Appetite for Health: 100-year-old Patient Talks About Toothwork and a Most-Anticipated Birthday Cake!
It’s no joke. Zon Sprinkle, born 100 years ago on April Fool’s Day, is the picture of good health. But last spring, just two days before the centenarian celebrated his birthday, tooth pain drove him to make an emergency dental appointment at One Community Health (OCH). It was his first visit ever with us and, what’s more, it was a rare opportunity—and honor—for OCH staff to provide him with our professional services and care. After all, throughout his century of life, Zon had maintained a solid health record and says he actually avoided going to doctors.
“Most of my life, baby aspirin was about all I ever took,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye and little chuckle.
And yet, that day Zon recognized he needed more than a tiny aspirin. Pain had flared up in his tooth, and he needed professional dental care—and quick. However, he had another big, legitimate concern. Zon was worried the tooth pain would prevent him from enjoying his much-anticipated birthday cake.
One Community Health didn’t hesitate to help. Evonne Nadelhoffer-Cullen, D.D.S., determined a tooth extraction was in order, but that wasn’t all. While Zon was waiting to get numb, the dental team conspired to surprise him. Dental Assistant Azu Mondragon popped over to the grocery and purchased a cupcake, candle and balloon. Then after a successful procedure, the staff gathered around, sang happy birthday, and presented him with the cupcake and candle. (See the video here!)
Just this November, as the holiday season was kicking into gear, Zon returned for a cleaning and an exam. The staff got the scoop on his birthday party, which included about 100 folks who gathered in BZ Corner. There, they celebrated their friend and neighbor, and that’s also where Zon happily ate his centennial cake.
No doubt, it’s not everyday that OCH staff members get the chance to serve someone who is 100 years old. For Kim Harris, the dental hygienist who helped care for Zon, it made a big impression. At his recent appointment, Harris listened to stories about his birthday and his secrets to a long, healthy life. She also learned about his career in the timber industry and his passion for woodworking, whereby, for years, he carved decorative items for Trout Lake’s Saturday markets.
“I’ve been here since 2006 and have seen a lot of patients,” she says. “But it’s hard to put into words how I felt that day or even now. It makes my heart happy…and I’m just very grateful to serve people like that. I think he was grateful to receive services here and from our staff, too.”
Truth be told, Zon does appreciate so much. As he said just before leaving OCH that day, “I am thankful for good health, good friends and good food. I am particularly thankful for my new teeth, so I can eat my Thanksgiving dinner.”
Clearly, Zon has a healthy appetite. And he’s also got an appetite for health.