It’s Sunday night and for the first time I do not have this feeling of nausea which has accompanied me to work every Monday morning for decades. Why has this feeling suddenly disappeared? Musing over my Sunday state of well being I rationalized that since it was not the beginning of the weekend that upset me, work must be the culprit. In analyzing further, I remembered the feelings that overwhelmed me began after completing the anaesthesia program with the late Dr. R.S. Locke. To move from the safety of a teaching environment, with abundant support and safety nets, to your own office, alone, was unnerving. Even as my skill increased I realized being alone was just too stressful — a group, I thought, was the answer. A group that could be called upon in an anaesthetic emergency, as well as to brainstorm cases with, seemed to be the answer.
While the daily struggle began to ease, new problems surfaced. As the patient load increased, so did the difficulty of the dentistry, for this was a needy cohort. Many times other specialties were needed in order to complete the complex treatment plans. Prosthodontic input was always lacking–not that there were no prosthodontists available but for whatever reason I did not understand their central role in oral rehabilitation. I attended many short courses but was unable to separate the wheat from the chafe. My solution was to return to study prosthodontics with Dr. George Zarb.
Returning to practice with the combined specialties of anaesthesia and prosthodontics only deepened my Sunday Blues. I must be a slow learner because it is just recently that I realized it is again my group that has eased my practice fears. No, not the group within my office, but the group of specialists that I refer to daily. It has taken more than a quarter of a century to gather this cadre of experts around me and I still consider it a work in progress. I treasure them, respect them, and together we support each other to lessen the daunting task of rehabilitative dentistry.
In prosthodontics, the laboratory is the quintessential player but to finally begin work on a set of mounted models requires the input of many specialties. Yes, it is time consuming to co-ordinate appointments, write letters, and attend meetings and yes, and you will not increase your bottom line as most practice management gurus will be quick to point out. But you will surely cure those Sunday Blues.