Dental Problems – to Fix or not to Fix
We had a colon cancer patient come in who previously had a colostomy and then a take-down (reversal) of the colostomy before coming to clinic. It was while in clinic during an assessment that significant dental problems were found. The patient went to the dentist but declined to have the dental work completed, stating he would attend to it later. He left the clinic on a Friday to soon go to Colorado for elk hunting. A very vital man!
The following Monday a woman came to start her colon cancer care therapy. These were back to back colon cancer patients. This woman currently had two ostomies, a colostomy and an ileostomy. Plus, her midline surgical incision had broken open. She was extremely depleted and desired to only lay down for her IV therapies. She also had significant dental problems and subsequently had many teeth extracted by the dentist. She then eventually finished up at clinic and went home.
Jump forward 5 or 6 months and the wife of the man who went elk hunting called up the clinic one day with some questions. During the discussion it was relayed that he was not doing well and was in hospice. Elk hunting earlier! Well the following week the husband of the woman with double ostomies called up and we found out that she was fine, some problems with the broken open surgical wound but nothing too extreme.
What a dramatic difference! A very vital man does not get his dental work done and gets into trouble. A very exhausted woman gets her dental work done and she does well even though she is depleted. Therefore it is difficult to do statistics in a small clinic like Dayspring as the changes are so great from something as innocuous as getting dental work done or not.
So how important is it to get dental work done? In these two cases, it appears that it was very significant. A matter of life or death.
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