I took the 9 year old to have 2 teeth removed today. His mouth is so overcrowded and the orthodontist is doing some hardscaping in there so the canines had to go.
He was really worried in the days leading up to the appointment. Yesterday, I referred to his appointment as “dental surgery” while on the phone with someone…. and “the procedure” when talking to someone else.
“Why do you have to make it sound so much scarier! Why don’t you just say my teeth are getting pulled out!”
“The extraction?” I asked.
“Oh my gosh!!!” He was the picture of nervous exasperation.
Of course, I was nervous too. I didn’t want him to be in pain, wondered if he would need stitches. Could he eat solid food right away? How much bleeding would there be? How sore would he be?
But I played it cool.
Until we got into the room. He sat in the dental chair, and I sat far away in the chair in a corner. I watched his hands clenched into fists, white knuckled. So I came over and sat near his legs on his chair. I couldn’t stand being far from him.
I wondered if I could stay for the procedure…. and I fully intended to. How could I leave him?
The dental staff came in, ready to get to work. The dentist was great with my son, smiling, lighthearted, and reassuring. He told him, no, he told US, that mom (me) would be with him the whole time. The WHOLE time!
So they put the gas on, and his eyes get heavier and heavier. And I’m there with him and I’m ready to stay so I can make sure he’s ok, and because the dentist TOLD us I’d be there and there is NO WAY he would lie to us.
So the kid falls asleep. Dentist looks over at me, still smiling. And says, “Ok mom, you can go to the waiting room now, we’ll get you when he’s done.
“But…. you really didn’t mean I could stay??”
He’s still smiling….and shaking his head. No way lady, get the hell out of here so you don’t see us ripping teeth out of your kids head.
I mean, he didn’t say that… but I’m sure that’s what he meant when he just repeated that I could just hang out in the waiting room.
So I left. Feeling like I failed to keep my promise to stay with him. Praying he’d be fine and that he wouldn’t realize I wasn’t there.
And I didn’t get to go back when he woke up. A very nice nurse type person came to tell me that he was up, picking out a toy, and he’d be just a few more minutes and why don’t I get the car and pull it around to pick him up at the exit?
They were so good at handling me…. they had a system, a very efficient system that ran so smoothly, as long as no parents got involved to mess it up I think.
I walked so quickly to get my car, pulling around with the urgent sense to just get there so I could SEE him finally! I got there, parked…and got out to go in if necessary because I just really, really wanted to see my kid.
And he was ok. They wheeled him out and told me he threw up when he woke up, pretty common from the gas was what I was told. Gave him a little blue puke bag to carry on the way home. Left him with me to buckle him in. I buckled him. kissed him. touched his cheek. looked at him. He was fine.
But he did ask me why I wasn’t there when he woke up. He didn’t seem bothered, but he did notice. And I said in a very casual way that I needed to go get the car so he didn’t have to walk far and they wanted it all ready so he didn’t have to wait. He didn’t need to know that it was physically uncomfortable for me to be separated from him for that time.
No I didn’t like that. But I understand it. I’m sure parents can be the worst to deal with… delaying things as we cry with our babies if they are scared or in pain…. possibly freaking out on the doctor if we think they’re being too rough…. or maybe getting sick ourselves seeing blood from teeth being yanked… I get it, really.