Bill Zortman: Dr. Lou George, Dr. Denis Miller, Siouxland Oral Surgery. Gentlemen, you ready?
Dr. Lou George: Hey, Bill. How are you?
Dr. Denis Miller: Yes sir, Bill. How are you doing?
Bill Zortman: Let’s talk about heroes. There’s a big event coming up, and I know this is near and dear to your heart.
Dr. Lou George: Well, thank you for the short time here so that I can speak about this, Bill. I was approached by a very good friend of ours, personally and business wise, Tony Erickson over at Hegg Reality, about a project that’s been going on here in Sioux Falls for over 40 years called the Compass Center. The Compass Center is committed to assisting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence through a healing process of therapy and one-on-one time with a psychologist and just helping folks out at a very basic level to advanced level. And when he approached me about this event that they are having on February the 7th of this year, I was very, very touched to find out everything that they do and that they’ve accomplished, but I was also very moved that they asked me to represent our practice of Siouxland Oral Surgery to speak on domestic violence issues that we see through communicating with our trauma patients or patients who come in for various consultations, usually for temporomandibular joint pain. Unfortunately, a lot of these have their roots in some form of domestic violence. So, we will be participating in this event called Heroes Among Us on February 7th at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The doors open there at 5 o’clock, and you can certainly call to get tickets for that. It’s at the compasscenter.org or by calling (605) 339-0116. And I think it’s a good chance to get a great mix of folks from the community out to hear what the Compass Center is all about and hear how a lot of us unfortunately stumble upon these issues. It’s an ugly issue to discuss, but the more people talk about it and face it, the more powerful we can be against it.
Bill Zortman: How do you face it, as difficult as it is?
Dr. Lou George: Well, I think I can speak for Denis and obviously myself. When we see these things in consultations, of course, the mood immediately darkens. I mean, anyone can have an accident, whether it be a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or I mean, even sometimes tempers flare and folks trade punches – that’s life. But when you see a woman sitting in the chair who has been assaulted by her spouse or significant other, the mood suddenly takes quite a spin. Not only is this a tragedy, but there is a lot of anger that’s there too when you see this. Most of the time, these people were quite defenseless, and this was the judgment passed to them for no reason whatsoever. So, helping these people is very very important, and I’m sorry if I’m rambling on a little bit –
Bill Zortman: No, it’s very important.
Dr. Lou George: It’s hard to articulate sometimes because it’s such an awful, awful situation for these women and these children who are subject to this, so we always try to be an ear, of course. You know, sit and talk, tell us your story. From the medical standpoint and the oral surgery standpoint, whatever Dr. Miller and I have to do to help these folks, we would do it in a heartbeat, that’s not a problem. But, our issue is always, okay, we can take care of this, but what’s next for these people? And the Compass Center really is a fantastic place to at least recommend to folks who are willing to listen, who have reached the end of their rope and are looking for some help. These folks seem to do fantastic work, and that’s why I’m speaking for them on behalf of our practice at their event.
Bill Zortman: When you hear him talk that way, he’s quite emotional. He isn’t always that emotional, but he was with this topic.
Dr. Denis Miller: Well, that’s our Louie. *Laughs*
Bill Zortman: Well, it is very serious.
Dr. Denis Miller: It’s a serious, serious thing.
Bill Zortman: And it’s getting to be more and more of an issue that we face.
Dr. Denis Miller: And I think Dr. George touched on one thing. You see people that come to the office, and it’s usually that they haven’t been traumatized just the once — it’s repetitive. There’s children involved many times, there’s also either some kind of abuse of the children or usually neglect of one sort or another. It’s just tough all the way around because it’s not only that immediate family that’s hurting, but it’s also their extended family, and you really want to reach out and help them. The list of injuries that you can see are things that are like traumatic injury to the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, so sometimes it won’t surface for many years to come. There’s an increased amount of stress, so we see a lot of increased clenching, grinding, bruxism, muscle splinting of the facial skeleton, facial trigger point pains, things like that. And then unfortunately, yeah, when the injury mechanism is even worse, then you do get the broken bones, the broken noses, the jaws and things like that as well. And I guess my only advice to people is what we’ve all probably said when we were kids, if someone beats me up once, that’s it — I’m done. And I think from my standpoint, what I see is the repetitive abuse is the worst because the people that are victims of that don’t seem to ever see a way out. And there is a way out. There’s a lot of different community services and of course, Compass House as well, that they can avail themselves of to get out of that situation.
Bill Zortman: My guess is, Dr. George and Dr. Miller, that after you have treated somebody that has been a part of domestic abuse, they are very much pleased that there’s somebody that cared enough to listen and to do what it takes to get them back to normal, if there is such a thing.
Dr. Lou George: Absolutely. I honestly can say that we’ve received nothing but positive feedback, especially when you try to reach out to people and talk to them on a very one-on-one setting, rather than a very strict and rigid question and answer session, you know? Just let them know that it’s OK to talk, you know? And folks out there in the audience and who I work with who know me well, know that I have a very, very short wick when it comes to this type of thing. So, in terms of wanting to be protective, that’s really where we’re at. The tolerance level is absolute zero tolerance for any kind of domestic abuse, and now me recently becoming a father, 19 months ago, I look at my little daughter and just to think of some of these horrible things that are happening out there. No way! Absolutely not! Okay, so if anything, if there’s anything — I mean, I can protect my own people, Dr. Miller can protect his own people, but we want to help protect other people. And that just fuels me on even more to try to become an advocate for this and for us to utilize our skills to help these people get better physically but also to do the second half of that, which is to make sure they get help. And like Dr. Miller said, once is too much. That’s it. One and done, you know what I mean, to get out of these situations and get help. Because there is help.
Bill Zortman: One of the things that I really appreciate is you going on the radio with us, Siouxland Oral Surgery, talking about these topics. And what you have shared today is you’re there to help. Denis, how do people get started if they’re in that kind of a situation, and they need the help of you guys.
Dr. Denis Miller: Well, for us, for our part, which will be the trauma or reconstruction part, the pain part, call us up at (605) 335-1080 or visit us on the website, siouxlandoralsurgery.com.
Dr. Lou George: And again, that event for the Compass Center is going to be February the 7th of this year. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., and again, you can get tickets which are available at thecompasscenter.org or by calling (605) 339-0116, and it’s the Heroes Among Us event. There’s going to be a lot of good speakers there — much better than me, I can tell you that right now — and a lot of people with some great stories to share and really motivate the base to get involved with this real ugly topic.
Bill Zortman: Your feel sets the tone for the evening. You got a professional speaking, caring very much, short fuse, short wick as you said, but you’re there to help. And Siouxland Oral Surgery does that, and we appreciate having Dr. Lou George, Dr. Denis Miller with us on It’s Your Business.
Dr. Lou George: Thank you, Bill.
Dr. Denis Miller: Thank you, Bill.