Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Treacherous Journey

Chloe has had dental problems for a while now. Her little teeth have never been very strong, and despite my best brushing efforts, she's not here with me all the time, so she's developed some problems. I took her to the dentist in March, and found out she had more trouble than I knew.

She was referred to a pediatric dentist, and scheduled for oral surgery. They planned to put some crowns on her back teeth, and fill a couple of cavities, as well as cap a front tooth that had a cavity. They wanted to put her out and do it all at once to avoid multiple appointments and scary shots.

I agreed.

I thought it would be pretty smooth. I was told she'd wake up kind of groggy, but have much less oral pain than if she'd had a lot of shots. I signed the papers and scheduled her appointment.

And then I worried.

And worried.

And worried.

What if she was that one freak kid who was allergic to the anesthesia? What if they screwed something up? What if she died? I lay awake worrying each night, praying for the best, but having trouble not thinking the worst.

The trip to the clinic was long. She hadn't been allowed to eat since before bed the night before, and she had to stop drinking at 9am. She has a tendency to get car sick, especially on an empty stomach, so she wasn't feeling very well by the time we got there.

When we got checked in, however, I felt reassured. They told me what they'd do, and they took her back quickly to "blow up balloons" (inhale gas to go sleepy). The nurse checked in with me, telling me she fell asleep well (without crying or freaking out) and that they were doing fine.

Though I was still a little worried about the worst-case scenario, I felt better.

When she was done, the dentist reviewed the work with me, and told me to expect her to be very tired on the way home, and to probably sleep the rest of the afternoon off and on.

"Just watch some movies and do quiet things inside," she told me. "She can eat anything she wants, but usually soft foods are better the first day until she gets used to the feel of the crowns," she told me. I felt relieved. "As soon as she opens her eyes, we will come get you," she said. "Probably about thirty minutes."

I waited maybe twenty, and the nurse finally came to get me.

"She's crying and a little confused," she told me. "She'll be glad to see you."

I went back and was not prepared for what I saw. Her lips were puffy, her small mouth swollen. There was blood in her nose and on her teeth. Her lips were dry and her face was pale.

"Come here, baby," I said, cradling her like an infant. I rocked her in the chair while the nurse went over the "post-op" stuff with me. She wailed. Her tummy hurt. She felt sick. She needed a toilet RIGHT! NOW! We took her, but she had nothing in her belly. She screamed. She cried. She stomped her pretty little feet.

We finally got in the car to go home. I propped her pillow against the door for her, and she screamed all Exorcist style, "I DON'T WANT MY PILLOW!" By the time I put the car in reverse she was sound asleep on her pillow. I looked at her in the rear-view mirror. The crowns filled her mouth, and the front tooth looked so out of place. She looked awful, and it was all I could do not to break down.

I kept texting my bff, trying to keep my mind off it, and expressing my true emotions to her. I concentrated on the road and finally made it half-way home.

I pulled into Sonic. It was Happy Hour. Happy Hour Cokes at Sonic help EVERYTHING. She woke up, and I was a little scared, not knowing what her mood would be. She asked for her puke cup....and she let it all out.

Then she wanted a grape cream slush. Normalcy! I ordered our drinks and started home. She took a few sips, then crashed again.

When we got home, though, she took a turn for the worse. Her gut must have hurt something fierce. She spent a lot of time hovering over the toilet, screaming "I HATE THIS DAY!" or "I'M NEVER GOING TO DAT DENTIST AGAIN!" Things like, "YOU BETTER HIDE ME WHERE NO DENTIST WILL EVER FIND ME!" or "I'M NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN!" I asked her not to scream at me, and she looked at me with tears in her eyes, "How could you let dis happen to me?" she cried. And my heart shattered.

I text everyone she spends time with the rules. Brush them twice a day. No candy. No sugared drinks. No bedtime cup. And if she gets any more cavities, YOU get to pay for it.

She spent equal amounts of time sleeping and screaming into the toilet. She got a package from her friend Cameron in the late afternoon, and it couldn't have come at a better time. She napped again, then woke up crying for her Daddy-Mister. He came home soon after, but she'd already moved on to another screaming fit by that time. After she expelled all her grape slush last night, I suggested a warm bath. She agreed, and got into the hot water. I saw her melt. Her face relaxed. Her eyes drooped. She let out a sigh and let herself relax. I let out a sigh and felt the tension release from my shoulders.

After about thirty minutes she wanted to get out. And she wanted chicken noodle soup.

She ate almost a whole can, and while I worried she'd be screaming and puking it up, I knew she needed to eat. She chatted with me and with Hubby while we watched tv, and she finally seemed like her normal self again.

Soon she was ready for bed, and once I finished the story, she was ready to sleep. We snuggled, she drifted, and today I have my daughter back. She has a bucked-tooth and a little dull pain, but for the most part, she is better.

And I have never been so grateful.


  1. Ya, my nephew has a front tooth cap and it stuck out like a sore thumb for a while but soon you will get used to it and you won't even notice it and then it will fall out its a baby tooth right? And as far as her reaction to the anesthesia I am the same way only I am too old to scream but the vomiting all day afterwards and the crying out of sorts not myself crap, yup. I can totally relate. I can't imagine being 4 and trying to deal with what that stuff does to my head! Give her a big hug and hide her from the dentist for a while :)

  2. Thank you! I think the teeth will reposition themselves over the next few months and it will blend in better. And like you said, she'll lose it within the next year or two, so it will be ok. I hated seeing her have to try to deal with it. She just didn't know how. Luckily she is better today!

  3. "'How could you let dis happen to me?' she cried. And my heart shattered."

    OMG! Now *I'm* crying! Poor both of you. :(

  4. Her face was the worst =/ I will never forget that. The first time I really felt like I let her down :(

  5. I had no idea it was this bad! Now I am thankful that Wal-Mart shipped the birthday presents separately so that it brightened her (and your) horrible day a little bit. Hope that she is all sorts of better for Saturday!