I Was There...

I Was There….

Last week I met a Peruvian Woman in a small village near Cusco, Peru. She was in her 80s which is old for her culture. Her clothes were dirty and worn. Her hair was strewn in small tangled wisps above her head. Her skin was weathered, dirty, and dry. It appeared as though she was in her final days. Her face was swollen from a lower, infected tooth. This was a poor woman, and life and time has taken its toll on her body. This tooth had ravaged her for weeks and brought this proud woman to our makeshift dental clinic. She was in pain, unyielding pain. Our dental hygienist anesthetized her with several injections of local anesthetic, and we waited for the drug to take effect. She never made eye contact with any of us. She just sat there quietly and waited. We waited. The tooth was mobile but had some attachment and most of her teeth were already removed. When I applied a forecep to the tooth, she winced, so I stopped and waited some more. More anesthesia was given and we waited again. The tooth never was completely numb, but I knew that if I didn’t remove it now she might never get another chance.

After the extraction, we moved her to a small seating area, where she sat alone and cried softly. I had hurt her…and I felt miserable. In these clinics we move on to other patients quickly, so I did and started another procedure. Soon, one of the interpreters interrupted me and said the old woman wanted to see me. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, when we met, she reached out with her arms and wrapped them around me and hugged. This was not just a hug. It was her way of thanking me, and it was deep and powerful. I cried a little. This was pure love and appreciation. It was wonderful.

As dentists we are seldom appreciated; but we, in a matter of minutes, we can eliminate the pain in a tooth and make a person’s life better, more comfortable. This is a wonderful gift…use it and feel good.

- Dr. Jules T. Frere, DDS, Wings World Wide – The Air Medical Foundation

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Medicine: Arm-In-Arm, Inc.


Volunteers needed for trip to South Africa 11 March - 18 March 2017 for a Clinical Restoration Project for the Zulu children. A trip to South Africa in the fall of 2017 is being planned. Details will be available soon.

For additional information visit www.medarminarm.org or contact Dorothy Steinert dlsteinert@aol.com