Nabeesa, a 35 year old lady walked into the department of Prosthodontics with the intention getting a full set teeth before her daughter's marriage which is to be held after 20 days. As a final year student posted in that department I was allotted the case.
Prosthodontics posting was my final posting and we have to finish one complete denture (CD the full set teeth) and two removable partial dentures (RPDs for those who don't know, they are replacement of missing teeth which can be taken out by the patient only.) We are supposed to do the RPDs in third year but I didn't get any case neither was I very keen on taking cases in third year.
With a friend's help I did manage to get one RPD case and another I got from the department only. But the CD case was a problem. It was not easy to get such patients from outside and these patients have to come at least 6 times for different steps. And in most of our cases they have to come more than that as it is very difficult to get it right the first time. And in any stage if the patient decides not to come back we are screwed! Without the completion of work no chance of writing the exam. So it was with all these fears in my mind I took the case file from the staff.
The first question Nabeesa asked was whether I can finish the work in 20 days. Never before it was done. Finishing a CD in 20 days and I said I'll try my best without thinking twice. She must have taken it as a yes. Anyways I decided to give it my best shot. Everything seemed to be in my favor initially. Patient needs it more than me and she from nearby only so transportation won't be an issue. So with full josh I started the case determined to give the dentures within 15 days.
As days passed by I realized it was a futile dream. The making of complete denture has different steps and as I said before it is difficult to it right in the first attempt. I did not get it right in the first or second or even in the fifth attempt. It was so frustrating and not once did the patient or her son loose their patience with me.
After around ten days it I was convinced it was beyond my abilities to finish the work in 20 days, to give the denture in time for her daughter's marriage.
The next time she came with her son, I went and told him my helplessness. With him I went and told her about the situation. I never understood what went through her mind then. All she said was ok. I was relieved at first but a sense of failure took hold of me later on. After some days her husband also came and asked if there is anyway I could do it. I already did everything possible. She was willing to come on the previous day of the marriage. And in spite of everything her son invited me for the marriage also. I really didn't how to react to that. I lost my interest to do the work only after that. It was my father who then made me realize not everything is in our control and many a times you won't be able to keep your promises. The earlier I learn the better.
It took me another 20 more days to complete it and give the finished dentures to her. Even after the marriage not once she missed the appointment and never complained about the time I took.
I was done with my quotas and was able to write the exam. For our university practical exam we have to do one step in the making of the dentures and we need to bring our own patient. I asked her if she can come for two days as a friend of mine also needed to get a patient. She was totally willing.
In between during my study holidays she came with her son for some treatment and she called me. She was having some sort of ulcer in her mouth and wanted to me to take a look. I was wearing casuals and so under no circumstances could enter the department. I told her I can arrange some one else to look but she doesn't want anyone else to check but me. The feeling I had at that very moment was beyond words. A patient was insisting on seeing me only! Finally I gave some medicines and sent her as I couldn't do anything else.
Theory exams got over. Practicals exams were conducted in two days. I was having it on the second day and my friend had it on the first day. Nabeesa came right on time as always. Exam went smoothly and finally when my friend tried to give her some money for the traveling expense she refused. (This is when many other patients were demanding money. Some even refused to open their mouth before getting some money.)
Second day morning; day of my final year practical exam. She called in the morning and told me about the demise of her father. I was at loss for words as like the previous times. All I could manage was 'Ok so you cant come?'
It was university exam and Prosthodontics is one department where you can't find a suitable patient on the day of exam. Previous preparations are needed.
Her answer literally gave me a shock. She called not to tell she won't come but to ask if its possible to go early.
She came on time and with the help of the staff I could let her go early. I went to auto stand with her and made sure she did not loose any more time. I called an auto, paid and stood there till she left. That was the least I could do.
I cleared the exam and became an intern. I am truly indebted to Nabeesa for my prosthodontics paper. She was indeed an angel and Am sure she is doing good.
After that I called her husband once or twice, promised him I'll visit their home soon but never did and I lost contact with them.
After all life is nothing but a bunch of empty promises and unpaid debts.. But she is the patient I will never forget. My gratitude won't be complete even if I write an epic for her.
Thank you for proving that the world is not a very bad place and miracles do happen.