ON TOP OF THE WORLD AND BACK
FOR ME 2014 HAS BEEN A TURNING YEAR TO SAY THE LEAST.
IN MID 2013 I HAD DECIDED TO CLIMB THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO IN AID OF RAISING FUNDS FOR THE YOUNG EPILEPSY, CHARITY CLOSE TO MY HEART.
I CHOSE THE YOUNG EPILEPSY FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS BUT THE MAIN REASON BEING THE FACT THAT I HAVE SUFFERED FROM IT AS A CHILD HOWEVER THANKFULLY I GREW OUT OF IT.
WHY MOUNT KILIMANJARO? IT WAS A HUGE CHALLENGE FOR ME TO OVERCOME AS A SIGN OF SUPPORT TO CHILDREN AND ADULTS SUFFERING THE CONDITION ON A DAILY BASIS.
IN AUGUST 2014 I SET OFF WITH 24 OTHER THEN STRANGERS, NOW FRIENDS, ALL RAISING MONEY FOR THE CHARITIES CLOSE TO THEIR HEARTS.
THE TRAINING WAS NOT EASY.WORKING FULL TIME AT THE HSDP, I WAS ONLY ABLE TO TRAIN IN THE EVENINGS IN MY LOCAL “ENERGIE” GYM IN THE WEEK AND EVERY WEEKEND I HAVE BEEN GOING FOR 8-13 MILES WALKS ACROSS THE SOUTH DOWNS.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO KNOW ME I AM “ALL OR NOTHING” KIND OF GIRL SO WHEN PEOPLE ASKED IF I HAVE DONE ANY OTHER MOUNTAINS LIKE SNOWDONIA…. AND I ANSWERED NO I OFTEN GOT SOME WORRYING LOOKS.
8 DAYS SLEEPING IN A TENT WITH A COMPLETE STRANGER WITHOUT SHOWER OR BATH JUST A BOWL OF “WASHY WASHY” AS IT WAS CALLED (SMALL BOWL OF WATER AND BABY WIPES FOR THE WHOLE DAY) AND USING A PORTO LOO WAS ALL PART OF THE EXPERIENCE.THIS IS FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER DONE A DAY OF CAMPING IN HER LIFE AND GIVEN A CHANCE LOVES HER 4+ HOTELS.
EVERY DAY HAS BEEN A FULL DAY OF TRACKING ,WALKING NO LESS THAN 4-5 HOURS BUT MAINLY AROUND7-8 HOURS .THE LOCAL PORTERS WERE AMAZING THEY LOOKED AFTER US IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY WITH 3 MEALS AND SNACKS EVERY DAY AND IF NOTHING ELSE BY SINGING TO US TO KEEP OUR MORAL UP ON A HARD DAY.DAY 1 AND 2 WERE HARD AS WE JUST KEPT WALKING,STILL TRYING TO ADJUST AND ALREADY YOU COULD START FEELING THE EFFECTS OF AIR GETTING THINER.THE BREATHING GOT HARDER AND MINOR EFFORTS BECAME MORE OF A TASK.DAY 3 WAS FULL ON HARD WORK AND I LOVED IT. WE CLIMBED UP THE ROCKS UP THE BARRANCO WALL IT WAS A FULL BODY WORK OUT AS YOU HAD TO LITERALLY GRIP AND PULL YOURSELF UP USING UPPER AND LOWER BODY STRENGTH.
DAY 3 ALSO GAVE US A FIRST VICTIM OF ALTITUDE, LOVELY FRAN WAS TOO ILL TO CONTINUE AND HAD TO RETURN TO BASECAMP AND HOTEL.EMOTIONS HAD BEEN FLYING HIGH AS BY NOW WE WERE TIRED AND LOSING ONE OF US WHO WAS A STRANGER ONLY A FEW DAYS AGO , SEEMED LIKE WATCHING A FRIEND HAVING TO GIVE UP.
SUMMIT NIGHT STARTED AT 11.30PM!! AND WITH A “SNAKE OF” HEAD TORCHES WE FOLLOWED EACH OTHER THROUGH THE DARKNESS TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION.THE AIR WAS SO THIN, YOU EITHER WALKED OR TALKED.EVERY BREATH WAS GETTING HEAVIER AND HEAVIER .TEMPERATURE HAD DROPPED DOWN SO MUCH THAT EVEN MY WATER IN MY INSULATED WATER BAG HAD NOW FROZEN.ALL THE YEAR AND A HALF OF TRAINING AND TIRELESS FUNDRASING HAD NOW COME TO ITS GOAL BEING SO NEAR.
JUST WHEN IT SEEMED THAT THE NIGHT WOULD NEVER END WE CAUGHT THE GLIMPS OF SUNRISE APPEARING IN THE DISTANCE AS A SIGN OF POSSIBLE NEAR FINISH LINE.BY NOW I WAS REALLY STRUGGLING TO BREATH AS EVERY OUNCE OF MY ENERGY HAD BEEN USED UP.ONE OF THE GUIDES TOOK ME ASIDE TO ASSESS ME AND TOLD ME THAT THERE WAS ONLY AROUND 40 MIN TO THE FIRST SUMMIT POINT.I DUG DEEPER AND FOUND ENOUGH ENERGY TO CARRY.WE FINALLY REACHED THE “STELLA POINT” AT 5756 M AND THE ADRENALIN TOOK OVER.I HAVE NEVER FELT SO OVERWHELMED WITH PRIDE AND A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT. THE VIEWS OF GLACIERS WERE AMAZING.
WE SOON AFTER REACHED THE FINAL AND HIGHEST PEAK OF THE MOUNT KILIMANJARO “UHURU PEAK AT 5985M.
I HAVE NEVER CRIED SO MUCH FROM THE FEELING OF JOY AND SENCE OF ACHIEVEMENT LIKE I DID IN THE LAST FEW DAYS.
WE WALKED BACK DOWN FOR 5-6 HOURS AND AFTER THE LUNCH WALKED FURTHER TO OUR LAST CAMP ,BEFORE THE NEXT DAY GOING FOR OUR LAST WALK RETURNING TO THE BASECAMP.
I HAVE RAISED OVER £5600 IN AID OF YOUNG EPILEPSY BUT I HAVE ALSO GAINED THE MOST SPECIAL EXPERIENCE THAT HAS INSPIRED ME TO CARRY ON CHALLENGING MYSELF WHILE HOPEFULLY MAKING A DIFFERENCE TO OTHERS.
AINT NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH …..
Dalmaira, or Maira for short, is 8 years old. And she’s in pain. From a horribly decayed lower first molar. She’s sat in our chair in our ‘MASH’ tent in El Jebba on a very warm Tuesday morning. I say our chair because I’m working with Amy, a dental therapist, whom I first met and teamed with last year.
The tooth needs to come out. But did I mention that it’s horribly decayed?
Anyway, Amy and I have developed an almost instinctive working relationship. One where we don’t need to prep each other about what to do, or say. We use our very limited pidgeon Arabic. Mix it with some French, Spanish, English and masses of body language, and we can communicate. So that ultimately, a language barrier isn’t a barrier.
We go through breathing techniques with every child we see. We try to make them laugh. And most of the time, we do.
Maira was brilliant. Not once did she flinch let alone get upset. But I couldn’t get her tooth out. It kept crumbling. Again and again. And I was struggling.
Despite Amy’s help, what remained of the tooth was becoming less and less visible. Access was becoming more difficult and even though it was loosening, it wasn’t coming out.
As our team were stopping for lunch, Maira was the only child still being treated. Richard Howarth, one of my dental muckers, came over to help. So did Chris Branfield. Another dentist friend who I met when I came out on my first Dental Maverick trip in 2010.
They both offered advice as to the best instruments to use, as well as the technique. But I wasn’t succeeding. Laura, a nurse had come to help as well by now. And with her and Amy’s help, I drilled the roots to separate them.
And Maira? Well, she was still perfectly ok. Despite the fact that she’d now been in the chair for about 45 minutes.
Eventually, both Richard and Chris suggested that I take a break. I refused. I was tired, but this had become a matter of pride. After another failed attempt, I took stock. I was acting selfishly. Letting my personal pride get in the way of Maira’s welfare. So I asked Chris to take over. He did without hesitation and, shortly after he’d managed to extract the tooth.
When Maira left our ‘MASH’ tent, she was met with a chorus of applause from the rest of our team. And she deserved it. I stayed behind. Feeling a mixture of shame and embarrassment. And as for having my photo taken with her, no chance! Anyway, I did. But only after others’ insistence.
And I wonder why I do this.
But, every year I see at least one child who manages to break through my testosterone impregnated guard. A child who demonstrates a strength of mind and composure that is so wildly unbecoming of their age that it fills me with awe.
Last year, it was Ayesha. This year, Maira. And even though my memory is failing, I’ll never forget them.
This was my third visit with the Dental Mavericks. The ‘WHAT’ we do and the ‘HOW’ we do it are self explanatory. But, if you were to ask any of us ‘WHY’ we do it, I suspect that you’d get several different answers:
‘Helping rid the children of dental pain’,
‘Leaving a worthwhile legacy’,
‘Doing good for others’.
These are just some examples and they’re all equally worthy. In fact, I often use them myself.
But, there is another ‘WHY’. One that I experienced in abundance this last week. And that is ‘Building Strong Relationships’. I consider many of our team to be firm friends. Even the newer Mavericks, as well some of our Moroccan hosts. And that’s priceless.
According to recent research, having close friends you can count on has massive benefits for your physical and mental health. A strong social network can be critical to helping you through the stress of tough times.
I believe that. Last week proved it to me.
Later that day, I thanked Richard and Chris. Not just for helping me but for not pulling rank. I knew that they both wanted me to take a break. Let someone else try. But they weren’t insistent. Just supportive. And the reason for that is because we know each other well. We’ve become friends.
We’ve built strong relationships.
When we were asked to write about our experiences of our Core Values, I immediately was hoping that Jas would be thinking/writing about the importance of ‘Embracing Change’, because then one day, maybe he will let me change his radio station….
I initially thought that I could write about ‘Spreading laughter’. In the short time being at High Street Dental practice I’ve spent many days in fits of giggles. I’ve witnessed Maggie sit on a non-existent chair at Reception, and grip onto the desk for dear life. I’ve witnessed Penny fall flat on her face running up the stairs with a box of instruments, and then try to pretend nothing had happened. I’ve referred to a tooth surface as a part of the female anatomy by mistake, and I’ve been involved in some of the craziest, funniest stories/conversations I have ever heard. All of the above has had me in stitches, and all because of being with a team that has a brilliant sense of humour!
I have however settled on writing a piece on the ‘Wow Factor’, and the reasons why I believe The High Street Dental Practice has it.
I thought ‘Wow’ when I very first went to the Practice to enquire about the Dental Nurse position I had seen advertised. The first thing that struck me was how friendly and cheerful the receptionist (Iva) was, and what a nice feel the Practice had to it- not the usual overly-formal, clinical, scary environment I usually associate with Dental Practices!
At my interview, I was immediately put at ease by Lisa and Maggie- they were absolutely bonkers and absolutely lovely! I learnt a bit about the practice and the team, and I couldn’t have been more impressed. The fact that the majority of the team had been at the Practice for years and years (some before I was born!) I thought could only be a good thing. I was delighted to be called back for a second interview- at a bar!!! Wow!! WITH WINE!! DOUBLE WOW!!!
Since working at The High Street Dental Practice there has not been a week gone by where I haven’t thought ‘Wow’ at some point. Just today I learnt that some of our patients not only have been with us for years and years, but they travel from as far away Kent, Cornwall and even France to get to us! That’s pretty special! It’s also lovely to see the rapport that the practice has with its patients-many come in and chat with us like they would with their closest friends, and even the most nervous of patients come out either smiling or laughing!
It also amazes me the amount of charity work that the practice gets involved in, for example, The Children from Chernobyl as seen in the local newspaper, and Jas’s Annual trips to help the children of Morocco. Not to mention all the personal fundraising that goes on outside of the Practice by, for example, Jules (Tough Mudder) and Eva, who plans to climb Kilimanjaro for the Young Epilepsy Charity next year. Wow.
I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have had from every single person in the team since starting in August. Always willing to teach, help and all went the extra mile in making me feel welcome.
Overall….that’s a lot of Wow-age!! And I’m pretty proud that I work for The High Street Dental Practice, that delivers this so well. Dani.
Many, many years ago, when the Earth was flat and I was an associate, I remember hearing the following adage:
‘If you upset one customer, they’ll tell 10 people. And if you please one customer, they’ll tell 2 people’.
In other words, people are far more likely to talk about you if you upset rather than please them.
As a newly qualified dentist, the last thing I wanted was bad press. So I used to treat my patients with the simple mindset of not upsetting them. It was my compass and it worked.
These days of social media, one unhappy customer could easily spread their message to many, many hundreds. So, keeping this mindset would seem to be the best thing to do wouldn’t it?
The answer is yes. That is, so long as we’re happy staying below the radar. Not really being noticed and not really being talked about.
In other words, the safety of anonymity.
But, just a few years ago, I learnt a really valuable lesson:
There is no safety in anonymity.
In this ever more competitive market place, we do need to be noticed. And we do need to be talked about. For the right reasons, obviously! In the words of Seth Godin, we need to be remarkable. We should aim to be the Purple Cow (also Seth Godin). The one that stands out.
If we’re proud of WHAT we do and HOW we do it: and I know you all are. And if we really do believe in our WHY, then we should stand out in peoples’ radars.
A bright red flashing dot! A Purple Cow!
And how do we do this?
By Delivering WOW.
Firstly, what is WOW? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it means ‘To impress and excite greatly’. That’ll do for me.
I feel it every time I walk into an Apple store. It happens every time I watch Roger Federer. Win or…….come second. For certain companies and individuals, it’s part of their brand.
And I’d like it to be part of ours too.
So how do we deliver WOW? The simple answer is to do something above and beyond a person’s expectations. I’m not talking about ‘under-promising and over-delivering’. That’s just dishonest, in my opinion. I’m talking about ‘Promising and Over-Delivering’.
I can think of lots of lots of examples where you all do this already. Promising pain-free dentistry for one. During as well as after. Phoning our members after they’ve had major treatment is another. Gifts. Discounts. Charitable donations. Charitable activities like Debbie’s triathlon, Jules’s Tough Mudder (nutter), Iva’s forthcoming Kilimanjaro. And lots more.
But I confess that I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I don’t have any. You all know that. But together, we do.
So I’d be really grateful if you could help me by replying with any suggestions of your own so that we can start putting them into practice. Regularly.
Let’s not be anonymous. Let’s not stay below the radar.
Let’s Deliver WOW.
We recently found this article in the local East Grinstead Observer making reference to the Hugs Pride of East Grinstead awards.
” Jaspal Sandhu . Dentist Mr Sandhu was commended for his humanitarian missions which have raised thousands of pounds for a range of charities.”
Every so often, you meet what I refer to as ‘stand-out’ people.
Jaspal Sandhu is one of them.
You already know I’m sure about the many awards he’s received. What you may not know is that Jas truly leverages his giving so that his team AND his patients are involved in making a difference too.
We’re so thrilled to have Jas and the High Street Dental team as part of B1G1. Through this platform alone, Jas has given:
2,500 square meters of rainforest protection
1,330 people access to clean water for a day
1,014 people medical support for one day and ……
1,000 dollars to support NGO’s activities
But even more than that, Jas has personally encouraged other members of the profession to do the same. He’s a stunning example of leadership in action and leadership with enormous compassion.
We’re thrilled we know him.
In the last few years, stem cell therapy has become one of the most exciting discoveries in medicine.
Scientists say, stem cells may be used to replace or repair damaged cells, and have the potential to drastically change the treatment of conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and even paralysis.
So, what are stem cells?
Stem cells are those cells in our body that have the ability to change into all other cells, tissues organs and bone.
Did you know that our teeth have a reservoir of stem cells?
In 2003, scientists discovered stem cells in the pulp tissue that lives within our teeth. The best supply being in our baby teeth.
To say that we are excited about this is an understatement. This is why we are so pleased to have joined forces with Future Health BIOBANK. They are global leaders in the collection and storage of stem cells from human teeth for treating a variety of diseases.
Job loss threatened for Tooth Fairy
So, if your child has a wobbly baby tooth, rather than giving it to the tooth fairy, why don’t you call us for more information about how we can help protect their future health?
Disclosure: The High Street Dental Practice receives £250 for every one of our members who decides to store their teeth with Future Health BIOBANK. We will be passing every penny to Jigsaw 4 U.
Once again Iva is using her new found love of keeping fit to help others. Following our philosophy of “Be true to our members our community and ourselves”
After a 45 minute kettle bell circuit training class, which apparently was just for fun, Iva undertook a three mile run in aid of our Charity of the month “Young Epilepsy”
Well done Iva.
What will Iva be doing next? Any suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our blogs to find out.
There comes a time in a mans life when recognition is not a reason for doing. However when you are labelled with an accolade like Man of the Year I hear Jaspal Sandhu saying
It was a great honour and surprise when our very own Principal dentist was recognised for his charity and community work in the East Grinstead Observer as one of the Heroes of the last 12 months.