This is my Journal. After having worked in Sénégal for 8 months, then 1.5 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo; I have now returned to Washington D.C.

October 16, 2011

Celebrity Dentist

I have a celebrity dentist.

I know what you're thinking.  That guy that looks like Timothy Dalton, who bleaches and applies veneers on all the starlets teeth.

Nope.  I just came back from my dentist.  Every time I go there, I sit in the reception area with a number of low income folks, mostly hispanic.  The wait is not long and the staff is polite.  As happened the last time, Dr. Rahim Sharmin engages me in really interesting conversation.

I always assumed he was hispanic but I learned today that he's actually Iranian and has been in the States for 20 years.  He was a oral/facial surgeon in Iraq and Iran.  Offhandedly, I told him that he must miss the field, given that he does mostly preventative dentistry and fillings now.  He disagreed and proceeded to tell me about some of the horrors of war he saw while there.  He vividly remembered seeing a young boy of 12 come in to see him, with a large bandage on his face.  The youth scribbled a note to him asking "when do I get back to go to the battle field?".  Dr Sharmin then removed the bandage, revealing a mass of exploded flesh, from the bottom of the throat to the top of the jaw, the lower jaw being completely missing.  Dr. Sharmin, misty eyed as he recalled the event, had to tell his patient that, even if he had access to the plastic surgeon, it would take the boy years and years of surgeries and rehabilitation to even begin to be OK again.

After a long 20 minute conversation, he sends me on my way (I have good oral health, yay!) and shows me a certificate on his wall.  Vincent Gray, the current Mayor of Washington DC, honored him for taking in underserved people from Washington D.C. on Medicare and Medicaid.  Mayor Gray decreed that April 6, 2010 was "Dr Rahim Sharmin" day.  I congratulated him, and said that we would have to celebrate it next year.

Before I left, he shook my hand and said "at my age, I don't care about money, but being recognized for my efforts in the community means everything to me."

Good job Dr. Sharmin!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great guy!
Ammo

bay area dental said...

Thanks for the suggestion and dentist.

Sterling Delorme said...

Dr. Sharmin seems a cool guy! I'd like to sit on his dental chair some time and hear his stories about his home country. I'm interested to get to know him.