Friday, March 31, 2006

The Chair

Monday morning at 9:30 I was in "The Chair".

Let me first say that this is the coziest dentist's office I've ever been in. Nothing like my old dentist's office in the city- cold white walls, sterile, contemporary, clinical. This is the country, and things here are homey. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the smell. Not the ususal "dentist office smell", but the aroma of fresh coffee. The reception area boasted an old fireplace with a thick wood mantle, a braided rug lay on the floor, and there was a colorful quilt hanging on one of the sandy colored walls. In the corner was an old whitewashed buffet and hutch, a creeping ivy set on top with leafy green tendrils trailing down its sides. This hutch displayed simple white mugs on its shelves and the coffee pot that was responsible for the delicious aroma was happily gurgling away. How welcoming! If these things were supposed to help patients feel relaxed, it worked. The soothing colors of the walls, the tranquil beach scene framed above the mantle... Even climbing into "The Chair" wasn't that bad. A large window looked out in to the back yard, framing yet another peaceful scene. A white fence running behind a maple tree, and a colorful trio of bird houses on a platform beside the tree. How nice! This wasn't going to be so bad after all...

Five needles, 45 minutes and a whole lot of pressure later, the tooth finally emerged from its socket. IT WAS HELL!! I thought the worst part was when he scraped inside the socket after the tooth was out and hit my jaw bone. Or maybe it was when he was putting so much pressure on the tooth that I thought my jaw was going to pop out of joint on the other side. Boy, was I wrong.

Before I go any further, let my just say that I am not ususally a whimp. I have had a toenail ripped completely off, and went to work minutes later. I have managed to carry on with a cracked rib. I have given birth three times without drugs and went shopping two days later. I have dealt with wisdom tooth pain, canker sore pain, sprained ankle pain, bladder infection pain, pain of all sorts. This is by far the worst.

The day after the extraction, I called the office. Was my socket supposed to look like that? I expected it to hurt some, but should it really be hurting this much? It's getting worse, not better. Is it maybe infected? Two days after the extraction, I'm sitting in "The Chair" again. It turns out that I have something called "Dry Socket" and it's not a good thing. Something about not enough blood to form a clot, exposed bone and nerve endings. And pain. Lots of it. Two needles, more scraping, some white knuckles and sweaty palms, the dentist puts something that smells like cloves into the gaping hole in my mouth. Funky. He writes me a prescription for some Tylenol 3 with Codene, and I leave with 80 dollars less in the bank just for this visit. Monday's visit, which was supposed to cost $60 ended up costing $150 because it became "surgical" . The translation for this is "We're puttin' the screws to ya!" So far, we're up to $230 for this tooth. So far....

It's now Friday, and I'm still hurting a lot. The Tylenol isn't working. Nothing is working. And I have three HUGE cankers on the gums under my tongue, where he gave me the needles to freeze me. Those don't help anything either. I don't want to go in again (can't afford to!!), but it's looking like I might need to. When I went in on Wednesday, he told me that about 5-10 percent of patients with extractions get Dry Socket. Usually smokers. I don't smoke. Leave it to me to be one of the few... He also asked me if my jaw was hurting, because his arm was still sore two days later. Funny guy. He told me the story of how he had a guy in the very same chair the day before, who had 6 teeth pulled, and it took half an hour to get them all out. Lucky bastard. I know who it is and he'll not be feeling any pain. He's at the bar all the time, and carries a pretty good stash at all times. Note to self... call him.

I should have told Mr.Dentist that I feel like I might have stopped a brick wall with my face, that giving birth was less painful than this, that I would gladly try any sort of drug now, legal or not, if it would stop the pain I'm feeling in my mouth. I should have mentioned that I think my husband is plotting to have me "taken care of", because I haven't eaten or slept in many days because of the pain and I am making his life and everyone else's a living hell. But instead, I politely thanked him and went on my way. As best as I could anyway. It may have sounded a bit like "Thanks for screwing me over, ya sadistic bastard", you know, with the freezing and all.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Birthdays and Other Business

Happy Birthday to Connor!! And to Blog! I've been really lax about blogging lately...Connor, who was doing so well this winter in terms of illnesses (hasn't been sick since September compared to every 2 weeks last winter!) came down with a particularly nasty bout of Pneumonia and had quite an ordeal with it. He was sick for his third birthday (March 17), so we really didn't have any sort of celebration at all. He did get his new car seat and some cool clothes, as well as some Hot Wheels and a foam bat and balls. So, regardless of his sickness, he still smiled and attempted to play on his birthday. He is on the road to recovery now, although he is still extremely pale, tires very easily, and still has quite a cough. He has to go back to the Dr. next Tuesday for another check-up, but he is sounding better every day.

And it's been a whole year since I started my blog! I hope to be able to post more frequently in the coming year. I realize that I will probably never be one of these incredible writers who posts every day and always has something inspiring or humorous or wise to write about, but I do want to try and post at least once a week.

What a year it's been! This time last year, the kids were just going back to school from March Break, we had our first ever (and fun!) candy- free Easter, and I was just newly engaged. Connor was constantly sick, we were figuring out the dairy/wheat/sugar allergy thing and it's relation to his constant sickness. I was going to be entering a new (grown-up) phase in my life (Thirty) and wasn't sure how I felt about it. Madeline was turning eight, Terran was turning twelve, Connor had just entered the "terrible two's", which turned out to be not so terrible. Okay, so he had his moments, but still... My parents came to visit from Newfoundland, the wedding and honeymoon happened in the blink of an eye, and life began to settle in to a new "normal", or so I thought. Terran started junior high and joined Army Cadets, Madeline began to "develop" both socially and physically, and Connor began to turn into a real little person, with demands and opinions and chattery conversation. And a sense of humor! What a funny little guy he's becoming! Our dog doesn't puke nearly as much as she did last year, but she still does it occasionally, and our new cat Toby is a fun and crazy addition to our family.

There have been quite a few rough patches along this stretch of road, and I guess that happens in life too. There have been some pretty sad times over the past year, some "holding-your-breath-and-waiting" days too. It gets hard sometimes to keep everything in perspective, but it helps to try and keep on the positive side of things. I've realized that there are a ton of people there to support and encourage when things aren't going so well, and those same people are there to help celebrate the good times too. No matter what lies ahead this year, I know that I will continue to appreciate the love and caring of the people that surround me. I will try to take the best part of every day and hold it close to me, cherish the sweetness of my kids kisses and savor their warm hugs. They are growing so fast, these babies of mine. Here's to another year of Chubby Hugs and Sticky Kisses!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Yesterday I waited for my son to get off the bus.

He is twelve, and has been a treasure to me since the moment of his birth. He is my firstborn, and he is special. Sure, we have our moments when I am too overbearing, or he is too flip or careless with his remarks, but we have a mutual deep love for each other. We have always had a special bond, I think formed in part because of the fact that for a little while in our lives, it has just been the two of us. Terran, my special guy, my little man.

I began to think of all the things that make him who he is. He is moody, but he is twelve. He is also known to smell funky from time to time and have less than clean hair, but again, he is twelve. He likes to build things, mostly from Lego. He is an incredible artist and pays attention to detail in all his sketches. He skateboards. He loves his baby brother and his sister, and although he will not admit to either,I can see that he does. He picks on Madeline. He calls Connor his buddy. He struggles with shyness around adults and is uncomfortable in new situations. He likes shopping for groceries when it is just he and I, and we crack jokes about cheese and eat pickled eggs. He dislikes change. He is genuinely a good kid. He is my boy.

So I waited for the bus to arrive with my son.

While I waited, I thought about all the times he has kept me awake, how I wished that he would sleep for even two hours at a time when he was a baby. I thought about how squeaky his voice was when he was three, and how he knew the difference between a spur gear and a helical gear at that age. I smiled a little when I thought about how squeaky his voice was getting now, on the brink of adolescence. I thought about how easy he was to toilet train, and how he never wet the bed when he was little unless he had a fever. I thought about how suddenly he gets sick with a high fever, and for three years in a row he had strep throat on his birthday. I thought about how brave he was when he walked tearless from the neighbor's house last summer, holding his broken arm against his body as the other boys walked silently alongside him with his twisted bike. I thought about his fine blonde hair, his clear blue eyes, and how fast he was growing up, and away from me.

Then I thought of someone else. Another mother who lost her thirteen year old son last week in a tragic ATV accident. His funeral is tomorrow. I have known the boy's aunt and uncle for many years, and have met the boy, his twin brother, and his mother on a few occasions. The news of his death shook me to the core. I cannot begin to imagine the grief his family must be feeling. I wish the family peace and comfort in these dark days, and my heart breaks for his mother, who is living every mother's worst nightmare. I pray that she will find the strength to get through this horrible tragedy.

Yesterday I waited for my son to get off the bus.

When he walked into the house, I hugged him tightly and told him that I loved him. I told him how much he means to me as I held him close to me and kissed the top of his blonde head. And then I cried. I cried for myself, thankful that I had my son to hug me back, and I cried for the all the mothers who would trade their own lives for one more chance to do just that.