story is what I am trying to share with you as my way of breaking the stereotypical beliefs that exist in regard to these fine people. Names are rarely their actual names and wherever I can do so, I might use the opposite pronoun (his/her, etc.) just to help increase their privacy.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Elli and her Dentist

John Jack was proud of his associate's degree with which he served the people of his community as an assistant to a dental hygienist for over 10 years.  After thinking about it for a long time, he entered dental school and graduated somewhere between the top and the bottom ranking of his class.  He remained proud of his associate's degree and wanted to retain a remembrance of those days in his title on business cards and on the sign on his new office door.

Here begins the true story of



Elli had been living on the streets of Kensington, addicted and homeless for over a year.  She knew days of little food and sleep and a never-ending run of humiliating and potentially dangerous 'dates.'  She got to the point within her soul where she decided enough was enough.  With a great deal of effort, she managed to get into a detox and rehab program and was doing great, great beyond her and her loved one's expectations.

Once out of rehab, with a counselor's guidance, she set a course for further recovering of her life's goals which now included a very real knowledge of her LORD's love for her and deep commitment to Jesus as her personal LORD and Savior.

One of her first physical goals selected for achievement was to tend to her dental issues.[1]  She made an appointment with a local dentist who had just opened his own office near her home.

Following a thorough exam, Dr. Jack Ass., DDS advised Elli that the best course of action was to remove all of her remaining teeth and create a full set of dentures.  Elli was saddened about this but agreed that in this time of starting over with her life, completely new teeth fit that theme.

As a newly opened dental practice, Dr. Jack Ass., DDS's schedule was far less than full.  Elli had not eaten anything since the night before and agreed to have her teeth removed right then and there.  The procedure went well and the pain which followed was horrendous - for Elli that is… Dr. Jack Ass., DDS didn't feel a thing.

In an obvious violation of his dental Hippocratic oath[2], a version of which I, the author of this blog could find, Dr. Jack Ass., DDS provided an opioid-based pain reliever to Elli. 


Elli is back on the streets, 

using, 

dating, 

crying,  - NO, -  wailing in my arms two nights ago in agony that consumes the depths of her soul, over the loss of her fight for sobriety and the apparent need to 'date' in the sight of her LORD and Savior so as to provide funding for an addiction that she beat and that Dr. Jack Ass., DDS ignorantly pushed her back into once again.




[1] Addiction and street life really do a lot of damage to teeth and gums. 
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
·         I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those dental professionals in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
·         I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
·         I will remember that there is art to dentistry as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
·         I will not be ashamed to say “I know not”; nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s well being.
·         I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humility and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
·         I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart or a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems if I am to care adequately for the sick.
·         I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
·         I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
·         If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live a re-membered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.

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