Feb 3, 2012

"I Told My Dentist My Teeth Were Turning Yellow. He Told Me To Wear A Brown Tie." Rodney Dangerfiled

All photos in this post are from Google Images

A few days ago I sat and prayed, "Lord....could we have one week without drama and medical appointment's?" His answer was clearly no.

Ok. So here is your choice. You roll with that answer or you don't roll with it and if you don't roll with it then you are clearly inviting things like murderous thoughts, hypertension, headaches, nervous tics, and screw top gallon jugs of $4.99 wine into your life.

Looking back over the days since I blogged last on January 22, 2012 it is clear that I haven't blogged since January 22, 2012 because of the complexities of a life with many children. Both mine and the children of my clients.

On the home front, The Teenager has been going to the same pediatric dentist for 15 years and has never missed a 6 month exam. That's 30 dental examinations for those of you who are counting. Unfortunately, during the first dental exam at the age of three they
accidentally choked my orally defensive CP child with the water squirter.

She has NEVER forgotten this and has never behaved well since that first visit. I will say she has improved a little over the years. During the last exam and cleaning it only took 3 adults to hold her down. I believe she holds the office record for 6 adults.

Since the age of three, The Teenager has had a special disdain for this pediatric dentist compared to the orthodontist, pediatrician, ophthalmologist, orthopedic physician, and neurologist.

Which is why...I suppose...in 15 years the pediatric dentist has never shot one x-ray. Which brings me to the 3rd molar eruption aka the wisdom tooth fiasco. Somehow those wisdom teeth began growing sideways beneath the gums and the next thing I know we are off to the University of Florida dental school to see about getting them out ASAP. Sans panoramic films or any kind of radio-graphic proof.

Not always...and I say again...not always...but more often than not....it is all about HOW you approach special needs children. The tiny Asian lady at the UF dental school had that magic fairy dust clinging to her lab coat when she warmly shuffled the teenager off and with no issues whatsoever took dental x-rays while I hid. Lots of x-rays. The Teenager came in to the exam room afterwards all smiles with a sheriff's badge affixed to her blouse.

Wow. What just happened, Tinkerbell?

We then saw the cute, little "mini-dentist" who looked to be around 15 years old. I spelled words for her that she was not familiar with like Lamictal and Timolol and then she reviewed the x-rays laying out the three options for extractions poo-pooing the admission to the children's hospital because "you really want to avoid general anesthesia."

Avoid general anesthesia with The Teenager? Oh. Ho. Ho. Ho.

I will add an important tid-bit here for those of you who are unaware of the world of special needs children, many of whom have Medicaid. Children who have Medicaid are the property of teaching universities and medical/dental students in their area if you live in such an area. This is not always a bad thing if you live in an area like we do that has a pediatric hospital affiliated with John Hopkins and a state of the art dental clinic affiliated with the University of Florida and if you are a mother like me who does not hesitate to throw students out on their still powdered and diapered butts if they are idiots while demanding a real "ologist" or a face to face with Risk Management. Now.

If you live in podunk and have Medicaid, however, you may want to consider relocation.

The super nice, 15 year old "mini-dentist" informed me the "almost a dentist" who would be performing the oral surgery was currently in surgery so they sent the HEAD of the dental school in instead to meet The Teenager and review her films.

I will refer to him as "the actual dentist."
I liked him instantly.

As a matter of fact I liked everyone at this clinic. It's not often the entire staff from receptionist to head of the department are this cheerful and humanoid. Call me jaded but after a while I was beginning to suspect a large scale Nitrous Oxide leak in the clinic.

The first thing "the actual dentist" did was warmly grasp The Teenagers hand in greeting. I couldn't help but observe he was also scanning for IV sites. Clever dentist.

I was correct. Call me brilliant.

"How is she with IV's?" He asked quietly.

"That depends on how good your technique is." I replied.

"No pressure there," he jovially responds.

Sniff. Sniff. Is Nitrous Oxide odorless? I began breathing deeply. Just in case.

After scanning Tinkerbell's films he announces the procedure would have to be done under general anesthesia in the children's hospital due to the proximately of the bottom 3rd molars to the inferior alveolar nerve. I could have bowed down and kissed his feet I was so relieved. Had the "almost a dentist" not been performing surgery and had they not sent in "the actual dentist" who had many, many years of wisdom and experience under his belt the outcome may have been very different.

William Cowper put it nicely:

God moves in a mysterious way. His wonders to perform...."

The Teenager was admitted to the local children's hospital a few weeks later. It did not go well.

When 'the actual dentist" came out of surgery around 7:30pm the first words out of his mouth were, "we had a little trouble."

I am quite familiar with the words, "we had a little trouble." With my three I've heard these words before.

"We had a little trouble with The Boy. He lost a lot of blood and we had to transfuse him."

"We had a little trouble with The Baby when we tried to wake her up from the adenoidectomy. She did not respond to the Narcan so we had to give her caffeine to facilitate breathing on her own. She won't be going home today as planned.

"We had a little trouble with The Teenager. In my 33 years as "the actual dentist" and hundreds of wisdom teeth extractions she was the top 5 worse cases I've ever done. We only managed to get 2 teeth out in 2 1/2 hours and in the process she lost a second molar which was fused to the wisdom tooth."

We had a little trouble.

The "almost a dentist" is sitting behind "the actual dentist" looking terrified. I'm thinking he may have started the procedure but clearly did not finish it before "the actual dentist" had to take over. Two and 1/2 hours is a long time on a tooth.

The next surgery is scheduled for March 23rd in hopes of removing the remaining wisdom teeth.

Today we went in for the post-op visit where we saw "almost a dentist." I have to say the man/boy is a living doll.

He was wonderful with the Teenager and even managed to flush her surgical wound with chlorohexasomethingorother. We do not have to return until our surgery in March.

"Will you be doing the next surgery?" I inquired.

"Unfortunately, I will not be here in March so you will have Dr. Brady. She will be in the operating room with 'the actual dentist" and you will really like her. She is my dentist!" This man/boy is so stinking sweet and adorable I wanted to squeeze him.

Which is exactly why I almost bit my tongue in half when he mentioned Dr. Brady rather than spit out the words dancing on the tip of it.

"Dr Brady! How lovely! Would that be Jan or Marsha?"

You may be reading this thinking I am prone to exaggeration. No way.

As we were leaving I stopped to remind the lady who schedules the hospital admissions that "the actual dentist" informed me after surgery that next time he wanted to schedule The Teenager as the first case in the morning and not the last case of the day.

She smiles sweetly at me and responds, "she will be the only case on that day."

Proof enough? I believe so.


Erin said...

You are back! I misses you. Hopefully, that does not sound weird coming from a stranger. I am one of those moms of a special needs child who has Medicaid and lives in Podunk. Fortunately we are close enough to Big City to get good neurological care, but not close enough for good behavioral therapy (or "terapy" as our Irish Big City psychiatrist says.). We do drive a hour from PoDunk to Small City for the ENT. I was happy that we were able to recover from the hospital mishap where they gave my neurologically compromised son an unnecessary medication that altered his state of consciousness for 45 minutes. This ENT is very easy on the eyes and I'd hate to change. It's the little things that keep you going. Glad to hear that the Teenager is doing well! Hope things go better the second time!

Beverly said...

The only case that day? That does speak volumes, doesn't it. You are a saint, for sure. I love the way you can take your life with these kids and turn it into such interesting reading! Thanks.

D said...

amazing. you are just amazing

Island Rider said...

I promise to never again tell the story about how my son deliberately broke his "device" implanted at great expense on thh roof of his mouth to keep him from sucking his thumb or how the orthodondist agreed with me to take his braces off early because he refused to do any oral hygiene. You have me trumped and all I can say is what D said.

Kathleen Scott said...

Oh bless you all. And especially the Teenager for enduring mouth invasion. I share her aversion to dentists, having suffered in childhood through tooth extraction without any anesthesia because the dentist used "hypnosis". They're all torturers in my book.

Hope life eases for you all.

Elizabeth said...


Dani said...

((((HUGS)))) to you girlfriend. You are AWESOME!

Melinda said...

And what's up with all the children they let into medical schools nowadays? When did all my doctors become younger than me, anyways?? Thanks God for the wisdom of the senior docs! loving "the actual dentist"...

Corina Turner said...

The only case! Wow, she must have liked you, LOL. Anyway, the "almost a dentist" also has a beautiful smile. Were you able to know what happened in that story where "the actual dentist" had to take over?

robin said...

we live in East Podunk. we travel to the city for dental care with medicaid chaser. the Actual Oral Surgeon did Flowergirl's tooth removal. i hugged him because he is AWESOME!

the nice receptionist lady was clueless about adoption and medicaid. her words: medicaid trumps everything else! my reality: $2400 in charges for various and sundry things because she did not believe me.

really, really glad the teenager has a wonder dentist in a wonder office!

Harry Bronson said...

Indeed. What happens in the first dental visit may have a lifetime effect. Too bad your teenager would have to suffer from this dilemma. Good thing you met such nice dentists who know how to deal with kids with special needs. They're a blessing.