Fully stocked cart costs $900
Care for individual per day $8 or $240 per month
Training for an OCA 20+ hours
A Day in 2018:
“If someone would just brush their teeth?” exclaimed one of my regular dental patients. The man who had recently placed his parents into a local residential care facility. He detailed how impressed he was with whole facility but was saddened that his parent’s teeth were neglacted. “Perhaps, you could start a non-profit that just brushes teeth? It would benefit so many people!” the man concluded with delight.
I was quick to reply “I’m a licensed Dental Hygienist! I am trained to treat and prevent oral disease! Certainly, the care center staff can brush teeth.”
The day ended and night fell, my sleep was anything but restful as God reminded me of my work as a nurse’s aide during my high school and college years. I loved those years and the work suited me but it was tough and super busy. That was back in the 1980’s and many of the residents had dentures but they rarely fit. Those who had teeth were expected to care for their own mouth, though we were instructed to remind them to brush if they had memory issues.
By the time morning came I was pretty sure I was supposed to brush teeth. The phrase that kept coming to my mind was “Jesus washed feet, you brush teeth”.
I have a fairly long commute to work and by the time I arrived at the dental office I had called home for over 27 years I was certain God was calling me to a new profession. I had tears streaming down my face, I realized I was actually being called like Moses and Queen Esther and Mary! Wow was I humbled and honored.
The calling was only the beginning as the state of Iowa is very limited in what a dental hygienist can do without a dentist direct prescription and I know God wants this mission to serve all 50 states. The Iowa dental board was not helpful at all and neither was Iowa legislators. I was standing with the Red Sea in front of me but God can make a way!
The battle has been real for sure. Let’s add the story of JACK the DONKEY and enjoy what I call God’s sense of humor. On New Year’s Day 2019 Jack the donkey came to live with us. We certainly weren’t looking for a donkey and full disclosure my husband absolutely didn’t want a donkey. My husband is a farrier and a client of his knew of a donkey that desperately needed a home. When she asked my husband to take Jack in, he responded with a clear and concise “NO!” Minutes after my hubby’s answer she called me. In my defense, she was quite persuasive and she hadn’t mentioned that my husband had already declined this great “opportunity”. Anyway, when Jack arrived, he could barely get around due to his misshaped hooves and extreme undernourished boney body. His eyes were dull, his coat was falling out and when my fingers wiggled through his fur to the skin, it was covered with sores. We put him in our barn with fresh water, soft bedding and lots of hay but he wouldn’t eat or even move. He couldn’t lay down because he was too weak. The vet said he was HUNDREDS of pounds underweight. We immediately started to do research on saving a starved donkey and found ourselves cooking huge pots of grain. During the Iowa polar vortex of 2019, we fed Jack by hand 4 times each day. It was a very long hard winter but Jack started to look forward to feeding time and he even eventually started to eat hay on his own. After about 4- or 5-months Jack could lay down but he was so thin and weak he developed pressure sores that needed daily treatment and bandages. His skin still had sores in several areas so he also needed biweekly medicated baths.
Here’s where God’s sense of humor comes in: God told me that Jack was supposed to be part of our non-profit. I laughed and said “yeah, right! How does a donkey fit in with a toothbrushing ministry?” I went about my business but if any of you know what it’s like when God wants you to do something He didn’t give up. Luckily, I wasn’t swallowed by a fish, maybe because Iowa isn’t by the sea? Of course, God got his way and we finally agreed that Jack was supposed to be the face of our non-profit.
We had no idea that Covid-19 would lock our future client’s away in their care centers and that our big furry donkey would be just the ticket to bring joy to care center residents and staff alike!
The quarantines of care facilities have given us plenty of time to research and create wonderful training materials for the Oral Care Aides who will be providing daily toothbrushing. God is good and so much better at steering this company than we are, so we will just continue to follow His perfect plan.