How to Become an International Hero

    A Dental Pro's Reflection

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    Dental Tourism is on the rise, and wherever a Dental Tourist travels for treatment, there will be opportunities for him/her to become a hero.

    When we think of heroes, we usually think of Soldiers, Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters or other first responders.  People also seem to look up especially high to Astronauts, Explorers, and oddly, movie stars –for the characters they portray. But ask any kid and you will find that their heroes are often just every day Mothers and Fathers, Aunts and Uncles, Grandmothers and Grandfathers, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, and Teachers.

    Anyone could become a hero, just by doing the right thing at the right moment.
    Community heroes

    So, what is driving today’s essay? Well, travel can be tough. And as tough as it is for we adults, kids have their own anxieties, and not as comprehensive an understanding of the stressful things involved in getting from one place to another…traffic, security, and other processing lines along the way: ticket counters, check-in stations, and hotel and car rental reception centers. Strange sights, smells and sounds can set some people off, regardless of how little those things affect the average person.

    But the toughest part of traveling for many (especially children) is often the ascending and descending airplane where pressurization takes place, and where peoples’ heads feel like they may explode.  And here is where you can become a hero.  Gum and lifesavers help people generate saliva which helps them swallow, and this can prevent too much pressure from developing in a person’s ears, or help reduce it quickly.  So, pack some Lifesavers and gum in your carry-on bag, and you can pass these little gems around to any kids (or well-behaved adults) that are sitting in your section of the airplane.  Do not be surprised if someone calls you a hero for doing so!

    Next up is the airline/transportation personnel. These people deal with thousands of stressed-out travelers each day.  It can be taxing on them, and on you too as often attitudes get skewed as the day wears on – and usually not for the better. Your handy-dandy Lifesavers may help, but they may not.  What will work is cash.  People love cash…and the more the better.  While it would not be appropriate/legal to offer any greenbacks to the Gate Agents, Police or TSA Agents, it sure does work well with Sky Caps and other people who help handle your luggage.  Taxi Drivers seem to be very receptive to it too!!

    Do you want to be a hero?  Find a sad looking hard worker, and ask him/her what would change their day for the better.  If they say cash, give them some.  If they say anything else, reply – I cannot help you with that as I am traveling, but here is some cash that will help you deal with that.  Bingo.  You will have done your deed.  You may not be called a hero, but you will feel like one…and you will be one.  The more you give and the less you mention it to others, the bigger the hero you will be as the distinction is in the act of kindness, not in the praise for the good deed being done.

    Now, it is time to up the antagonist attitude. You are about to enter your Dental Clinic.  It has been a long trip…the taxi, the airport and its security personnel, the plane, and the other taxi…but you made it safe and sound and the show is about to begin.  You walk in and introduce yourself to the Receptionists and Local Patient Coordinator…and drop on their desk the delicious box of chocolates you bought for them!  Bingo!  You just made their day for sure.  This will pretty much ensure 1st Class treatment from the support personnel from that point forward.  Working in a dental office, and dealing with people who are in pain and misery can be challenging and even depressing at times, but not when there is chocolate present!  You, my friend, have just become a hero!!

    In everyday life, you might unexpected heroes at any time when required.
    Everyday heroes banner

    Now, you have completed your treatment.  It has been a long week or two, but you are done, and your teeth, smile, and life will be the better for it. The rewards will be in your smiles to your family, friends, and co-workers.  It was money and time well spent and you now understand why Dental Tourists speak so highly of their chosen overseas Dentist, and why they often swear they will never go to another Dentist in the United States again. Smiles make the world a better place and even though you paid fair money for the dental work, you can now go the extra mile and become a hero.  Give your Dentist some feedback.  Sure, you can give the fluff…great job, I love the work, I am so happy I came, but you can do better than that.  You can give some free advice…the advice that most people will not give.

    Something like “Hey Doc, you have a mighty impressive Clinic and I am one happy camper with your treatment and care, but do you know what would have been even better…if I had a TV to watch, or a computer to use, or a particular magazine to read, or a more comfortable chair in the lounge, or a better recovery room for when I woke up after surgery…any little tidbits that may help them improve their business and make their future Patients happier.  Yes, you will be an unsung hero, one of few because most people do not give constructive criticism.  Your Dentist will be grateful, at the minimum, and will treat you with even more golden gloves next time around.  From that point forward, you will be treated like a hero at that Clinic.

    You are now back at your hotel and getting ready to leave.  It has been tough; extractions, root canals, dental implants, a full mouth restoration…whatever you had done…in the dental world everything is tough!  But you made it thru as we all do, and now you are about to leave your last mark on the country and its people.  As you do, please keep in mind most of these people do not earn Doctor’s wages…in fact, the reason your trip and dental care was so affordable is that most people in the country earn less than your home country’s minimum wage…even many of the older, experienced professionals you encounter.

    No one works harder than laborers.  Hotel maids, gardeners, laundry staff, and bellhops.  Tip well.  I suggest waiting until the very end of your trip so you can better size up who gets the hero treatment.  Ask around and try to determine who really needs help.  Everyone can use a little bonus, but some can use it more than others…those are the ones that will help you gain hero status.  Rest comfortably that next time you come back for more dental care or to complete the Treatment Plan you have started, you will be remembered, and treated like the hero that you are.

    Lastly, you want to make sure you consecrate your good deeds.  Write or video a testimonial for your Dentist and the Clinic you visited.  Tell the world about your great Dentist, his/her staff and the other Doctors, Assistants, and Lab Technicians who worked on your case.  Sing the praises that are due, and let your countrymen/women know they are not completely nuts considering going overseas for care.  Show them the decent, classy type of individuals who travel overseas for care.  People like you; a hero.

    This last act not only reinforces your Dentist’s positive thoughts of you, you will likely affect the decisions of people who cannot afford good, quality dental care locally.  You may become a hero to many others, even though you will never hear from them. But usually, that is the best –when you become a silent hero.  You will know it, and so will the Powers that be.  Pulling people from burning buildings, smashed cars, and harrowing situations is great -and of course, trumps most acts when discussing heroism; but do not undervalue the aggregate contributions to humanity from well-meaning Dental Tourists and other people who do small kind acts of kindness around the globe.

    If you like this article, please do not send me cash.  Please send it to your favorite charity.  And then let me know at [email protected].

    By: Howard Stiegler – Dental Specialist

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