This morning at Children’s Mercy Hospital, I was given the opportunity to present Grand Rounds to colleagues from many different specialties in medicine and dentistry. I shared the story of one of my patients from the day before. I had been to the MLS All-Star soccer game in Kansas City and the recording artist who sang the national anthem was remarkable. It was a unique rendition of a beautiful song and the artist sang it enthusiastically. It was one of those moments when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
It reminded me of one of my cleft lip and palate patients who wants to be a singer. From a very young age, she has dedicated her life to something she loved. She is committed to practicing and undergoing a considerable amount of medical treatment in developing her voice and speech. You see, patients born with cleft lip and palate have significant speech problems. Surgical repair of the palate, frequent earaches, dental problems, orthodontic treatment needs – these are all necessary to help this patient eat, speak, swallow and smile with confidence.
As I sat there listening to the beautiful voice belting out the national anthem I couldn’t help but think of this patient and two overarching themes came to mind:
1) Today’s medical care for patients with congenital birth defects requires the interaction of many specialists. I’m thankful for the specialists at Children’s Mercy and my opportunity to help as a member of the cleft palate and craniofacial teams. That was the topic of my presentation today, working together as a team and updating my colleagues on the advancements we’re making in orthodontics & dentofacial orthopedics to help patients like this achieve their dreams.
2) What are you so inspired by that you would commit your entire life to achieving? This patient of mine will be a professional singer, I can just sense it. I sense it by her enthusiasm, her dedication, positive attitude and inability to accept that something like a cleft lip and palate will ever keep her from achieving her goal. Too many of us stop at the first roadblock. We don’t get the promotion we were expecting, so we stop trying. We aren’t selected for the starting team, so we quit the team entirely. We don’t receive the attention we desire from an effort at work, school or society and so we tell ourselves “don’t do that again, never try that hard again.” I’m inspired by patients like the one in the story I shared at Grand Rounds today because she’s been given every possible opportunity in life to quit but she refuses. She marches on, doing what is required to achieve her goal. That is inspiring. This is truly a wonderful profession.
Make it a great day!
Dustin Burleson, DDS