Friday, December 15, 2006

The Effect of Dr.V.

Would you cry if your dentist died? You probably would if your dentist had been Dr.V.

A few years ago I decided that I was fed up with my dentist. His fancy office in a downtown high-rise surely was being subsidized in part by my outrageous bills, which my insurance company labeled "excessive". Everybody who worked in his toxic office flashed huge, blinding white smiles as if to advertise their product.

So I asked around. Surely one of my alternative-type acquaintances would know of a good dentist.

And my babysitter suggested Dr.V. He was a holistic, non-toxic dentist who sounded too good to be true.

His office was modest. His appearance was disarming- he could have been a model. During my first visit, Dr.V. himself cleaned my teeth, very painstakingly, I might add. Has your dentist ever cleaned your teeth? I don't know why he did it. Was that just his procedure for first-time patients?

Unlike Dr. Toxic, Dr. V. did not believe in excessive dental X-rays. He did not spin stories of how "you get more radiation from a day of sunlight than from one measly dental X-ray." He simply did not X-ray unless there was a clear reason.

The last time I saw Dr.V., he took a long time to explain the fine points of brushing and flossing. Afterwards, as if to not want to have been offensive, he said, "I told you all that because you seemed interested."

Soon afterwards I received a letter in the mail from Dr.V. He reported that he had decided to sell his practice because he really wanted to teach dentistry at the local university. I was devastated.

Yesterday I received a letter from my current dentist who had bought the practice from Dr.V. It relayed the very sad news that Dr.V had died suddenly.

Immediately I thought of a fact I had come across about dentists having a very high suicide rate. Certainly Dr.V. had seemed unusual......but suicidal? Hard to imagine.

The internet provided many missing pieces to the puzzle of Dr.V. The only obituary I could find was in a Catholic Church newsletter which explained that the 48-year-old athletic Dr.V had collapsed during his weekly raquetball game. Apparently his heart gave out, and attempts to revive him were futile. He left behind a wife and 5 children, and there was a request for contributions to a charity which he had devoted himself to- a Catholic agency which helped people living in inner city neighborhoods.

I found it interesting that this alternative, holistic dentist who didn't believe in casual X-rays had also been Catholic, and that shortly before his death he had made a major life change, switching from practicing dentistry to teaching, his true calling. I was lucky to have encountered him before that switch. In reality, he was already teaching when he was a dentist, I realize as I recall his very lengthy, detailed explanation of proper brushing and flossing technique.

Our automatic reaction to such a death is horror that such a good man died so young. But after thinking about it, I have instead been able to focus on the probability that here's a man who was able to die without regrets, having aligned his life with his beliefs and passions, with his true nature and purpose.

21 comments:

Kacey said...

Hi Betty ---nice post ---will you share him with me? I want all the things I never had. Teeth that do not need to be held together with temporary fixes and shiny whites---but they get you coming and going. And,--- I am going too fast to spend dough on teeth.

Hey, did you know that Teri's birthday , wedding anniversary and Christmas are all in the same week? Wish her a happy hat trick --- I think it is the week before Christmas ---she said that last year and I stored it away in my sieve of a brain. Imagine getting married on your birthday!

Desiree said...

Wow you are so right! It really is a wonderful thing that he followed his calling and fulfilled his dreams! It's so sad to think of the people who have died never knowing or doing that!

I'm sure he would be very proud if he could read this post!

Betty said...

Hi Kacey- Thanks for that inside info on Teri. It does sound overwhelming!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Hi Desiree- And he even made a major career change to follow his calling! That's something you don't see every day. Maybe on some level he sensed that his time here would be short, and he acted accordingly.

Hugs,
Betty

Lisa said...

Betty, that is so sad. I'm assuming that this just happened, and I feel bad for his family, being that it's Christmas time and all. How nice that you realize how lucky you were to know him--this was a sweet post, almost like a little eulogy.

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Hi Lisa,
Yes, it just happened. There's never a good time for something like this, but you're right about how unfortunate the timing is for his family.

Hugs,
Betty

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...I love that you made it around your grief and sadness to realize that this man went while doing something he loved. Not only at the time but also in his career and life in general.

Also, I see that Kacey has been broadcasting my hat trick. She is such a love.

Take care chica...your heart is truly wonderful.

Betty said...

Thank you, Teri. Today I posted again, not knowing what else to do in light of what I found out today. My blog is becoming a series of eulogies, although I do not know if Charles is still living. Even if he's not gone yet, it's time for me to try to deal with it. This one's going to be rough.

Hugs,
Betty

Anonymous said...

The anonymous statement of the person who would not enter their name is totally untrue. Betty, I question your acceptance of that statement that is listed on the "anonymous" item. Roger was a great father,a great husband, a great brother, and a great son! He never suffered any deblitating, cycling type of severe depression. Depression was never somthing he had to deal with. Only the individual who wrote the anonymous report seems to have a "problem". What is his email? If he would like to talk to me please let him contact me. This is Dr V.'s father.

Betty said...

To anonymous:

I have deleted the comment you found offensive. I have no way of finding out the email address of that person.

Perhaps if he/she sees this, he/she will offer an email address for you.

All I know of Dr. V. is that he was a truly exceptional man, and we all seem to agree on that.

Betty

Anonymous said...

We still miss him.

Dave said...

Heyyyyy, he was a hard one to forget wasn't he? Liked to help everyone, a good guy. RIP Rog.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Roger!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Veith, we all miss you! You were a very special guy and will never be forgotten. -- some former patients

JP said...

Wow, Veith sure had some sort of following! :) Miss you too Veith. Why did yu have to leave us so soon?

Anonymous said...

Miss you. Never to be forgotten...

Nancee said...

My name is Nancee. I just heard today about Dr. Veith. I can't believe this! I am devastated! Dr. Veith was a truly awesome man! I had the honor of being his office manager in the 90's in Loveland, Ohio. I guess it's true what they say...."only the good die young". I absolutely loved this man! There is noone who ever compared to him. I am now self-employed because he set the bar so high as an employer that noone could ever come close! RIP Dr. Veith. I will miss you more than you will ever know!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Veith, I wish we could talk again one more time. I know you're happy in heaven though...

Anonymous said...

滿..................................................

Anonymous said...

Dr. Veith was awesome, both as a dentist and a human being.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Veith, we still think about you from time to time. :)