I have been contemplating just how to best present this heartfelt testimonial since my first meeting with Dr. Halsema and her staff last week. I have decided that the best way to express my thoughts and feelings is to just be truthful, despite how painful and emotional it may be for me to do so. Although it may seem somewhat silly to some, this has been a very emotional and insightful experience for me….one of those God things. In fact, I think this experience with Dr. Halsema and her staff has blessed me with an opportunity for tremendous personal growth and healing.
I was referred to Dr. Halsema by my sister, Angela. I had been seeing the same dentist for many, many years. He was, and is, a wonderful man and I am grateful for the years that he tried to protect and support the dental health of me and my children. His office is about an hour and a half away from my home, which made scheduling and attending our appt rather challenging. And to be honest, with the financial situation I am currently in, I couldn’t afford to miss an entire day of work, or the gas it took to drive to his office. Therefore, I decided to follow my sister’s loving advice to meet with Dr. Halsema at least once before making a final decision.
I had my initial appt with Dr. Halsema on Wednesday, April 9 at 10am. I was not prepared for the treatment I was about to experience. I must begin by commenting on the beauty of the office. It is so welcoming and comfortable. I recall thinking I must have gone into the wrong door, as it certainly did not look like a dental office!
Then, in my moment of confusion, a most pleasant voice welcomed me and then went on to offer me a drink or a movie! I was certain at this moment that I had gone into the wrong office building. However, I was shocked to then be told that Dr. Halsema would see me shortly. The presence in that room was so peaceful, comforting and kind… not what one expects at a dental appt.
After I completed my new patient paperwork, I was greeted by a beautiful smiling face and walked back to the exquisitely decorated exam area. I then embarked on the most thorough dental exam I have EVER had. In fact, in my 38 years on this earth, I had never even come close to an exam such as this! I realized at that moment that I had never really had a full dental exam, despite seeing a dentist every 6 months faithfully for as long as I can remember. I have never felt more cared for, or experienced such compassion from a healthcare provider in my life. There wasn’t a single question left in my mind but that I was exactly where I was meant to be… and for so many reasons I had yet to discover.
Unfortunately I had some dental issues that needed attention, so I rescheduled my consultation (which I didn’t even know was an option in my dental care) for the following Monday. Upon my arrival on Monday, I met with Carol to discuss in detail, my dental health needs, as well as my options (which I again, didn’t even know I had!)
I was informed that my dental needs are much, much greater than I anticipated. I wasn’t at all prepared for the news I was given. I was terrified of the financial obligation. In fact, I was so unprepared that tears began to fill my eyes and blur my vision as I attempted to look at the photos on the computer in front of me. I was so embarrassed and afraid of being “discovered” in this vulnerable state. I tried with all of my will to hide the tears, and catch them before they fell onto the desktop and papers below. I made sure that I kept my voice clear and strong to avoid drawing attention to what was happening within me. After all, I have become a pro at this over the past few years, so I was certain I could “cover it all up” at a dental appt of all things…
I was unable to hide my emotions. Once my tears began to fall, I was unable to stop them. In fact, I experienced such an overwhelming outpouring of emotions that it became very apparent that all of the pain, fear and sadness that I had tucked away and hidden for the past few years, was coming out despite my wishes, and with no regard for my embarrassment. Despite Carol’s likely confusion and alarm, she responded with compassion, empathy and grace. She didn’t appear to be rattled in the least. I can’t recall what I said at this time, but I remember the feelings well. Dr. Halsema was invited in to discuss my dental issues and options as well. I don’t think I have ever felt such unbridled understanding. I wasn’t able to verbalize all of the emotions I felt, but I had a tremendous sense that everything was going to be ok… and in so many ways far beyond my dental health and financial fears.
Despite my gut wrenching concerns about the financial obligation that accompanies the dental work I need, I made my next two appts. in order to protect my dental health.
I returned to Dr. Halsema’s office this week to begin the process. What happened next nearly took my breath away… Upon my arrival at the office, I was again greeted like a Princess entering her castle. When I was walked to the exam room, I was offered a blanket, a pillow, a movie or music of my choice, a chair massage and heater, eyeglasses to block out the sunlight, and anything else I needed in order to be comfortable. Once the work began, I was consistently asked by Dr. Halsema and her staff if I was ok and comfortable! At first I wondered if this was special treatment I was receiving as a result of my “mini-meltdown” last week. I quickly learned that this had nothing to do with me, but rather it is actually “THE NORM” for the treatment that ALL patients receive at Dr. Halsema’s office!!!
My dental work was absolutely painless. In fact I must admit that it was actually such a comforting experience that I even fell asleep as I was having a filling repaired! SHOCKING! I have a hard time falling asleep in my own bed!
With a lot of reflection on this experience, I have learned a great deal about myself. I have learned that being fragile and afraid, and a little vulnerable is ok~~~ I have learned that it is ok to cry, even if it doesn’t fit perfectly into my schedule~~~ I have learned that women are very gracious, insightful and loving people~~~ I have learned that it is ok to take care of myself first~~~ I have learned that being a single mother of 2 boys IS stressful and scary, and that it is ok for ME be pampered once in a while (even if it only happens at my dentist’s office!).
Finally, I have learned that the recent tragedies in the lives of me and my children are not unique, and that even strangers can embrace us and we WILL be ok.
Thank you Dr. Halsema and staff, for reminding me that I need to take better care of myself… because I am worth it, and that it really is ok to cry… even in front of your dentist!
With Sincerity and Appreciation,