Vernon survived another surgery today (insertion of a new dialysis catheter) but we’ve gotten so used to them now…I honestly can’t remember off the top of my head how many he has had. I couldn’t make it up there because I had another surgery to attend, our little Justine’s. So about the same time Vernon was going under anesthesia, she was as well…
I know people tell me I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do. Maybe I want to. I knew Justine had a couple of cavities: I see them every time I brush her teeth. But with other distractions this summer, I kind of put them off. Insurance had changed, I didn’t know where to take her. I had every good intention of taking care of this sooner, but if I’m honest, I was really hoping someone would just show up and say, “This is the best children’s dentist in town, just around the corner. Here is also a bunch of money to cover all the potential bills, and now that I think of it, why don’t I take her there for you?” And this would have been nice too: “No, of course she won’t need braces later due to your neglect.”
I think in England, as a new mother, I was at first spoiled by the convenience of the National Heath Service. Did you know all kids get fee-free dental care through at least 18? I know, I know…the jokes about the streets of London being paved with teeth are not lost on me. But since moving here, I’ve been confused, trying to navigate the changing world of health care for my family. As usual, it just takes really extreme situations to force me to figure things out. Of course I feel guilty, I don’t care what they say about genetics. How could I have let my sweet child’s teeth rot? I’ve obviously let some important things lapse!
What a wake up call. I thought I was getting on top of the basics: bills, jobs, schoolwork, routine. How did I let something as vital as my child’s teeth slide by?
Still, it all works out somehow. That may be one of my biggest lessons in this. We do make it, despite our fears and lack of organization. We survive….and even thrive. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I think the things we fear are so much worse in our imagination than when the rug actually gets ripped out from under us.
Anyway, over the past few days I have tried to get myself used to the idea of oral surgery. No big deal for a four year old, right? Happens all the time. A pulled abscessed tooth, a “baby (tooth) root-canal,” and a new silver filling. The worst parts for me were having her shot in the arm with ‘sleepy juice’ and relax, crying, on my lap…then to see her unconscious on a gurney an hour later.
Of course our sweet girl was ADORABLE as she came out of her mini-coma. Here she is showing off the cotton ball—sealing the IV poke on her hand—that is “just like daddy’s.” Sweet soccer bandaid too. I’m sure her dad would approve.
Watching Justine come out of her dizzy-daze was very sweet though, especially in light of Vernon’s recent wakening. She kept asking when she would stop feeling dizzy, when she would learn to walk again, why couldn’t she remember what happened between the dentist’s office and home? I know someone else who is asking the same questions. If only he could jump back as quickly as his kid.
Once she figured it out, she was so excited about her new silver tooth and the fact that her Pre-K classmates might be impressed with her show-and-tell tomorrow. What did I have to worry about? Nada. Anyway, to add to the best day ever: she got a handful of change and a note from the tooth fairy.
Hopefully the tooth fairy won’t be coming back for a couple more years. Even though she is pretty awesome.
I love replacing guilt with awesomeness.
PS Justine has since woken up and discovered the booty tucked under her pillow. Now she says she wants to live with the Tooth Fairy. Well, there are worse things…