Tuesday, June 03, 2008

If you think being a patient is bad...

try being a patient's mom. Or dad. Pooter had surgery on her teeth today. 2 1/2 hour surgery. Let me tell you, it is no fun at all to kiss your little one goodbye and send them off into the depths of the OR.

I'm also ashamed to say that Poot has bottle mouth caries. Or booby mouth caries, as the case may be. The dentist says the breastfeeding is to blame, although it would be more realistic to say that my practice of breastfeeding her to sleep is to blame, not breastfeeding in general. That's a habit that I never should have started. They start off wailing little wee ones and you think, "It's all right if I nurse her to sleep tonight." and the next thing you know you're paying more for dental work than I've spent on some of the cars I've owned. God forbid she should need braces-I've used up her dental allotment for the next decade, at least.

I've also got a good whopping dose of mommy guilt. Everything I had learned up til now made me think that breastfeeders were practically immune to cavities. Now research I've found says that while breastmilk alone is protective of teeth, breastmilk combined with sugars can be worse than either alone. If you're interested, I'll be posting an article on that over at Laughing Baby. It doesn't matter. I still feel like the worst mother ever. I called the dentist's office this afternoon to see if sucking would damage the caps and they said, "stop breastfeeding your toddler this instant, you freak." or words to that effect.

The other thing which I was unprepared for, but have since found out is common, is how rapid the progression is. We just saw the dentist 6 weeks ago and in that time it got a lot worse. We knew we had to have the work done in same day surgery because it was so extensive, but what was supposed to be a one hour case took more than twice that time. I was just glad that it was done in the hospital I work at-it has a children's hospital, pediatric anesthesiologists and, worse comes to worse, a great PICU (natch). I certainly didn't want to give her sedation in his office-I would have had everyone opening their wallet and showing me their PALS cards before they began.

Last week we went in to tour the pediatric same day area with a child life specialist. Pooter thought it was great fun-she was climbing on the stretchers and playing with everything she could get her hands on. This morning we arrived and she was right at home, driving the Little Tykes cars around and generally have a grand time. We got weighed and our vital signs taken-she even let them take her temperature in her ear which she never lets US do. I knew the anesthesiologist, so that was a great relief. Then they gave her a little liquid versed and before you know it, she was getting a little wobbly driving the car around and slurring her words. Before you could say, "Pull over, ma'am" she was snuggling into me and I settled her down onto the stretcher.

Daddy went in with her. He was a wreck the night before, but I knew I'd be ok until the moment came to say goodbye, so he went into the OR until she went to sleep and I headed upstairs to PICU to get hugs and mommy support from my friend Colleen. Then we met up and went to get some breakfast. After she had been in their about an hour, my husband said, "Ok, this has been fun, but I want my daughter back now." I agreed-I don't think she's been out of both our sights for 3 hours since-I don't know, I think we went on a date in 2005. At about that time my pastor came in to visit and we sat and chatted for a bit and so that passed another 1/2 hour talking about nothing, for which I was very grateful.

We got her back around 11:30. Recovery wasn't too bad-she was a little disoriented and crying, but consolable for about 20 minutes, then she woke up and drank 4 apple juices and announced, "I want to go home". So we did. They took out the IV and gave us an ice pop for the road and we went home and snuggled on the futon and watched Nemo and ate some pudding. Around dinner time she was feeling more herself and so we went in town to get some take out Thai and while we waited we went into the toy store and got her a present for being a brave little monkey.

As she was falling asleep, I asked her how her day was:
"We went to the doctor with daddy."
"That's right, we were at the hospital."
"Yeah, the obspittle."
"Was it fun?" I ask skeptically.
"Yeah, it was fun! I want to go to the obspittle 'gain." I'm grateful that she's not traumatically scarred by the experience. "Ok, we'll go to the hospital again." And I kiss her little head goodnight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mounds of empathy. BTDT. It sucks.