KAMSACK — A dentist with decades of experience joins the Kamsack Dental Office. Dr. Wes Thompsen, who has been practicing for 37 years, spoke about what initially inspired him to become a dentist, including his family having a long history in the healthcare system.On Nov. 1 during an interview, he credited his mother's work as a registered nurse in a small town with a shortage of doctors and his personal experience with a hockey injury at the age of 12, for what introduced him to the field of dentistry.
"Well, I don't know it's an honourable healthcare profession. My mom was an RN in a small town and was probably one of the original nurse practitioners or they didn't call them a nurse practitioner at that time, but in a small town we never had a doctor, basically, she was the doctor. I had a hockey injury at the age of 12 and wasn't able to get anywhere to see a dentist for six months or so. This was a little place in southwest Saskatchewan far from everything. And by the time I got my front tooth plucked out, I had a great big gopher cheek swelling and my dad took me up to Regina and up to Dr. Thompsen, at actually 11 o'clock at night. He did some work for me and ended up doing a root canal and I realized this is kind of a cool profession and man, there was a need and there's a need now. Everybody needs a dentist.”
Dr. Thompsen highlighted the rewarding nature of his profession, emphasizing the ability to make an immediate impact on patients' lives by addressing acute situations. He also discussed his family's involvement in dentistry, with his daughter and her husband pursuing the same career path.
"So it's a it's a cool profession and work because you can create things with your hands. That's neat and you can do some immediate things to help patients out. You're not always dealing with chronic situations. Almost every day there are acute situations that we deal with. Acute means something that comes out quickly and goes away quickly. It's a very rewarding profession, especially in a smaller community. You're very valued, and you're very appreciated when you practice in a small community. We were the only dentists in Assiniboia in a similar scenario, started in a huge area of town of about 2500 people. It's nice to know that you can make a difference in these communities, by doing those kinds of things.”
The conversation then shifted to Dr. Thompsen's involvement in the local community of Madge Lake and Kamsack. He discussed his family's active engagement in various community groups and their commitment to giving back. His wife's role in organizing volleyball tournaments and his own background as a hockey referee showcased their dedication to community activities.
Dr. Thompsen said, "Am I a hockey guy? Absolutely! Yeah, I was a referee for many years. And so I kind of worked my way through university with at least beer money. University never would have made enough to be able to pay for tuition. But, you know, I was involved with the provincial board of South Hockey for six years, and the board of directors for Provincial hockey. It’s a good sport. Our second youngest played Junior hockey for the Jr. A Hounds of Notre Dame and travelled around the country from coast to coast. That was a lot of fun, hockey is a really, really good sport for character-building.”
Dr. Thompsen also mentioned his love for outdoor recreational activities in the area, such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, which are popular in Madge Lake. He highlighted the unique winter opportunities that Madge lake offers, making it a great place for winter sports enthusiasts.
"The idea was that we decided to move to Madge for that fantastic winter recreation. So we always joked that we went north for the winter, not south, because of some of the cool winter recreation. Madge has fantastic snowmobiling and cross-country trails and you always get your money's worth out of winter. Down south we never had that. We lost our snow quickly and it was either ice or we didn't have recreational opportunities like Madge.”
The interview concluded with a discussion about Dr. Thompsen's recent move to the community and his practice. He praised the small-town atmosphere and the warmth of the community, emphasizing the value of dentists in such areas.
"I mean, I feel that if you’re going to be a professional you should be involved and help out with your community as much as you can. It's just part of being a professional in any way. Yeah, this is a very active community with quite a lot of things happening. You don't always see that in smaller communities. So yeah, they've got a pretty good thing going over here.”