Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Root Canals and Uncertainty

I squint into the bright light and Dr. Diaz quickly adjusts it. "Sorry about that" she tells me in perfect English and then instructs me to open my mouth. Today she's working on three cavities and a root canal and I brace myself for a long appointment. At the angle I'm sitting I can still look through a top window, so for some distraction I watch the angry swirling clouds. The somber weather matches the mood of the city. Today election results will be announced and the whole city is on edge. On the drive to the office I noticed the roads were unusually empty, the people that were on the streets weren't smiling and a burnt out carcass of a car sat still smoking in front of a school.
"Can you lean slightly towards me?" Dr. Diaz breaks into my reverie and I'm quick to oblige. From this angle I can watch her work and I'm impressed with her skills. With my soft teeth, I've made numerous trips to the dentist office in my life and I'm very thankful I've found a good dentist here in Haiti.
When my teeth started to hurt again several months ago I was really at a loss to what to do. My last dental appointment had been in May in Chilliwack and I was hoping that would be enough to last me till next summer when we hoped to visit Chilliwack again, but when my teeth progressively became more painful, I had to come up with another alternative. With no yellow pages or advertisement, all I could do was ask around. "Dr. Paola Diaz from the Dominican is a great dentist," someone finally told me and wrote down her email address for me. Once I had sent her a message she was quick to reply and when I told her about my "no car" dilemma she even offered to pick me up, which was very nice of her! My first appointment had been two weeks ago and visiting her office had been a pleasant surprise.
The walls looked freshly painted and everything looked clean, neat and tastefully decorated.

Inside the exam room, all her dental equipment looked modern and well taken care of.

The only bad part of the visit was, when after taking X-rays and carefully examining my teeth teeth she gave me the news that I had 5 cavities and a root canal.
Since she had already fixed several of the cavities on the first appointment, she promised to finish all the rest, including the root canal today. As she worked I enjoyed listening to her speak in multiple languages. To her dental assistant Marie, she spoke a mix of French and Creole, English to me, and then later a phone call in Spanish. Two and a half hours later, I was sure thankful when she told me she was done and my teeth were fixed again! Gathering my purse, I couldn't help but overhear one patient after another canceling their appointments. "Everyone is afraid about the people's responses to the election results so they don't dare to go out on the streets," Dr. Diaz tells me. Maybe I shouldn't have come, I think to myself, and am relieved when I'm safely home again. Walking in the house I'm glad to see Jayden nicely eating a snack in his high chair and to hear a good report from Denise. "I even counted in English and played hide and seek with him," Denise tells me proudly and I can't help but smile. Hide and seek is currently Jayden's favorite game and Denise has become quite familiar with me counting in the kitchen and then searching all over the house pretending I can't see or hear where he's hiding. "Mesi anpil Denise!" (Thanks a lot!) I tell her and then seeing it's almost 1:00 I quickly get to work getting ready for our Tuesday afternoon Bible Study. When I take a moment to check my email I find out that since school has been canceled for the kids, the Bible Study is canceled as well. There's also conflicting emails about what time the results will be announced and what to expect regarding demonstrations. Oh Haiti, I sigh, as I stare at the computer screen. What next?


  1. wow, what a nice clinic! I totally didn't expect to see pictures like that!! Glad there was someone out there who could take care of you!
    Praying also that the unrest dies down and that you are all safe out there. Miss you guys ALOT!!!


  2. Very nice office! We are praying that things over there settle down.
    Give Jayden a big bear hug, and
    say "hi" to Denise from me :)
    Tais and Kaelie would love to play hide and seek with Jayden!