Board Certified Periodontist

Benjamin Young’s Thoughts About Life

Hi, Dr. Ben Young here and you are listening to the Perio Patient Podcast, a podcast for an exclusive elite, namely my patients, past, present and yes possibly future who are listening to this trying to figure out if they should come see me, and of course, anyone else who cares to listen. I practice in the beautiful city of San Antonio in the great state of Texas and I live nearby, but that location can drift a bit since I am a full-time Airstream Occupant. 

My Airstream is 25 feet long and is called a Flying Cloud. Airstreams have certain internal designs, color patterns and cabinetry and mine is fits my personality and also personal taste in not hitting my head on upper cabinet doors so mine flip up and out of the way. It’s a great size for one, but add another, and unless you are just going on little trips, not living in the thing, I suggest you look for one slightly bigger. Now one of the ways I operate right now, having moved years ago from apartment living is I have some storage upstairs in my office. This means I can come and go with casual attire and change into scrubs or church closed as needed at the office.  

So how did this come about, me living in an Airstream? Well, following a divorce a number of years ago now, I was living in an apartment located right across the street from my office, which meant I had the luxury for a number of years of walking to work. Over time, however, I could see that simply walking back and forth to work, even though this reminded me of life back in college days when I lived in a dorm, was going to become a bit stifling. My parents were full time RVrs for thirteen years and my family as I was growing up had a motor home – nothing like the huge ones on the road today. It was called an Open Road, and we took vacations in it – a family of six – to adults and four kids. So when I thought about new hobbies and adventures for myself it was like an easy move toward the Airstream. Now I have weekends where I join up with others at local Airstream rallies – which enables me to have reasons to hook up and move around. This I think keeps my equipment well managed and repaired. Recently I changed out my tires which is important and has not as much to do with mileage as it does with sun baking. It can be quite destructive to have a blow-out to the underside of the trailer as well the wheel and axel. But all of this is part of life and adventure and I think we all need these sorts of things in our lives to keep up active and enjoying life.  

So earlier today I had a meeting with my two good friends at The Social Being, Veronica and Megan, and we were looking at my website, which includes elements around this podcast. We found that some subjects have more interest when it comes to listening to the podcast than others. So it was suggested that I try putting in words that are strong on search engines and just see if this increased listening activity. A lot because of their hard work and expertise, my name turns out to be a strong search word (I know it’s two words, but neither Benjamin or Young work well alone as search elements for me) so I decided to put my name into the title in order to see what happens. I’ll let you know later what happens.  

Which brings up something else I want to thank many of you for – and that is your reviews on Google and other platforms – even on my website. I really appreciate this. Your words have been very kind and I really appreciate everything you have said or written. I truly am very blessed to have so many wonderful patients. And as you certainly know, in this technology-driven commercial world, online searches in many ways are the life blood of business – especially small businesses. Thank you so much.  

Changing subjects again. 

Yesterday, I learned that the insurance coverage for one of my patients was denied for intravenous sedation because I extracted only four teeth. Had I extracted five teeth, then it would have been covered. Go back and listen to my earlier podcasts about insurance and let me remind you that the best way to deal with this sort of insurance arbitrary strangeness is for you the insurance customer, or an employee of the company who is the insurance company’s customer to activate and make some calls. I have never heard of such a clause before, but it shows a certain level of creativity that you have to admire for being clever. Think of how much money the insurance company can deny in payouts to customers if the extraction of four teeth is not covered but five is. Usually people have four wisdom teeth to extract, not five. And what is the reason for this medically? Is the removal of four teeth easy and five not? I can tell you that I sedate for extractions because the local anesthetic – which we always use for extractions – sometimes does not completely block extraction discomfort – some from pressures, some from just the thought of having a tooth removed and some from infections that reduce the effectiveness of the local anesthetic – I talk more about anesthetics and sedation in other podcasts as well. 

New topic. This is number four (I think) if you’re counting.  

Weekly I get a call from my older brother. It comes between 5 and 5:30 on a Sunday evening. Its purpose is to talk with mom.  

She’s 96 and lives with my brother and sister-in-law. They take great care of her. We don’t say much on these calls, they are very brief, in fact, because mom is in decline mentally, too many words can be a problem. But this is where we as a family are at the moment. She is very blessed to be living with my brother and sister-in-law because they are beautiful loving people who see her life as precious, which the rest of her three other children certainly agree is as well.  

I believe we all see it this way because this is the way we were raised by the generation before us, which of course includes, this very beautiful lady, our mother. She is a sweetheart, and she has always been on the side of her children and their spouses and every grandchild and even great grandchild – so this is what we do – and likely you do as well – as families.  

Of late, something weird has been going on. It has been there in the background a long time, but now it seems to be coming to a head.  

I think that we, not just as a culture or society here in Texas, or America, but as a world are at a crossroads. It appears to be a big inflection point or battle of ideas that are really opposed to one another. In other words, the middle ground seems to be shrinking away especially around just one simple question.  

Is life inherently precious and important or not?  

And if it is not inherently precious and important, what is it? What is it worth and what determines its worth?  

I will tell you there is no more important question in heathcare. There’s no more important question in law, in economics, in the military, in politics, in every aspect of life.  

It certainly determines how we will treat others, especially those we don’t really know – stranges to us. Are they people with value or worth or are they threats to our way of life?  

Again, I see this as the crossroad question. And so now, where can be look or do we look for answers?  

Certainly there is evidence that support both sides – people are inherently valuable or inherently threatening —  but the evidence seems to come from completely different sources.  

If I look at my life, my surroundings, the people I know including the ones I am continually just meeting – pushing into that stranger-crowd, I get the overwhelming sense that most people are good, decent and kind – once you get to know them. Now don’t turn my statement about the goodness of man into the idea that I believe people are perfect or sinless, it is obvious we all fall short and have our quirks, but it has not been my experience – regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, political persuasions and even religious think that most people out to get me. Some are, no doubt, none of us are universally popular. There are enemies out there. To think otherwise is naïve – but I don’t think I am encountering many if any of them on daily, monthly or possibly yearly basis.  

Here is what I do believe to be true within me, within those I know as well as strangers I have yet to meet, that there is a continuing escalation of fear. This makes sense as we see things we thought were pillars of immovable protection begin to crumble around us. We have a growing trust issue.  

Which brings me to that other source of information we all tap into to some extent or other, and that is the media. What I see and hear around me is not what I see and hear coming out of my so-called labeled smart phone or my quote-unquote personal computer which are all linked today through the massive and era-defining technology pipeline known as the internet.  

And let me pause and look at the word “internet.”  

I know it is intended to be a great thing that we are all inter-connected but nets are also used as traps. Things, including people, can be caught in nets and nets can be used for hauling things and people to places they necessarily do not or should not want to go. We are in a time the Bible describes as filled with wars and rumors of wars.  

So it’s no wonder we have a trust issue as we watch at least through our devices the world apparently going to hell in a handbasket.  

There is a dividing line and it doesn’t have to do with race, or economic – at least in general – or politics – right and left – blue and red – or age – one generation against another – or even cultures and between different religions as long as they are peaceful. It has to do with our fundamental opinion about human life – is it precious or isn’t it?  

If you separate the two lines on that question, it can become clear that to some, money, wealth and power are the most important aspects of life. This can lead to compromises in ethics and morality all justified under the belief that life is all about survival of the fittest.  

As far as I am concerned and actually see when interacting with the real people around me, is that most agree with me that human life is precious from beginning to end. Animal life, plant life and basic care of the earth and resources are all important as well and they too help define the kind of people we are – whether we selfishly use people and things to get what we want or we are striving to live lives that can encourage others, especially those who will come after us, that people are precious. Families should be shelters of love and governments along with other large institutions should only survive if they are about protecting the weak – which actually includes all of us as individuals. We are weak alone but find our strength in unifying beliefs like the US and state constitutions as well as those religious principles we find in most healthy families past and present.  

Finally, your teeth are worth flossing, your dental implants are worth having periodic evaluations to make sure they are strong and healthy, and just remember that you are not who others say you are, or who you might think you are, but only who God says you are. And if you don’t know what He thinks about you, go ask the happiest person you know. I’m sure they can help you out.  

That’s it for now.  

If you haven’t listened to my previous podcast about Covid-19, it’s really important information and I encourage you to do so and pass it on to all your friends and loved ones. It might save someone’s life.  

You have been listening, believe it or not, to the Perio Patient Podcast and I am still Dr. Ben Young. Thanks for listening. Bye for now.