The Consequences of Abdicating Control to Medical Professionals

Know your unique needs as a patient and a consumer

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW, RSW
6 min readJan 27, 2024


Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

My recovery was brutal. Even Tramadol failed to buffer the pain. Three days after I remained sore and swollen, albeit the agony simmered down to a more tolerable steady throb. Without a doubt, I needed a more gentle approach. Indeed, after much rumination, I’m finally convinced that I have to go elsewhere for ongoing periodontal procedures. I’m even considering traveling to NYC from Montreal to schedule ongoing treatments with a top rated oral surgeon that I know is committed to shared decision-making (SDM).

The thing is, this is not my first rodeo. Aggressive periodontitis is a generational blight on my father’s side of the family. Early onset had me receiving scalings, root planing, bone grafts and cost-prohibitive surgeries since my mid-twenties. In NYC I’d have deep cleanings every 3 months with a periodontist. One quadrant at a time.

Throughout the years I’ve soldiered through oral surgeries, numbed out with numerous shots of lidocaine while awake. Eventually however, I opted for twilight sedation. What a difference. It’s hard to return to dental torture in a conscious state after the luxury of sleeping through it. Nevertheless I bit the bullet this time around and remained cognizant while enduring two hours of being scaled and planed, along with two molar extractions and bone grafting. Against my better judgement I allowed this.

This begs the question; why did I go along with a treatment plan recently proposed by a Montreal based oral surgeon, which exceeded what I know is tolerable for me?

I’m not one who assumes that being a healthcare provider automatically signifies that ethical guidelines and standards of care will be followed, yet I took for granted that the positive online reviews, the thoroughness of the staff and the doctor’s comprehensive assessment of my condition would somehow mean that they would not downplay the operative and post-operative recovery experience.

I was wrong.

The doctor’s laissez faire attitude and my instinctual apprehensions about having so many procedures done at once culminated in uncertainty. To diffuse my ambivalence I convinced myself that…



Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW, RSW

Complex trauma clinician and writer. Survivor turned thriver, with a love for world travel, the arts and nature. I think outside the box.